Geography

The Geography department is part of the wider Humanities faculty which works collaboratively to raise attainment and ensure learning is as effective as it can be in all lessons.  It aims to expand students understanding of the world in which they live, in which geography plays a significant part.

The Geography department is always striving to reflect on our work and aims for the highest quality in our teaching. In September 2016 the department was awarded the Secondary Geography Quality Mark by the Geographical Association. They have commended the fact that we have developed a wide range of field work opportunities and have developed a curriculum containing a multitude of innovative strategies including practical work for the students.  They have also recognised that we make effective use of local and topical examples and are not afraid to tackle complex issues.  The Geography department has embedded our school links into our curriculum, for example, students learn about Masana School and its surrounding area in Kenya as part of a unit of work on Africa in Key Stage 3.

Fieldwork is a vital part of what we do in Geography.  In year 7, students carry out a micro climate investigation around the school, they also carry out fieldwork in Street town centre. There will also be an optional residential rivers visit to Brecon in Wales.  In year 8, students go on a visit to Lulworth Cove where they study tourism and the coast. At GCSE there are fieldwork visits to Bristol and Lyme Regis where students carry out urban and coastal fieldwork respectively.

At Key Stage 3 students study a series of themes based on enquiry questions.  In year 7 the students start by asking ‘Where are we in the world?’ where they learn basic map skills which are then developed in other modules throughout Key Stage 3. In the second unit, students apply the map skills they have learnt to select a site for a new hypothetical factory in Street. 

During Key Stage 3, students develop their skills in four main areas; knowledge, understanding, application, and skills.  These have been designed to help the students make the transition to GCSE and equip them with skills that will be useful in the future.  Knowledge means that students need to be able to recall information so that they can back up their arguments.  They are expected to have a knowledge of locations, places, processes, and environments at different scales.  In understanding they need to demonstrate an understanding of geographical concepts and how they are used in relation to places, environments, and processes.  They need to explore the interrelationship between places, environments, and processes.  In terms of application, students need to apply their knowledge and understanding to interpret, analyse, and evaluate geographical information and issues to make judgements.  Finally, the skills element expects students to select, adapt, and use a variety of skills and techniques to investigate questions and issues and communicate their findings.

Topics covered this Academic Year

Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
Half Term 1 Map skills – Where are we in the world? Why do our coastlines matter? What are Extreme environments like? Deserts and tundra?
Half Term 2 How important is industry to our lives? How did glaciation shape the UK? Why do extreme environments matter?  – Rainforests.
Half Term 3 How does weather and climate effect our lives? How has development and globalization led to a varied world? How are tectonic hazards so different?
Half Term 4 Shopping in Street fieldwork. What kind of shopping Centre is Street? How has development and globalization led to a varied world? How are tectonic hazards so different?
Half Term 5 How do rivers shape our landscape? How are we connected to Africa? How important is China to our lives?
Half Term 6 What’s beneath our feet? - Rocks What are the issues in Britain’s urban areas? Does Climate Change matter?

GCSE

At GCSE our students study the AQA GCSE syllabus.  This incorporates three main units:

Unit 1: Living with the physical environment

This unit will give students a sound understanding of important physical processes such as geological processes, ecosystems, the atmosphere and climate, and the hydrological cycle.  Some of the highlights of the unit include studying:

  • The challenge of natural hazards - earthquakes and volcanoes, and weather hazards such as hurricanes and climate change. We start the course by looking at plate tectonics and focus on the earthquakes that happened in Japan and Nepal.  After this we look at weather hazards such as Typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines. There is an in-depth look at climate change  where students have to research, in detail, the effects of this and how we can mitigate and adapt to deal with these.
  • The living world - ecosystems such as tropical rainforests, where we study the Amazon rainforest in depth and cold environments. This links to our field study visit to Iceland.
  • Physical landscapes in the UK - coastal and river landscapes.  We will study case studies of how the British landscape has been formed. 

The whole course requires students to develop an in-depth knowledge of case studies which they need to be able to apply to the questions that will be put to them in the terminal exam.

Unit 2: Challenges in the human environment

This unit focuses on human geography. In a similar way to Unit 1, it links together to build an overall understanding of human geography. Students study how populations grow and change, where people live and work, and how they exploit and use resources. Highlights of this unit include:

  • Urban issues and challenges - growth of cities around the world.  We look at the growth of Rio in Brazil and the impact of this on people and the environment.  Closer to home we study Bristol in detail.
  • The changing economic world -  we study the development gap to analyse why some countries are richer than others and look at the consequences and potential solutions to this.  We study a newly emerging economy in depth, looking at why Nigeria has changed, and comparing this to the changes that have taken place in the UK's economy.
  • The challenge of resource management - we look at how water is provided in the UK and abroad.

Unit 3: Geographical applications

In this unit, students draw together knowledge, skills, and understanding from the full course of study. They evaluate issues showing the ability to think critically and problem-solve. A resource booklet will be available 12 weeks before the exam to allow students to interpret graphs, diagrams, statistics, photographs, satellite images, etc. before answering questions on them in the exam. There is also a fieldwork element where students need to have undertaken two geographical enquiries outside of the classroom. Visits take place in Bristol and Lyme Regis where students develop their fieldwork skills.

Last Updated: July 2017