“Geography is a living, breathing subject, constantly adapting itself to change. It is dynamic and relevant. For me geography is a great adventure with a purpose” Michael Palin
Geography is not just about meanders and mountains. Geography provokes and answers questions about the natural and human worlds, using different scales of enquiry to view them from different perspectives. It develops knowledge of places and environments throughout the world, an understanding of maps, and a range of investigative and problem-solving skills both inside and outside the classroom. As such, it prepares pupils for university life and employment. Geography is a focus within the curriculum for understanding and resolving issues about the environment and sustainable development. It is also an important link between natural and social sciences. As pupils study geography they encounter different societies and cultures. This helps them realise how nations rely on each other. It can inspire them to think about their own place in the world, their values, and their rights and responsibilities to other people and the environment.
Head of Department: Mrs West
Teachers: Mrs Thornley and Miss McGuane
With three specialist geography teachers and two designated teaching classrooms, the department is well placed for teaching the subject to the highest standards. A range of resources are used to deliver the content across the key stages.
Key Stage 3
Geography at Key Stage 3 contributes to a broad and balanced curriculum which meets the needs of all pupils. We aim to give pupils the opportunity to study a wide range of topics throughout Key Stage 3 in the hope of fostering a passion and interest for geography and the world around them. Alongside this, pupils will develop a range of transferable skills that can be used in other areas of the curriculum.
The year 7 curriculum focus on introducing pupils to geography through topics like farming, weather and climate, coastal process and landforms and map skills. Year 7 take part in a weather investigation whereby pupils are introduced to fieldwork through a variety of sampling techniques. They will be required to produce a report with their findings. Holyfield farm is visited in the spring term to look at the inputs and outputs of a farm system.
Year 8 pupils will study ecosystems and management issues within the tropical rain forest and other biomes. Pupils will be introduced to the key issues surrounding population and migration. Rivers and flooding is taught in the classroom and pupils develop their fieldwork skills through a visit to Dollis Brook – a local river. They will conduct a study to investigate river processes and landforms. Reports will be produced encouraging pupils to analyse and evaluate their findings.
In year 9 the girls study plate tectonics and hazard management, characteristics of development and trade, energy production and its effect on the environment and settlement patterns. Pupils will visit the Natural History Museum as part of their tectonic unit. In order to prepare for the demands of GCSE pupils will also undertake a local area housing investigation. The aim of the study is to introduce and develop the necessary skills required for Controlled Assessment at GCSE.
At GCSE we follow the Edexcel A Syllabus. A detailed syllabus can be found here
|Unit 1: Geographical Skills & Challenges
Interpretation of maps, photographs, tables, graphs
|Unit 2: The Natural Environment
A Watery World
|Unit 3: The Human Environment
A Tourist World
|Unit 4: Investigating Geography
Fieldwork and research
The course is linear and all exams will be taken year 11.
Unit 1 is an hour long and will contribute to 25% of the overall grade.
Units 2 and 3 will be one hour and fifteen minutes long and will form 25% (each) of the overall grade.
Unit 4 (controlled assessment) will take place in the summer term of year 10 and autumn term of year 11.
Year 10 pupils will spend one day collecting data for their controlled assessment. The location changes depending on the tasks set by the exam board. In the past pupils have visited Stratford-upon-Avon to investigate the impact of tourism and St. Albans to analyse land use changes.
At AS and A2 level the Edexcel syllabus is followed. The AS contains a balanced mix of physical and human contemporary topics such as Natural Hazards, Global Warming, Globalisation, Population and Migration. A2 topics include Energy, Superpower Geographies, The Development Gap, The Technological Fix, Water, Biodiversity, Life on the Margins and Tectonic Hazards.
A short residential trip to South Wales is a requirement for the Crowded Coasts and Unequal Space module in the March of Year 12 for AS students.
Although an explicit piece of coursework is not a requirement of the course, Unit 2 does include theoretical questions requiring students to show an understanding of how they would conduct data collection for a piece of coursework and to demonstrate the ability to evaluate the quality of other people’s coursework.
The department currently offers a cross curricular trip to New York. This is run in conjunction with several other departments and offers pupils the chance to visit the museums and attractions in Manhattan.