Planning your coherent 11-16 geography curriculum; a design toolkit

This course is online - the course will run as two half-day sessions with a gap task between the sessions.

Course Overview

The Ofsted research into the curriculum in schools (2018) and the resultant EIF (2019) has culminated in a new system view of a subject knowledge-based curriculum, passing through different states of intent, implementation and impact, all focused on student progress.

David Gardner has written the book ‘Planning your coherent 11-16 geography curriculum: a design toolkit’ published by the Geographical Association (2021), to support teachers in their vital role as, what the GA Manifesto referred to as, ‘curriculum makers’.

This course will introduce a range of curriculum design tools and a design process from the book. The course will help you develop a coherent and sequenced 11-16 geography curriculum, bringing together the ideas of the geography subject community and OfSTED’s focus on curriculum intent, implement and impact to life, to design a curriculum that plans for pupil progress.

There will be opportunities to share ideas with other teachers, and to explore how to develop your curriculum as a progression framework, interweaving knowledge, concepts, places, skills and enquiry, across topics. David will build the course around a seven-stage design process to help you develop an ambitious and coherently planned and sequenced curriculum interconnecting your curriculum intent, implementation and impact with pupil progress at its heart.


  • Understand what a quality geography curriculum looks like, in line with the Ofsted EIF
  • Use design tools to create a curriculum that considers and interlinks intent, implementation and impact
  • Explore approaches to creating a coherent and sequenced 11 – 16 geography curriculum

Course Content

There will be a dialogue before the course, which will take the form of a questionnaire to complete, to ensure sessions are tailored to your needs.

A series of key readings, supporting documents and tools will be provided online.

Session 1: Tuesday 14th June 4pm - 6:30pm

Introduction to a curriculum design process

Curriculum Intent

  • Creating a vision and designing your curriculum to consider ideas about curriculum coherence and progression
  • Designing the curriculum to bring your intent to life, by considering the principles of sequencing units of work to best support pupil progress towards your vision.

Next steps – in between the two twilight training sessions you will be able to apply the ideas

introduced in the session to the curriculum design work you have already considered.

Session 2: Tuesday 21st June 4pm - 6:30pm

Reflection – we will start by sharing ideas and approaches considered from the first session.

Curriculum Implementation

  • How do you implement your intended curriculum to progress your pupils towards your vision? – ideas, approaches, and resources at both KS3 and GCSE will be explored.
  • Approaches to assessment

Presenter Profile

David Gardner taught geography in comprehensive schools in Leicester and Scarborough, before moving to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority as a Curriculum Advisor and National Lead for geography. He has worked with teachers all over the world on curriculum and assessment development. During his time, at QCA, David developed the 2007 National Curriculum for geography, the GCSE and A level geography subject criteria, and accredited the resultant specifications as part of the 2007 New Secondary Curriculum Review. Since 2011 he has worked in teacher education as a PGCE lecturer, as well as with Schools Direct and Teach First at Goldsmiths, University College London Institute of Education and the Open University. He edited Assessing progress in your Key Stage 3 geography curriculum, published by the Geographical Association in 2015. He is the author of a number of successful geography textbooks and teacher guides including the GA Award-winning Progress in Geography, and Progress in Geography Skills, for Hodder Education. He has also led a wide range of professional development for secondary teachers focusing, in particular, on curriculum design and assessment. In 2021, the Geographical Association published his latest book – ‘Planning your coherent 11-16 geography curriculum : a design toolkit.’ You can hear some of David’s ideas about curriculum design in conversation with John Lyon on the GA’s Geogpod.

Feedback from teachers on David's courses

A fantastically detailed course with very up-to-date, relevant and thought-provoking ideas introduced. A very useful day from which I hope to utilise the suggestions and feed back the ideas to my department. I felt that this course allowed me to see the merits in what we do already, but at the same time demonstrated how I need to approach further planning in a more structured manner. Excellent, informative course with great resources. A stimulating and informative course. Gave me a lot to think about. Thanks to David; an extremely worthwhile day.

Each aim for the day was fully met – how to make an outstanding geography curriculum; developing innovative and topical ‘living geography’; considering a wide range of imaginative teaching strategies to stimulate active participation in learning; find out about online learning resources – fantastic expertise used and explained by David.

We found the advice from David Gardner on the Assessing without levels CPD course invaluable.

It was a pleasure to have David Gardner visit our school as the Geographical Association consultant. David never sat on the fence - he told us what he thought and this direct but friendly advice has proven very useful as we seek to improve student learning. David gave us a lot to think about during his visit, and we are still taking action on his feedback and moving towards, at a point in the future, applying for a Centre of Excellence status. Our thanks go to David Gardner for his visit which, in his own words, helped us on a path “to galvanise teaching and learning around a clear purpose”.

‘The consultant was knowledgeable and informed about current curriculum change and school protocols and procedures. He had done his homework too; using the school website and Ofsted report to glean further information in order to assist us more immediately so little time was wasted from the off.’

Cost: £250 per delegate; £299 for 2 teachers from the same school booking on this course

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