Key stage 3 Ofsted report

A new Ofsted report, Key stage 3: the wasted years? published on 10 September 2015, explores whether students are sufficiently supported and challenged to make the best start to secondary school. One of the issues Inspectors investigated was the quality of teaching at key stage 3 in modern foreign languages (MFL), history and geography, to see how this experience influenced pupils’ choices later in secondary school.

The report found that MFL, history and geography teaching at key stage 3 often fails to challenge and engage pupils. This, in turn, impacts on the take-up of these subjects at GCSE. Too many school leaders treat key stage 3 as the poor relation of key stages 4 and 5. As a result, the deployment of staff and resources is too often skewed towards the upper age ranges.

Read the full report here

Key stage 3: support from the GA

The GA provides advice and guidance on planning and teaching an engaging key stage 3 and ensure that year 7 to year 9 are far from ‘wasted years’.

Guidance on implementing the 2014 National Curriculum

These pages provide information, resources and links to support you in your planning, teaching and assessing of the 2014 National Curriculum.

Resourced-lesson plans

Have you used on of the KS3 Geography Teachers Toolkit series? It has 14 titles with more coming soon. Each provides a fully-resourced, ten-lesson scheme of work which will engage and challenge all learners. This table shows how they match the 2014 National Curriculum.

The GA provides free resources and lesson plans to support your teaching at key stage three of the Middle East, China and India, and hydrology and coasts.

The Secondary Geography Quality Mark

The Secondary Geography Quality Mark (SGQM) is a framework that has been developed by the Geographical Association to enable subject leaders to raise the standards of geography in school, supporting the teaching of quality geography and promoting department leadership and management. The whole department team can take part in the process of curriculum review, identifying priorities for departmental CPD, sharing good practice around a framework for encouraging creative and critical thinking about curriculum making and developing a dynamic, relevant KS3.

Teaching Geography

This journal which is published three times is a forum for sharing teaching ideas and curriculum innovation and change in geography teaching. You may find this Teaching Geography article by Rebecca Kitchen useful. She reports on what her year 7 students think geography is all about and where they got their ideas from. She suggests:

...if year 7 students are taught by specialists in a way which engages with their perspectives, they are more likely to be motivated and inspired by the subject, and have a clearer view of what geography is. Ultimately, it does not matter how good your key stage 4 and 5 teachers are if there is not a large and sustained pool of enthused key stage 3 students opting to study geography further.

Download this article free here

GCSE Geography

Contrary to what is suggested in the Ofsted report the national picture of uptake of GCSE geography is looking good. The 2015 GCSE results revealed the number of entries increased by 2926 entries, a 1.3% increase since 2014 and geography maintained its place as the 8th most popular subject at GCSE.

See here for more details and full analysis of the results.

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