Geography helps students to make sense of their surroundings; it deals with current social, economic, political and environmental issues, from local to global, which affect students’ lives. Students learn to appreciate the great variety of physical and human conditions and patterns on the earth’s surface. It encourages a sensitive awareness of environment and an understanding of different communities and cultures as well as knowledge of geographical patterns and processes.
There are three main geography rooms, each equipped with an interactive whiteboard. In the classroom, use is made of up-to-date textbooks, resource packs developed in school, videos and computer programs. The department also makes good use of the ICT room, the humanities’ laptop trolley, the college library, and the local environment.
How learning is organised
Geography is a foundation subject in the National Curriculum. In Year 7 students are taught in broad ability bands. In Years 8 and 9 students are taught in balanced, mixed ability groups,. In Years 10 and 11 Geography is a popular option with five sets per year. Students learn in a wide variety of ways, including simulations and problem-solving exercises with the use of maps, videos, satellite images, research, group work and fieldwork.
Years 7, 8 and 9
In Year 7, students focus on acquiring skills through the study of the local area and home region. They start with a local topic on the UK before widening out to study Antarctica. There are also topics on weather and climate change. In Years 8 and 9 we use skills developed in Year 7 to look at patterns and processes on a broader continental and global scale, including looking at population and settlement, migration and rivers in year 8, as well as tropical rainforests, plate tectonics and development in year 9. Case studies from different countries are used to illustrate the broad themes of population and settlement, sustainable development, management of environments, resources and quality of life.
Years 10 and 11
Students in Years 10 and 11 follow a Geography GCSE course with three main units and smaller topics within the units:
- Paper 1: Living with the Physical Environment
- Paper 2: Challenges in the Human Environment
- Paper 3: Geographical Applications
Papers 1 and 2 are each examined in a 1 hour 30 minute written exam. Paper 3 pulls together themes from across the course and requires students to make decisions based upon a set of resources in a 1 hour 15 minute written exam. Paper 3 includes a pre-release element that students receive 12 weeks before the exam. Year 10 covers Paper 1 and part of Paper 2, whilst Year 11 covers the rest of the course.
At both key stages a range of learning takes place outside the classroom. At key stage 3 this is focused on local investigations around the College site and in the local community whilst at key stage 4, fieldwork takes place further afield. For example, Year 10 students carry out an investigation on the Norfolk coastline and Year11 students undertake an urban study in London.
Current syllabus: AQA GCSE Geography 8035