In year 7 we start by providing all pupils with a grounding in what Geography is all about through the topic ‘My Place’. Pupils discover what the three types of Geography are and will learn basic OS mapskills, all of which are then applied to our local area. After this we move on to study limestone landscapes and explore how quarrying can affect a local area, culminating with a lively debate involving a decision making exercise as to whether the expansion of a ‘local’ quarry should be allowed. The final topic is Settlements and the human and physical factors that influence their development. We also consider what cities in developing countries are like and how it might feel to live in a shanty town.
Year 8 begins with the topic of ‘Weather and Climate’ looking at what factors influence the weather, extreme weather – what are hurricanes and what effect do they have? and the vitally important topic of climate change. We then go onto to study river flooding and development; how do other people live?
Year 9 focuses on tectonics; earthquakes and volcanoes and the effects they have on the people living nearby. We then move onto our next topic of ‘Population’. Why do populations change? What effect does population growth have on our world? Should we be concerned with the world’s population as it is and looking into the future? After this we study China, a country which has grown in importance in our ever changing global society and one that remains so Geographically and culturally diverse. One of the key concerns is the fact that China has over one sixth of the world’s population! One of the issues with population growth is the effect it has on the world’s resources. One key resource that we cannot live without is food and so our final topic focuses on farming and looks at the different (and often controversial) ways food is produced. We find out what is ethical farming and what is genetic farming; is the latter as bad as it is often portrayed in the media?
For GCSE Geography we follow the AQA A board which covers Water on the Land (rivers), The Coastal Zone, The Restless Earth (volcanoes and earthquakes), Population change, Changing Rural Environments and Tourism. In each topic we focus on how the physical and human factors interact and focus on recent developments in Geography which have altered the way we study these topics. The GCSE also involves a controlled assessment which is completed in lesson time (pupils are not allowed to take it home!) based on work completed on the fieldtrip.
Geography is a relevant and dynamic study and as such we aim to reflect this in the learning environment through the use of technology (both classrooms are equipped with interactive white boards and visual scopes and GPS and GIS systems are used in fieldwork) and fieldwork both inside and outside the school and through the lessons . At GCSE pupils go away for an extended period to Wales and the south coast to carry out fieldwork – a very enjoyable event.
The Geography department aims to open pupil’s eyes to the exciting world around them. There are few subjects like Geography in which there is such a great diversity of topics. This is what makes it such an interesting and valuable subject! From the amazing, strange and wonderful landscapes that exist on our planet, to the cultures and ways of life of the people who inhabit it, to the way that we then affect it in so many ways. Where else can you discover such relevant, dynamic and real topics which affect us on a day to day basis (sometimes without us even realising it!)?
We encourage students to ask questions of the world around them, to think creatively and independently and to stand in awe and wonder at what they see. As such much of what we teach is enquiry based work which creates opportunities for pupils to stretch themselves in what they write. We believe that Geography offers not just map skills but so many more transferable skills from presentation to IT skills, group work, GIS, analytical and evaluative challenge.