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 which geography plays a significant part in. 

The geography department is always striving to reflect on our work and strive for the highest quality in our teaching. As a result of this in September 2016 the department was awarded the Secondary Geography Quality Mark by the Geographical Association who have commended the fact that we have developed a wide range of field work opportunities and have developed a curriculum containing a wide range of innovative strategies including practical work for the students. They have said that we make effective use of local and topical examples and are not afraid to tackle complex issues. 

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 is also 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. The second unit students study for example asks students to apply the map skills they have learnt to selecting a site for a new (hypothetical) factory in Street. 

During KS3 students develop their skills in 4 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 inter-relationship 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
Half Term 1 Map skills – Where are we in the world? Why do our coastlines matter?
Half Term 2 Why are job’s changing in the UK? Is Lulworth Cove a honeypot site? Fieldwork investigation.
Half Term 3 How does weather and climate effect our lives? Why do places suffer from tectonic hazard’s differently?
Half Term 4 Quality of life in Street. Fieldwork  to investigate the quality of life in Street. How should Malawi develop?
Half Term 5 How do rivers shape our landscape? Why are people making dangerous journeys to the UK from Africa? Population, resources and migration. 
Half Term 6 Why should I worry about a changing climate? China and Russia – how could these counties impact your life?

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.

This unit is covered in year 9 and year 10. We will take a spiral learning approach to delivering the course where we will focus on progressively harder areas of the course in year 10 after covering the basics in year 9.

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 2018