Geography Department

‘Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future’ “Michael Palin”.

The world in which we live is likely to change more in the next 50 years than it has ever done before.  Our role in that change is more important than ever.  Geography explains the changes and helps to prepare people.  It is a subject about now and the future.

Geography gives a balanced viewpoint which is good preparation for the world of work.  Employers want people with the following attributes:

  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to work as a team
  • Ability to manage themselves
  • Numeracy and literacy
  • Ability to solve problems
  • Computer literacy
  • Special awareness
  • Environmental and social awareness.

From the outset we attempt to develop problem-solving based learning opportunities where pupils can develop their own ideas as fully as possible; this enables pupils of all abilities to access the curriculum, produce work of the highest levels stretching and challenging all pupils. Ample opportunity is also provided for pupils to develop their literacy and numeracy skills.

There is a high uptake of pupils at both GCSE and AS/A level, which reflects on the interest and enjoyment shown by pupils in Key stage 3 Geography. The Geography department has provided many pupils with the opportunity to develop geographical, literacy, numeracy and enquiry skills which are skills which are transferable not only to the further study of Geography , but also to other subjects and many different types of careers.

The department provides pupils with many opportunities to participate in fieldwork, both local and overseas visits. At Key Stage 4 pupils will have the opportunity to participate in several data collection days at Cold Knapp, near Barry for coastal fieldwork and the Brecon Beacons for tourism fieldwork. At Key Stage 5, pupils will have the opportunity to participate in residential fieldwork in either Pembrokeshire/Snowdonia. The department regularly offers overseas visits to either Italy/Iceland and these visits are open to pupils in all three key stages.

The skills and knowledge which are developed at Key Stage 3 have led to continuing success at both GCSE and A level. In the most recent A level results 100%   of pupils gained an A level, 78% gaining grades A*-C and 33% gaining an A*/A.

Department aims:

  • To develop a knowledge and understanding of current events from the local area to the global.
  • Investigate the earth and its people.  Enhance pupil’s sense of responsibility of the earth and its people.
  • Study the features of the earth – such as mountains, rivers and seas  nand how they were formed.
  • Develop a range of useful skills such as map reading, data collection, ICT and problem solving.

A brief description of KS3 course

During Key Stage 3, Geography is taught as a discrete subject, following a skills based focus adhering to National Curriculum guidelines, incorporating literacy and numeracy skills tracking and assessments.  In Year 7 pupils study the World, Mapskills, Migration and Development.  In Year 8 pupils begin with the study of Physical landscapes, focussing on Rivers, Floods and Flood management, Economic activities and Threatened Environments.  The Year 9 curriculum is structured around the demands of the GCSE course and so lays down the foundation of some of the more important topics, they include Natural Hazards, Globalisation and Climate change.

A brief description of KS4 course

Course Content

The department delivers the GCSE specification produced by the WJEC introduced in September 2016.

Aims and Learning Outcomes

Aims

Following a course in GCSE Geography should encourage students to be inspired, moved and changed by following a broad, coherent and worthwhile course of study.

Learning Outcomes

The specification should enable learners to:

  • Actively engage in the process of geography to develop as effective and independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds.
  • Develop their knowledge and understanding of geographical concepts and appreciate the relevance of these concepts to our changing world.
  • Develop a framework of spatial awareness in which to appreciate the importance of the location of places and environments from local to global.
  • Appreciate the differences and similarities between people’s views of the world, its environments, societies and cultures.
  • Develop their responsibilities as global citizens and recognise how they can contribute to a future that is sustainable.
  • Develop and apply their learning to the real world through fieldwork and other out of classroom learning activities.
  • Use geographical skills, appropriate technologies such as ICT and GIS, enquiry and analysis.
  • geographical skills, appropriate technologies such as ICT and GIS, enquiry and analysis.

The course has two examinations, taken in year 11 and a fieldwork enquiry report.

Unit 1 (40%) assesses Physical and Human Landscapes, using structured data response questions and an extended written question on either Coasts or tectonic zones and their management.

Unit 2 (40%) assesses Environmental and Developmental Issues, again it uses structured data response questions to look at the core themes and has an extended written response on Environmental Challenge

Unit 3 (20%) is the fieldwork enquiry, this uses the results of two pieces of fieldwork completed by the pupils and their fieldwork notebooks to answer, as a report, questions set by the examination board, it is completed as a Controlled Assessment so some teacher support is possible.

A brief description of KS5 course

The AS and A level specification in geography is designed to encourage students to:

  • Develop and apply their understanding of geographical concepts and processes to understand and interpret our changing world.
  • Develop their awareness of the complexity of interactions within and between societies, economies, cultures and environments at scales from local to global.
  • Develop as global citizens who recognise the challenges of sustainability and the implications for their own and others’ lives.
  • Improve as critical and reflective learners aware of the importance of attitudes and values, including their own.
  • Become adept in the use and application of skills and new technologies through their geographical studies both in and outside the classroom.
  • Be inspired by the world around them, and gain employment and satisfaction from their geographical studies and understand their relevance.

Specifically, the AS specification aims to encourage students to:

 

  • Understand the role of physical processes operating within the dynamic earth system;
  • Understand the impact of selected physical processes on environments and people;
  • Develop an awareness of some of the current environmental and human issues that face the world;
  • Know that issues can be studied at different scales and at different levels of complexity;
  • Be able to use and interpret geographical information from a range of sources;
  • Be able to reinforce classroom work by out-of-class activities in the field and to develop an understanding of changing environments through out-of-classroom learning.

 

In addition, the A level specification aims to encourage students to:

  • Understand the links between the activities of people in a range of environments and the environmental, social and economic consequences of those activities;
  • Appreciate that an understanding of causes and processes can lead to relevant management strategies;
  • Synthesise information from a variety of sources in order to draw conclusions;
  • Be able to research an aspect of geography with guidance and to report that experience under examination conditions;
  • Be able to evaluate contrasting theories and explanations of geographical processes and phenomena as reflective learners;
  • Understand why different individuals and groups hold differing opinions and me be biased;
  • Understand and interpret information from a variety of sources and be aware of the limitations of those sources;
  • Develop their awareness of their own role and responsibilities as future citizens.

 

The AS qualification comprises Units 1 and 2.

Unit 1: Changing Landscapes – Written examination (24%)

Section A: Changing Landscapes – Choice between two themes, either Coastal or Glaciated Landscapes; two compulsory structured questions with data response.

Section B: Tectonic Hazards – Three compulsory structured questions with data response

 

Unit 2: Changing Places – Written examination (16%)

Section A : Changing Places – Two compulsory structured questions with data response.

Section B: Fieldwork Investigation in Physical and Human Geography.  Three compulsory structured questions with data response on fieldwork and the learner’s own fieldwork investigation.

 

The A level qualification comprises Units 1 through to 5.

Unit 3: Global Systems and Global Governance – Written paper (24%)

Section A: Global Systems, Water and Carbon Cycles – Two compulsory structured questions with data response and one extended question.

Section B: Global Governance, Change and Challenges, Processes and patterns of global migration and global governance of the Earth’s oceans – Two compulsory structured questions with data response and one extended response question.

Section C: 21st Century Challenges – One compulsory extended response question drawing on Units 1, 2 and 3 with resource material.

 

Unit 4: Contemporary Themes in Geography – Written examination (16%)

Section A: Tectonic Hazards – One compulsory extended response question.

Section B: Contemporary Themes in Geography – Two optional themes from four, with two essay questions, one on each chosen theme:

  • Ecosystems
  • Economic growth and Challenge: India or China or Development in an African Context
  • Energy Challenges and Dilemmas
  • Weather and Climate

 

Unit 5: Independent Investigation Non-exam assessment: 3000-4000 words (20%)

One written independent investigation, based on the collection of both primary data and secondary information

Geography trip

KS 5 fieldwork-Brecon Beacons

Geography trip

Italy trip KS4/5

Geography trip

KS 4 fieldwork-Cold Knap

Geography trip

Iceland trip-KS 4/5