Geography

Mission Statement

There has never been a more important time for students to study Geography. From climate change to natural disasters, and from Brexit to social inequality, Geography really is the subject for an ever changing and increasingly complex world. Geography is about finding patterns in the complexity of the world and we aim to give our students a deep and secure knowledge of Geography so that they can start to make sense of the world1.

The Four Pillars

Skill 

Ever since Eratosthenes coined the phrase geö-graphia, which literally means ‘writing the world’, geographers have sought to learn about the world around them. As the next generation of geographers, we want our students to benefit from thousands of years of discoveries about our planet and for them to use this knowledge to make sense of the complex world. The central focus of Geography is places, how they are connected to one another and how they interact with both human and natural processes. We aim to provide students with a high-quality geography education which gives them knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. Students can be expected to know the locations of the places they are studying.

As students progress in Geography, their growing knowledge about the world will give them a deeper understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes and the formation and use of landscapes and environments.

Character 

As well as being an instruction manual for the present, Geography is our students’ inheritance as one day they will be the decision-makers, the policy writers and the influencers. It is therefore vital that we create global citizens who are aware of and understand the wider world – and their place in it. We believe that all of our students can make a difference and we encourage them to develop the knowledge, skills and values they need to engage with the world.

We feel that through Geography, our students can contribute to the school community and beyond as becoming global citizens allows them to:

  • Build their own understanding of world events.
  • Think about their values and what’s important to them.
  • Take learning into the real world.
  • Challenge ignorance and intolerance.
  • Get involved in their local, national and global communities.
  • Develop an argument and voice their opinions.
  • See that they have power to act and influence the world around them.

Experiences 

As well as learning about the world, we encourage our students to experience the world around them and get a sense of different places in the world. We do this in the classroom, using a number of resources from pictures and videos through to maps and GIS. However, it is outside of the classroom where students will get to experience fieldwork and gain a much deeper understanding of the world around them.

Fieldwork offers our students the chance to explore first-hand how physical and human processes are changing our world. We offer opportunities for fieldwork across all key stages. From studying the Geography of our school site, to studying large urban areas and visiting physical landscapes, we aim to give our students a broad experience outside as well as inside the classroom.

Criticality 

We aim to inspire in our students a curiosity and fascination with the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Indeed, to gain a deep and secure knowledge of geography and start making sense of the world, students need to ‘think like a geographer’. This means that students will not only look at the world, but also investigate it.

We aim to take what students already know about the world around them, help them make sense of that, but also make new connections to ideas and knowledge that they will not have come across before. Students will learn to see the world differently and understand the processes that happen around us. They will draw on other disciplines, such as biology, chemistry, maths and history to make conclusions about the world.

Additionally, we aim to give students a sense of place, so that when they are studying different places they gain an understanding of those places. Through a range of secondary sources of information, students will learn about cultural, political, social, economic and environmental characteristics of different places and as such will think about the world and its people in a curious and fascinated way.

Overview of: Year 7 and 8

Throughout years 7 and 8 students are exposed a wide range of Geographical themes and issue which are taught through both human and physical geography topics.

Year 7 Units of Study

  • My Local Place
  • Fantastic Places
  • Wild Water
  • Africa
  • Cracking Coasts
  • Fieldwork

Year 8 Units of Study

  • Risky World
  • Connected World
  • Ice Age
  • Challenging Cities
  • Blue Planet
  • Around the World

Parents can find more information on the specific topics covered in each unit by looking at the learning overviews that are stuck into students’ books at the start of each half term.

Year 9 – Foundation Year

Geography in year 9 follows a scheme of work that aims to effectively bridge the gap between year 8 and GCSE levels of study, and to develop the skills that students will require to tackle GCSE content while exposing them to fundamentally important Geographical knowledge. Year 9, the foundation year, begins with studying Ecosystems where students are able to grasp the skills and knowledge which can be built on and applied to other topics e.g. interpreting climate graphs, understanding different biomes and the issues within them. We then move onto Resources, a Human Geography topic that grasps students’ interest in current world issues with managing resources. It also has the advantage of teaching some key concepts that will form the foundations for further learning e.g. permeability and aquifers, which help with the subsequent topic of Rivers. Students will then build on their year 7 knowledge of Rivers and Coasts and apply this knowledge in a fieldwork enquiry, where they will have the opportunity to gain skills in data collection, presentation, interpretation and evaluation.

Topic summary:

  • Ecosystems
  • Resources
  • Rivers
  • Coasts
  • Physical Geography Fieldwork

GCSE

We follow the AQA GCSE Geography specification for GCSE Geography.

Paper 1: Living with the physical environment (1hr30)
Paper 2: Challenges in the human environment (1hr30)
Paper 3: Geographical applications (1hr15)

A comprehensive overview of the GCSE course curriculum can be accessed here: https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/geography/specifications/AQA-8035-SP-2016.PDF

Living with the physical environment Challenges in the human environment Geographical applications
Worth 35% of the GCSE

88 marks in total

Section A: Natural Hazards including tectonic and atmospheric hazards, extreme weather and climate change

Section B: The Living World with a focus on tropical rainforests and hot deserts – not cold environments.

Section C: Physical Landscapes in the UK, focusing on rivers and coasts – not glacial landscapes.

Worth 35% of the GCSE

88 marks in total

Section A: Urban Issues and Challenges with an in depth study on Rio de Janeiro and London

Section B: The Changing Economic World focusing on how Nigeria and the UK have been affected by economic development

Section C: Resource Management including food, water and energy demand in the UK and global water – do not need to know global food or global energy.

Worth 30% of the GCSE

76 marks in total

Section A: Issues of Evaluation which includes a pre-released booklet that is available 12 weeks before the paper 3 exam.

Section B: Fieldwork with questions relating to both the human and physical fieldwork that the students did.

Units of Study – Year 10

  • Natural Hazards
  • Urban Issues and Challenges
  • Human Geography Fieldwork

Units of Study – Year 11

  • The Changing Economic World
  • GCSE Paper 1 and 2 Content revision
  • Issues of Evaluation – preliminary material
  • Fieldwork revision

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

The Geography department aims to provide a variety of extra-curricular opportunities to students; these include Geography Club which aims to allow students to explore the Geography themes that they feel passionate about in a creative way. We also provide fieldwork opportunities at all key stages; which enables Geographers to further their understanding of key geographical concepts outside the classroom.