About the Making Geography Happen Project

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Making Geography Happen is funded by the Action Plan for Geography which centres around good quality, innovative curriculum-making. The Making Geography Happen project develops this to focus on work done by students in geography lessons and how it contributes to their wider understanding of the world.

These project pages will link with QCDA's online exemplification materials and together the resources will form an unparalleled basis for assessing students' progress in geography.

Key Questions

The project has sought to address a number of questions:

  • What does a contemporary geography classroom look like?
  • What do students get up to in geography lessons?
  • In what ways can they use their creative and imaginative instincts in geography?
  • What kind of knowledge is being created in geography lessons?
  • What kind of thinking is going on?
  • In what ways does geography contribute to young people’s understanding?
  • How do we know if children are making progress in geography?
  • How does geographical learning advance with age, experience and good teaching?


Five schools have participated in the project so far, each teaching a unit of work on place. In addition, King Edward VII School, Sheffield is being used for a longitudinal study, tracking four students through the whole of their Key Stage 3.

The teachers have supplied material for this website including student work, photos and videos of students in action, and student reflections. The teachers have also added their own reflections. For example:

'We were able to focus on the geographical learning and mental processes rather than the "production" of, for example, a poster or project, this helped increase the pace of learning and challenge of lessons'

'The students were given the opportunity to develop the ability to make informed decisions using geographical evidence'

Making Geography Happen Online

The Making Geography Happen area is divided into two main sections: three information pages and individual sections for the participating schools.

School Materials

The five participating schools have supplied a variety of resources for these webpages, including samples of work, reflections from teachers and students and information about the curriculum-making process.

Materials from King Edward VII School will be added during the year.


A section called 'Thinking about progression in geography' has been written by Paul Weeden, Secretary of the GA Assessment & Examinations Working Group. Although much has been written about progression in general, this section looks at what it means for students to progress in their geographical thinking and move forward as geographers.

Detailed advice on assessment is provided in the GA publication Assessing Progress in your Key Stage 3 Geography Curriculum (Paul Weeden and Graham Butt, 2009).

Teacher Tips

The teachers involved in the project reflected on what they learnt about how to make geography happen in their classes. Some of these thoughts have been combined to form a 'Teacher Tips' page containing practical ideas of how to move children forward in their geographical thinking.

National Curriculum Levels

Making Geography Happen does not seek to emulate or replace the QCDA's exemplification of standards nor does it attempt to 'level' the work. We have been working closely with QCDA's exemplification team and encourage you to use the forthcoming files of students' work they have developed to exemplify standards across the current Key Stage 3.

Individual files of work for levels 3 to 8 will be published on the QCDA website during 2010. These files will include a wide range of evidence along with annotations and a commentary evaluating each student's overall performance.

Further Support

Through the Action Plan for Geography, the GA has highlighted the importance of curriculum-making. We have produced a variety of resources, advice and guidance on how to design and make a geography curriculum.

The Geography Teaching Today website features free curriculum-making materials developed during the Action Plan for Geography and its programme of CPD courses.

Young People's Geographies is a curriculum development and research project investigating how school students and teachers working together can effectively develop the school geography curriculum and students' geographical learning.

The GA has also published a wide range of resources, such as the KS3 Geography Teachers' Toolkit series, which will be of interest to any geography teacher engaged in curriculum planning.


These pages are under development and your comments and questions are welcome!

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