The study of Geography focuses on the major issues facing society today. It is designed to lead students to an understanding of the nature and origin of these issues and the various ways in which they might be managed effectively. As students study Geography they gain a significant insight into the world around them and the interconnectedness of processes and patterns. Our Geography curriculum encourages students to consider issues from various perspectives and viewpoints which promotes personal, social and intellectual development. Lessons in the Geography department also teach the importance of good citizenship and stewardship of the environment as well as literacy, numeracy and ICT skills.
In Year 7 students begin to investigate the world around them by studying a variety of human and physical Geography topics. The year starts with an introduction to Geographical skills and map work which develop the basic toolkit that students will use throughout the rest of Key Stage 3. We then explore how rivers shape the landscape and consider the major causes of river flooding. Students then study coastal landforms and processes and look at the complexities of coastal management. Students will examine the urban environment to research problems in urban areas and planning for future sustainability. Finally, students will explore our economic world, considering the impacts of globalisation.
The Year 8 curriculum is changing as of September 2016. In our increasingly complex world, it is essential that we equip our students with the skills and knowledge they need to understand the global affairs which we see reported on the news every day. We want Geography to be a subject in which the students can gain an understanding of these issues and be ‘skilled up’ to talk about their own opinions of these global concerns. Geographers should be global citizens and should feel that they can participate in debates and discussions about the ‘big issues’ facing not only our country, but also some of the most vulnerable countries across the world. Working with the Rodillian Trust, we have devised an exciting new curriculum which students will start in September. The first unit is linked to conflict and we will explore this concept through current case studies, visible on the news each day. We will link with History to deliver this curriculum and explore different forms of media.
By Year 9 students have developed a good overview of Geography and the course becomes more focussed on how students can influence the world around them by making informed decisions. Discussion and debate play a larger role in how students are taught. Pupils are taught to be able to formulate an argument from a particular viewpoint and to justify their opinions using a wide range of sources. Pupils will consolidate and extend their knowledge by investigating global issues such as weather and climate, development and population, natural hazards, ecosystems and resources. This combination of human and physical geography will ensure that students are prepared for taking GCSE Geography in Year 10.
Once students reach GCSE Geography they will have already gained the geographical skills needed in order to be successful at GCSE. Therefore, the teaching for GCSE aims to challenge pupils whilst encouraging them to continue geographical learning to an even higher level. For this academic year, Year 11 Geographers will complete their GCSE within 1 year (6 lessons a week), whilst Year 10 will complete their new linear GCSE over a 2-year period (3 lessons per week). A summary of the two courses is below.
Year 11 (AQA B)
This course is based on four main themes: the Coastal Environment, the Urban Environment, Living with Natural Hazards and Global Tourism. The nature of the units enables human and physical geography to be studied in equal measure, to allow for a broad spectrum of learning.
The Coastal Environment unit builds on students’ prior knowledge of coasts from Year 7. The unit provides opportunity for students to study one of the most rapidly changing global environments and encourages students to consider how these environments should be carefully managed in the future across the world.
The Urban Environment unit gives students the opportunity to explore how urban change creates both challenges and opportunities. As urbanisation continues at a rapid rate across the world, students will learn about the impact of this on varying countries and communities and the need for this to be sustainably managed.
Living with Natural Hazards is a dynamic topic within the GCSE that often excites students. Students study four different natural hazards during this topic: earthquakes, volcanoes, wildfires and tropical storms. Students learn the patterns of natural hazards across the world and the impact these hazards have on people, economies and environments. Students also consider how the threat from these natural hazards can be reduced through planning, preparing and responding.
In the final unit of Global Tourism students are given the chance to explore the recent increased opportunities of travel and the growth in global tourism. Students study the many reasons for the increase in global tourism and the impact this has on developed and less developed countries. Students also consider the future of tourism by studying responsible and sustainable tourism.
At GCSE level students also complete two pieces of Controlled Assessment which account for 25% of their overall final grade. The first piece of coursework is fieldwork based, in which students go on a fieldtrip to a chosen area and collect their own data. This is then written up and presented in a report back at school. The second piece of coursework is based on Geographical Issues where students use the internet to research a particular topic and write up their findings.
Year 10 (new AQA specification)
The current GCSE Specification is now out of date for our new Year 10 cohort. Along with all other Year 10 geographers across the country, they will begin a new GCSE. We are extremely excited about this. This is a summary of the new course:
Paper 1 (35%) – Living with the Physical Environment (1.5-hour exam)
- The Challenge of Natural Hazards (including Tectonic and Weather Hazards)
- The Living World (including Tropical Rainforests and Deserts)
- Physical Landscapes of the UK (including Rivers and Coasts)
Paper 2 (35%)- Challenges of the Human Environment (1.5-hour exam)
- Urban Issues and Challenges
- The Changing Economic World
- The Challenge of Resource Management (including Food)
Paper 3 (30%)- Geographical Applications (1.15-hour exam)
- Issues Evaluation (based on pre-released material)
- Fieldwork (based on fieldwork to tow contrasting environments)
Students have the opportunity to go on a residential Revision Trip in May before their GCSE exam. Previous trips have been to Berwick-Upon-Tweed, Edinburgh and Whitby. On this trip, students will visit the local area to use as a case study example in their exam and see the ‘real life Geography’. Intense revision sessions will also be held throughout the trip in order to benefit learning and give students the best chance of achieving highly in their exam. This trip has proved to be extremely beneficial to students in the past. Revision sessions will also be held in school in the lead up to exams.
A Level Geography
A Level Geography is a fantastic option choice for students as it encompasses both human and physical topics and therefore bridges the gap between the arts and science subjects. This is particularly unique as it is the only A Level that does this as is highly valued by any degree subject. As in GCSE, the units in both AS and A2 are so human and physical geography is studied in equal measure. The Year 13 class will continue with the current specification, whilst the new Year 12 class will start, along with the rest of the country, a new A Level specification.
Year 12 (new AQA Specification)
This specification is new for September 2016 and is an exciting new course linked closely to university Geography. The following modules will be studied:
Physical Geography (40%)- 2.5-hour exam
- Section A- Water and Carbon Cycles
- Section B- Coastal Systems and Landscapes
- Section C- Hazards
Human Geography (40%) – 2.5-hour exam
- Section A- Global Systems and Global Governance
- Section B- Changing Places
- Section C- Population and the Environment
Geography Fieldwork Investigation (20%)
- Coursework, based on 4 days of fieldwork.
- 3000-4000 words
Year 13 (AQA)
The A2 geographers consolidate and develop the skills learnt in Year 12, whilst also preparing for further study in Higher Education. This course requires in depth knowledge and understanding about current issues. Students will study Development and Globalisation, focusing on the interconnected nature of our world. They will consider the impact of this phenomena on a variety of scales. Contemporary Conflicts and Challenges considers the roots of conflict, how this manifests itself and how it can be resolved. This is studied through a variety of case studies. Students also study Plate Tectonics and Associated Hazards in which they will learn about why tectonic hazards occur, consider the impact of these disasters and evaluate how they can be managed. Students will also undertake a Skills and Fieldwork paper.
Ms Rachael Donaldson – Head of Geography
Miss Rachael Dubas
Mr James Rhodes
Mr Jamie Jones
GCSE Specification (Year 11) – AQA B
GCSE Specification (Year 10) – New AQA Specification
A Level Specification (Year 13) – AQA
A Level Specification (Year 12)- New AQA Specification