The core idea of the Department of Geography which governs the attitudes towards education and decision-making is celebrating geographical thinking. We want to inspire in our students a wonder about the world, and a need to know. Our purpose is exactly the same as the ethos of the whole school-to create the best atmosphere, provide the best support and get the best results. Our core values reflect our approach to teaching and learning. We have significant expertise in a wide range of sub-disciplinesand we believe that we are at the cutting edge of innovative teaching culture. But our driving value is our focus on progression or becoming better geographers. All students study Geography in Years 7-9. Geography is available as an option subject at both GCSE and A Level.
KS3 (Years 7, 8 and 9)
Our geographical journey in Key Stage three is mapped around our progression framework and learning pathways which set out a series of geographical knowledge, concepts and skills. It is based on the guidance by the Geographical Association resulting in three broad strands to assess progression in geographical thinking: understanding places (contextual world knowledge), exploring interconnections and change (understanding) and enquiring and communicating (geographical enquiry and skills). These strands are the basis for the construction of our Key Stage three curriculum of engagement.
Year 7’s units are titled foundations, as all of them develop key skills to help them be good geographers. Year 7 begin with a world journey which begins by exploring what Geography is all about and then goes on to study the physical and human features of each continent. They then move on to mapskills and geographical information systems. Students then study the unit titled ‘our place in the world’ which explores key issues and our connections with the rest of the world. This unit builds on the skills developed in the first two units. A focus then is on geographies of Britain. Students then look at an enquiry-based unit where students carry out fieldwork around the school site. The students investigate the key question ‘where is the best mobile phone signal around the school site?’ The final unit of year 7 looks at the Geographies of China.
Year 8’s units are termed ‘global issues and sustainability’. Year 8 start by studying a unit which looks at the key question ‘why might some countries remain poor?’. This unit looks at development and poverty on a global scale focusing in on examples in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This then links to studying a unit on Brazil and the Amazon. Year 8 then look at the unit exploring the key question ‘how can we provide for 9 billion people?’. Students then look at a unit on environmental issues in Bourne. This is an enquiry based unit where students carry out fieldwork in Bourne and produce a project which identifies the environmental issues in Bourne. The final unit in year 8 focusses on ‘the Anthropocene’ and is a synoptic unit for year 8.
Year 9 look into key concepts and processes. The first unit looks at the Geographies of technology. This is then linked to weather and climate and extreme weather. Students then study a module on tectonics and focuses on the hazardous Earth. The key question which they investigate is ‘why are tsunamis so dangerous?’. Students carry out an enquiry on micro climates. Students carry out fieldwork around the school site and produce a project which links to microclimates around the school site. Students then study a module on representing place. The final module of year 9 is the Geographies of disease.
KS4 (Years 10 and 11)
The Department of Geography follows the OCR B Geography for enquiring minds specification (J384). The specification will engage learners through the exploration of geographical topics encapsulating both the geography of the UK and the rest of the world. Full details of the course are available here
Students are examined on three examination papers: Our Natural World, People and Society and Geographical Exploration. They are required to do two pieces of fieldwork: one for a human environment and one for a physical environment. Students carry out their human fieldwork in Cambridge and do their physical fieldwork in Hunstanton. There is also an optional fieldwork to Sicily to study the hazardous Earth particularly volcanoes.
KS5 (Years 12 and 13)
The Department of Geography follows the OCR Geography A Level specification (H481). Full details of the course are available here.
OCR’s A Level in Geography aims to encourage learners to develop a range of essential skills for Higher Education and the world of work through content which is relevant to any citizen of the planet in the 21st century. Through exciting topics learners will understand the nature of physical and human geography whilst unpicking the debates surrounding contemporary challenges facing the world today. Students study for three examination papers: Physical systems, Human interactions and Geographical debates. The students also have to carry out an independent investigation worth 20% of the total A Level. Students have to undertake fieldwork and go to Snowdonia, Birmingham and Bourne.