Geography is one of the most dynamic and arguably one of the most relevant subjects to students today. Young people can make a valuable contribution to wider society by learning and challenging the world in which they live. Geography teaches pupils about the factors which shape the physical environment and the interaction which humans have on the world. It aims to make pupils responsible citizens who are environmentally and culturally aware.
Key stage 3 Geography
This provides all students with the foundations of geographical learning. Traditional topics such as Map Skills and Plate Tectonics are mixed with more contemporary themes such as Sustainable Cities and Dangerous Places. Attainment levels are high with all pupils achieving Level 6 or above by the end of Key Stage 3 and around 80% gaining Level 7 or better.
‘I’ve always been interested in different word regions and now I know how the world, economically and physically works.’ Year 9 student
‘It’s enjoyable and widens general knowledge. It lets you discover there is more to a beach than just sand!’ Year 11 student
Geography is a popular choice and now forms part of the governments new Baccalaureate. Last year 100% achieved A*-C with 69% A/A*. The GCSE examination is currently linear. This means that pupils complete all their examinations in the summer of year 11. The OCR course at GCSE includes a four main themes; population and settlement, rivers and coasts, natural hazards and economic development. Controlled assessment takes place during the summer term of year 10 following a fieldwork day in March. Pupil’s creative learning is stimulated through enquiry, interactive debates, role play, presentations, group work, modelling, video and the use of thinking skills. Pupil’s are encouraged to ask questions yet develop resilience in their quest to become an independent learner.
At A level the WJEC course offers a broad and innovative experience for all students. AS comprises two modules. One develops understanding of physical themes such as hydrology, tectonics and climate change and the other investigates human issues of population, migration and settlement. Both modules deepen pupil’s enquiry skills through human and physical practical investigations. A physical geography fieldwork day takes place in the Autumn Term with a further day for human geography during the spring term. Exams are taken in the Summer Term of year 12.
At A2 students embark on contemporary themes such as Emerging Asia, Coastal Management and Sustainability and well as a further Personal Investigation. Both modules are taken in the summer of year 13. Our students are very successful, our A/A* grades over the past 5 years have averaged 70%, virtually all students achieve A*-B grades.
‘I like Geography because of the lively and interesting discussions. Geography is all around us, wherever we go, and for that reason I chose the subject, it helps to gain a better understanding of my surroundings.’ Anish, Year 12
‘I chose Geography because of the mix of physical and human geography and the interesting fieldtrips.’ Chris, Year 12
Learning outside the classroom
Learning outside the classroom is an essential component of geography education. It is invaluable for increasing awareness about the real world, developing skills and improving achievement in geography.
Year 9 pupils enjoy an enriching day in Stratford investigating the Sustainability of East Village. This trip provides an excellent foundation to develop their deeper understanding of urban geography at GCSE. In Year 7 pupils use smartphone technology to collect data in Barkingside Park. This data is used to investigate tranquillity in the local area.
As well as trips to support learning in Key Stage 3, Controlled Assessment at GCSE and examinations at A level the department endeavours to offer learning experiences for pupils to inspiring geographical locations outside the UK such as Iceland and China.