Geography is studied by all students until the end of the Third Year. It then becomes an option subject and has become the most popular GCSE option subject in the school.
The First, Second and Third Year students undertake a broad and exciting curriculum, which currently includes topics such as tropical rainforests, crime, hazards and a number of investigations into a variety of different countries. Students develop their understanding of the physical and human processes, which shape our planet. This provides a balance between topics concerned with the natural environment and those that are linked to economic, social and political issues. They also develop their ability to interpret a variety of data sources such as maps, graphs, charts, articles and photographs. We also introduce students to the necessary techniques and skills required in order to carry out a successful fieldwork investigation. An Environmental Day in the Third Year is used to help develop these techniques and to help students learn about their local environment.
At GCSE, students are able to further develop their knowledge of particular themes, such as climate change, urban challenges and earth structure. The course is balanced between physical and human topics and covers many topical issues such as glacial landforms, foreign debt and immigration policy. Students also get the opportunity to carry out a number of investigations, collecting first hand fieldwork data. An optional fieldtrip to Iceland takes place during the summer between Fourth and Fifth Year. The opportunity to experience beautiful scenery and to learn about the formation of a number of fantastic landforms is one taken by approximately 75 students each year.
The new A Level course in the Lower Sixth has proved to be very popular and seeks to build on foundations laid at GCSE Level. The exam style includes short answer questions, in which students need to develop their understanding of processes and also longer essay questions that encourages evaluative thinking and reasoning to build on their case study knowledge. An individual piece of coursework is required and students are given the opportunity to collect data or simply to learn possible fieldwork techniques on a residential field course to Wales.
The A2 course is a very exciting syllabus which studies plate tectonics, ecosystems and global conflicts or development. The material covered includes both physical and human geography. Students will also cover several issues of current affairs such as terrorism, the energy crisis and global warming. A variety of teaching methods are employed and students can find themselves giving presentations to the rest of the class, or they could be involved in a problem solving exercise, which encourages teamwork and the sorting of information.
The department is very keen on the use of computers and students are encouraged to make positive use of the available resources. We are aware of the need to encourage thinking skills as well as developing citizenship and an awareness of social, moral, cultural and spiritual issues. Many students go on to read Geography at University and Geography graduates have enjoyed one of the highest rates of employment from any degree.