Geography is a subject that offers students the opportunity to broaden their understanding of the world as every student is a global citizen.
The department acknowledges the importance that each individual student engages and develops a sense of belonging to their global community. The department harbours curisority and develops creativity to encourage students to becoming independent and critical thinkers.
The work of the department is underpinned by three main aims. Firstly, to provide a firm basis in geographical skills, secondary to develop geographical knowledge,and thirdly to ground students understanding in real world places and relevant topics. This will enable pupils who opt for the subject at GCSE to approach the course with confidence and achieve the highest grades. Because of the the department ethos we have an enviable record of exam success at both GCSE & IB.
The department offers a range of extracurricular activities, including the student led Key Stage 3 club, “Passport to the world”. Creativity is at the forefront of the wide range of activities that the club get involved in for example making tornados in a bottle, model volcanoes and growing a range of plants from around the world for two planters in the school grounds.
Key Stage 3
In Year 7 the pupils undertake six sections of work. Including Map skills, Weather and Climate, Tourism and Cities. All students take part in the trip to the Docklands which links to both the unit Cities and questions ideas on regeneration as well as supporting the completion of their Geography diploma task
Year 8 students study a diverse range of topics including Population and Migration, Globalisation, Africa, Antarctica and Biomes. We finish of the year with a range of Geographically themed Apprentice tasks.
Year 9 is a demanding year as we being to teach Geography GCSE. This gives students GCSE content and supports the development skills and confidence over a long period of time whilst still delivering a range of engaging topics and lessons. Over the year students will study, Natural Hazards this includes the theory of plate tectonics and links to the field trip to the Natural History Museum. Students then go on to study Urban Environments, Weather Hazards, Climate Change and we finish the year off with student led presentations and a decision making exercise. This is where students are asked to review resources about a current geographical topic and make a decision about it.
Throughout year 7-9, students are assessed using a variety of tests, from formal end of unit tests, end of year examinations as well as by extended written work and verbal presentations. From year 7 onwards all assessments use the new GCSE grading system 1-9, with students developing understanding of what each of these grades represent.
Geography uses a range of transferrable skills such as graphs and data manipulation, and these are embedded throughout the year for all year groups. ICT is used in lessons to support and extend student learning and to support teaching providing resources to classes. This is possible because as a department we have access to a number of PCs within our teaching rooms.
Key Stage 4
The KS4 course is based on the AQA GCSE 1-9. This involves a balance between physical and human geography and is a natural extension to the work undertaken at KS3. The department is the most successful option subject in the school and for students that continue with Geography at GCSE we build upon their KS3 experience.
For students that continue with this popular option, skills and knowledge are built upon and extended to help students achieve the top grades of 8-9 at GCSE. There are 2 main modules to teach units from, these are: Living with the physical environment and Challenges in the human environment. These have already been started in year 9 and continue through years 10 and 11. The final examined unit is the Geographical application paper. This directly links to our residential trip to Kingswood, Norfolk. In this paper, students are examined on the fieldwork skills that they developed and consolidated during their follow up work.
This course is exciting and holistic as students study a range of human and physical topics. Both higher and standard students study 6 “core” units that include Changing population, Global resource consumption and Global risks and resilience. Those students that opt to take Geography as a higher also study, Freshwater environments, Extreme environments and Urban environments. There are several fieldwork opportunities for students to take part in. The first trip is in year 12 and is a study of the River Darent, this links to the Internal Assessment that all students complete as a part of the course. In Year 13 all students explore London and there is also the optional international trip to Iceland. This is a popular and awe inspiring trip a real highlight of the course.