'Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future.' MICHAEL PALIN
Welcome to our department!
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 dynamically 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 pupils' 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 7-13. Examination results are well above national average with a number of students continuing 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 curriculum and teaching in the department. There are four full time members of the department 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, filed work sheets for all years, DVDs and a range of 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). The Head of Department is also a member of the GA Secondary Phase Committee and as such is able to incorporate the latest developments in the subject into the department.
Homework is set weekly at key stage three 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 places locally, 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 fieldtrips, 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 Y7- 9 in Geography are:
- To inspire in pupils 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 change 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 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, water issues and finish 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 to Sheringham in Norfolk.
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.