Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future.
The study of Geography stimulates an interest in, and a sense of wonder about, places. It helps young people make sense of a complex and changing world. It explains where places are, how places and landscapes are formed, how people and their environment interact and how a diverse range of economies, societies and environments are interconnected. It builds on students' own experiences to investigate places at all scales, from the personal to the global.
Geography is a popular subject taught throughout the school from Years 7 to 13. Examination results are well above national average, with a number of students pursuing the subject, or related disciplines, at university.
In September 2019, we were re-accredited with the Secondary Geography Quality Mark with Centre of Excellence Status, in recognition of the quality of the curriculum and teaching in the department. There are five members of staff who are committed geographers and experienced teachers.
At Key Stage 3, the syllabus includes a range of topics at varying scales. The GCSE and A Level specifications are both with AQA.
The department is housed in the new Woodside block, with four dedicated classrooms and an office. The department is well resourced with multiple sets of core textbooks, together with a wide variety of other texts, teacher resource packs, videos, interactive whiteboard resources, work sheets for all years, DVDs and other electronic teacher resources. A healthy budget means that resources are constantly being updated and extended. GCSE and A Level students have access to a range of textbooks, many of which are syllabus-specific. Fully resourced Schemes of Work are in place for all year groups to support teaching, learning and planning. These are reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
The department holds membership of both the Royal Geographical Society and The Geographical Association (GA). It works closely with teacher training providers and, as such, is able to incorporate the latest developments in the subject into the department.
Homework is set weekly at Key Stage 3 and should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. The outcome of homework is as varied as the teaching styles mentioned above, so students might find themselves conducting interviews, producing posters or investigating issues. Homework is used to extend the learning from the lesson and is an important part of the learning in Geography.
The department is very keen to carry out fieldwork. Visits include local places, and museums and conferences in London and further afield. GCSE students typically spend a day in Sheringham, Norfolk, collecting data for their Controlled Assessment. Year 12 students spend a week in Snowdonia in preparation for their Geographical Skills examination. In addition, the department runs biannual international field trips, most recently to Iceland.
Grouping within Geography is decided on a year-by-year, cohort-by-cohort basis depending on the needs of the particular group.
Key Stage 3
The aims and rationale of the curriculum in Years 7 - 9 in Geography are:
- To inspire in students a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people.
- To equip students with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.
- To develop students’ understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments.
- To use geographical knowledge, understanding and skills as a framework that explains how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and changed over time.
At HGS students will start their studies of Geography by exploring what the subject is about and learning some key geographical skills, whilst exploring India as a country. Through the year, they will investigate limestone landscapes, rivers and France.
Students will start to explore topics at a larger scale by studying population issues, weather and climate, Africa and extreme environments.
The idea of global issues is firmly on the agenda in Year 9 with students investigating the USA, hazardous places, and water issues, and finishing the year with an independent investigation.
Key Stage 4
Geography is an optional and popular subject at GCSE level. The course (AQA specification) covers a range of issues and is both topical and place-based. Fieldwork is an integral part of the course and is usually at Sheringham in Norfolk.
For KS4 we follow: AQA 8035 https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/geography/specifications/AQA-8035-SP-2016.PDF
The aims and rationale of the curriculum in Y10 - 11 Geography are to:
- Develop and extend knowledge of locations, places, environments and processes; different scales, including global; and of social, political and cultural contexts. ('Know geographical material.')
- Gain understanding of the interactions between people and environments; of changes in places and processes over space and time; and of the interrelationship between geographical phenomena at different scales and in different contexts. ('Think like a geographer.')
- Develop and extend competence in a range of skills, including those required in: fieldwork; using maps and Geographical Information Systems (GIS); and researching secondary evidence, including digital sources. Develop competence in applying sound enquiry and investigative approaches to questions and hypotheses. ('Study like a geographer.')
- Apply geographical knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches appropriately and creatively to real-world contexts, including fieldwork, and to contemporary situations and issues. Develop well-evidenced arguments drawing on geographical knowledge and understanding. ('Applying geography.')
Key Stage 5
Geography at A Level develops earlier understanding, adding depth and breadth. Issues such as sustainability in urban areas sit alongside more traditional topics such as flooding and climate change. Students follow the AQA specification and will complete a field course in Snowdonia before writing their individual investigation.
For KS5 we follow: AQA 7037
The aims and rationale of the curriculum in Y12 - 13 Geography are to:
- Develop knowledge of locations, places, processes and environments, at all geographical scales from local to global, across the specification as a whole.
- Develop an in-depth understanding of processes in physical and human geography at a range of temporal and spatial scales, and of the concepts which illuminate their significance in a range of locational contexts.
- Recognise and be able to analyse the complexity of people-environment interactions at all geographical scales, and appreciate how these underpin understanding of some of the key issues facing the world today.
- Develop understanding of, and an ability to apply, the concepts of place, space, scale and environment, which underpin both the National Curriculum and GCSE, including developing a more nuanced understanding of these concepts.
- Gain understanding of specialised concepts: causality, systems, equilibrium, feedback, inequality, representation, identity, globalisation, interdependence, mitigation and adaptation, sustainability, risk, resilience and thresholds.
Mr Richard Sutton (Head of Department)
Mr Darcy Beardmore-Crowther
Mrs Caroline Hone
Mr Mark Lynn
Mrs Julie Miller