Geography

Pupils measuring river in Lake District

Aim

The Geography department aims to promote, encourage and develop an interest and enthusiasm for the study of Geography. We seek to develop students as geographers in three key areas:

  • Geographical knowledge and understanding: Develop their knowledge and understanding of the characteristics, processes and challenges found in different physical and human environments at a variety of scales and locations
  • Geographical skills: Students will learn a range of skills to critically analyse different geographical issues and challenges to draw reasoned conclusions
  • Geographical resourcefulness: Our students will become able to confidently draw upon their knowledge, understanding and skills as well as use their initiative and creativity in pursuit of solutions to the various geographical challenges they will study.

Staff and facilities

The department is staffed by six geographers and occupies five rooms in the Hallam Building.

The rooms are all equipped with networked computers with internet access and interactive whiteboards. The department also has access to a class set of iPads.


Subject time per 10-day cycle

  • Lower School: three lessons with two 30 minute homeworks
  • GCSE: five lessons with three 40 minute homeworks
  • A-level: ten lessons with additional individual study.

Geography in the Lower School

The curriculum begins to develop the students as geographers by providing them with an introduction to different geographical areas of study across a range of different themes and geographical scales. This includes a study of their local area and then, more broadly, a study of the rest of the UK, the European Union and the wider world. Key geographical skills are developed throughout the Lower School curriculum.

Key areas of study include:

  • First Year: The geography of the UK, settlement, coasts and map skills
  • Second Year: Population, tectonics and the weather and climate of the UK. Pupils also go on a trip to the Peak District to introduce them to geology, which underpins a lot of the GCSE and A-level courses
  • Third Year: UK landscapes, rivers and changing cities (we now study GCSE Geography from the start of Third Year).

Geography further up the school

GCSE

The department has introduced the new Edexcel A GCSE course which will be examined from summer 2018 onwards. The course develops a wide range of geographical skills and builds a good base of knowledge and understanding across a number of different areas.

Students will study a range of topics, some physical and some human, but all with some interaction and interconnection. Physical topics include rivers, weather hazards and ecosystems and their management. Human topics include changing cities, global development and resource management. There will be two major field work opportunities, one focusing on a physical area of study, the other on a human area of study which will feature as part of the final examinations. There is no coursework.

A-level

In September 2016 we started teaching the new Edexcel A-level.

The course aims to equip students with a high level of knowledge, understanding and skills through the study of a range of physical and human geographical environments and processes which are all relevant and important to the changing world in which we live. A broad division is made between physical and human geography is made and each student will be taught by members of staff who are specialists in their field. Students attend a residential field trip for a coastal study and travel to Manchester to explore the extensive regeneration that has taken place in the city.

As with all the new Geography A-level specifications, the new A-level is linear and will be assessed at the end of the Second Year via three different exam papers and an independently researched piece of coursework.

Please consult the Sixth Form Handbook (pdf) for further information.


Field trips

We endeavour to take pupils out of the classroom as often as possible to experience geography in the field. There are core field trips across Lower School, GCSE and A-level, and we offer further trips on a voluntary basis. Fifth Years and Sixth Formers have visited Iceland whilst Third and Fourth Years have visited Italy. There are more expeditions in the pipeline such as trips to the Azores and the Yorkshire coast.

Iceland geography trip

Iceland trip


Clubs

A-level geographers are encouraged to join the local branch of the Geographical Association and/or the Royal Geographical Society (the department is a schools member of both) and regularly attend lectures at Manchester University and elsewhere in the region where possible.

The school is invariably represented by a team of Fifth Years at the local round of the Geographical Association Worldwide Quiz who compete with success.


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