Geography

Vision

“Geography students hold the key to the world’s problems”
– Michael Palin

The vision of the geography department is to inspire students to become global citizens by exploring their own place in the world, their values and responsibilities to other people, to the environment and to the sustainability of the planet.

We aim to stimulate in our students an interest in and a sense of wonder about the world around them. We also aim to equip our students to become independent learners with the ability to question, investigate and to think critically about issues affecting a dynamically changing world both now and in the future.

Our curriculum provides a broad balance of physical and human geography ensuring students see the link between the two disciplines, an essential element of the KS4 and KS5 curriculum. Encouraging scholarly attributes have become integral to the department with more ‘prep’ and project home learning which allow pupils to deepen their understanding and allow them to express their views and opinions with greater confidence.

In order to provide the pupils with the skills to succeed in later life, we encourage deeper thinking through analysis of geographical artefacts, be that maps, graphs, photographs and express their opinions in different ways, newspaper articles, debates and letters. Pupils are encouraged to ask as many questions as they are asked, as this enables them to direct their own learning and asking questions is a key skill in geography.

We endeavour to find ways that provide our students with opportunities to learn outside the classroom be it during lesson time, on day trips or on trips at GCSE and A-Level as actually experiencing the concepts we study in the class room in real life never fails to amaze the children.

Key Stage 3

Pupils study a range of topics covering contemporary issues such as local and distant places, resource management, ecosystems and population studies to name but a few. The list below shows the topics studied in each year group, in the form of 10 week teaching blocks. At the end of each 10 week block a formal assessment will take place. The final assessment at the end of the 3rd 10 week block will cover all topics studied during that year.

Year 7

Unit 1 – Place Studies – including the essential map skills geographers need through the study

of places

Unit 2 – Rivers and Flooding

Unit 3 – Natural Resources such as Water and Energy.

Year 8

Unit 1 – UK’s physical landscapes including Glaciated and Coastal zones

Unit 2 – Rocks, Soil and Ecosystems

Unit 3 – Population and Urbanisation

Pupils are assessed in a variety of ways in Key Stage 3, including written formal exams, homework tasks, essays, projects and oral presentations. The development of literacy is important within the subject, and this is done through the study areas of different places and scales, using local, national and global examples.

Key Stage 4

GCSE Geography

COURSE CONTENT

The AQA GCSE Geography specification is taught over three years in starting in year 9 and continuing into year 10 and 11. During the 3 years a “topic” approach to study is used:

Year 9 – The challenge of Natural Hazards and Urban Issues and challenges

Year 10 – Physical landscapes in the UK, The changing Economic World and the physical fieldwork aspect

Year 11 – The Living World, The challenge of Resource Management, Human fieldwork and the Issue Evaluation (released by the exam board in the March of Year 11).

ASSESSMENT

There are three examinations; two of the papers are split into the main areas of Geography: Human and Physical. The third paper is based on geographical skills and fieldwork application, with the pre-release material for Paper 3 released by AQA in March of Year 11.

Unit 1: Living with the physical environment

  • Section A: The challenge of Natural Hazards
  • Section B: Physical landscapes in the UK
  • Section C: The Living World

Worth:  35% of the final mark
Exam:    1 hour 30 minutes.
Question types:  multiple-choice, short answer, extended prose

Unit 2: Challenges in the human environment

  • Section A: Urban issues and challenges
  • Section B: The changing Economic World
  • Section C: The challenge of Resource Management

Worth: 35% of the final mark
Exam: 1 hour 30 minutes.
Question types: multiple-choice, short answer, extended prose

Unit 3: Geographical Applications

  • 3.1 Issue evaluation,
  • 3.2 Fieldwork,
  • 4 Geographical skills

Worth: 30% of the final mark
Exam: 1 hour 15 minutes.
Question types: multiple-choice, short answer, levels of response, extended prose.

Pupils will be required to go on 2 trips to collect data to have information to complete the Unit 3 exam. This will be a physical field trip to the River Chess in Amersham and a human trip to an urban area where regeneration has taken place (with a relevant urban area being chosen closer to the time).

Key Stage 5

A-level Geography

The AQA A level specification is taught at Key stage 5. This qualification is linear which means that students will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessment at the end of the course. Pupils are taught 6 topics over the two years.

There is a minimum requirement of 4 full days of field-work, this may be split up into two separate occasions (In the past students have visited Swanage for their residential field-trip)

COURSE CONTENT

Physical geography:

Section A: Water and carbon cycles (Core)

Section B:  Coastal systems and landscapes

Section C: Hazards

Human geography

Section A: Global systems and Global Governance (Core)

Section B: Changing Places (Core)

Section C: Contemporary Urban Environments

Non-Examined Assessment (NEA):

Students complete an individual investigation which must include data collected in the field. The individual investigation must be based on a question or issue defined and developed by the student relating to any part of the specification content.

ASSESSMENT

  • Two written exams at the end of year 13 (one on physical geography and one on human geography)
    • Each paper is 2 hours 30 minutes, 120 marks and 40% of A-level
    • The question types in both exams include: multiple-choice, short answer, levels of response, extended prose
  • Non-Examined Assessment (NEA):
    • 3,000 – 4,000 words
    • 60 marks
    • 20% of final A-level grade

Where can Geography take me?

Geography is part of the EBacc qualification and offers opportunities for students to study a wide range of AS/A2, vocational or university courses. Employers and universities consider it an important subject due its relevance to current day issues that dominate the news today. It is a subject that helps young people into work. Many employers prize the knowledge and skills that studying geography can provide and geography in higher education is thriving. Geography students are among those gaining greatest satisfaction from their studies, and geography graduates have a relatively low level of unemployment. It’s no wonder there is a growing demand to study the subject at university. This is underlined by the Russell Group of Universities, along with the Minister David Willetts MP, who both recognise geography as one of the key “facilitating” subjects for entry to degree level study. There is a HUGE list of fascinating job prospects that are geographically related! A few of the more obvious ones include the Armed Forces, Pilots, Architects, Town Planners, Travel Agents, and Surveyors.