Geography is arguably the most relevant subject on the curriculum as it aims to help pupils understand the world in which they live, uncovering links and exploring their interconnectedness with others all across the globe.
The department prides itself on innovative and exploratory learning, whereby pupils learn the core skills and content of the subject in the context of interesting and original lessons. Textbooks are almost never used and assessment of pupils work is undertaken in any variety of forms. The full extent of the site is often used in pupils’ learning and acts as a great resource. All this means Geography is a very popular choice for pupils at GCSE where pupils learning is guided, but not confined by, the National Curriculum.
Year 7 - 9
Pupils learn the core skills of OS Map and Atlas work in Year 7, followed by modules on both the Geography of the UK and the European Union. Year 8 takes a more physical geography theme, where the natural environmental issues of rivers and tropical rainforests are discovered in the context of world population growth. Pupils take this on further in Year 9, where they can witness the difficulties this has placed on exacerbating global hazards, alongside world development. The freedom to choose our syllabus at GCSE has led us to prefer iGCSE, where pupils have more time to fully explore and apply their learning in a wide variety of ways. This is examined by 100% written exams, where ironically, the removal of controlled assessment allows the department to offer more fieldwork to pupils. Topics might include: tectonic hazards, urban sustainability, tourism, coastal processes and ecosystems.
Key Stage Four (Years 10 and 11: GCSE)
At Key Stage 4 students follow the AQA (A) specification which covers a range of physical and human topics, these include: the restless earth, rivers, coasts, population, tourism and the development gap. The course is delivered in a modular fashion with GCSE assessments taking place at the end of each module and pupil progress is tracked using a ‘traffic light’ system. The vast majority of the syllabus is covered in Y10, whilst Y11 is used to undertake fieldwork and complete controlled assessment. Controlled assessment represents 25% of the GCSE and investigates a key idea which is set by the board. This is completed at a number of levels of control which are in place to guarantee originality in terms of the student’s individual performance. The specification allows the opportunity to develop: communication skills, graphical and cartographical skills, technological skills, including ICT, interpersonal skills through debate and discussion, literacy and numeracy and problem solving skills. Fieldwork opportunities are designed to support controlled assessment and have taken place in the Peak District National Park over the last two years.
A Level Geography in the Sixth Form
At Key Stage 5 Geography will be available at AS level and at A2 level following the AQA Specification (A). Four modules of work make up the AS course and an additional three modules are taught at A2 to complete the ‘A’ level qualification. Normally the AS modules will be studied during the lower sixth and then examined in the June of that year, whereas the A2 modules will be covered in the upper sixth and then examined in the June of that year. Background knowledge in Geography is useful, although students who have not studied GCSE Geography can take the course. This requires them to complete extra reading to build up their knowledge of the subject. All Geography students need to be prepared to keep themselves informed of current affairs, and are encouraged to read subject related magazines such as the Geography Review. Fieldwork is an integral part of the course, allowing students to observe, record and identify geographical processes first hand. Students opting for the course are therefore expected to participate in a residential field course, which includes time spent in Snowdonia and the Peak District in the summer term. The charge for this residential course is covered by the all inclusive fee.