“So many of the World’s current problems boil down to geography, and need the geographers of the future to help us understand them”
– Michael Palin
The geography department aims to develop student’s curiosity and to help them make sense of the world around them. They will find their place as global citizens by studying the big questions that face us in the 21st century and by understanding and making decisions about global issues. Student-centred learning is designed to challenge and engage pupils and make learning in geography fun.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3 we aim to develop student’s appreciation of the awe and wonder of the world around them and to help them make sense of it through investigation. Students are exposed to a range of teaching approaches, using the latest technology to encourage them to find out things for themselves. By using more student-centred learning we hope to develop confident learners who are well prepared for the rigours of further study.
In Year 7 we aim to begin to develop student’s key geographical skills and show them how geography is relevant in their own lives. We begin by developing students basic geographical skills by using map work to help students explore their new school and the local area. Students then use Trowbridge as an example of a settlement and are encouraged to think about the changes taking place where they live. The topic of crime is used to help students use their map skills to identify and begin to explain patterns, and again apply what they have learnt to a project on how crime affects the place in which they live. We then change scale to introduce some key geography of the UK. Assessments focus on describing patterns and starting to explain the reasons behind them, as well as starting to justify their own opinions.
Students are introduced to some key issues in geography, but again making links to student’s own lives. We encourage students to look at evidence to justify and make their own decisions. We begin by looking at natural hazards and the impacts these have on different groups of people in different parts of the world. We then look at Antarctica and the impact human activity is having on this unique environment, with students making decisions on what they think the future should be for this wilderness continent. Finally we look at the geography of food, asking students to reflect of their own choices and thinking about the impact these choices have on other people and places. Assessments continue to develop students’ skills in description, whilst requiring more detailed explanations and a focus on starting to understand how change can take place more sustainably.
This year is designed to help students become global citizens by cementing their geographical skills, enabling them to tackle a range of current issues. The curriculum in year 9 introduces students to elements of the GCSE, allowing them time to explore key topics. The topics studied further develop the idea of different futures and how we can move forward in a more sustainable way. We begin with a study of Development, looking at differences around the world and how we can define development. Students are encouraged to develop empathy and think about the things that affect other peoples’ lives. These issues are developed through studying Malawi and India, countries with differing levels of development. We then look at the important issue of climate change – giving students the historical background to understand the context of current climate change and think about the impacts it may have in different environments and on different people. We then look at how we could make changes in order to reduce the problem, including changes students could make in their own lives. Assessments focus on evaluation and decision-making, so students can debate issues and come to their own conclusions based on evidence.
Geography GCSE (Edexcel B 9-1)
This GCSE specification gives students the opportunity to understand more about the world, the challenges it faces and their place within it. This GCSE course will deepen their understanding of geographical processes, illuminate the impact of change and of complex people-environment interactions, highlight the dynamic links and interrelationships between places and environments at different scales, and develop students’ competence in using a wide range of geographical investigative skills and approaches. Geography enables young people to become globally and environmentally informed and thoughtful, enquiring citizens. As well as being academically rigorous, this course also gives students a range of transferable skills that are highly sought after by employers as well as providing an excellent basis for A level study.
The aims and objectives of this qualification are to enable students to build on their Key Stage 3 knowledge and skills to:
- develop and extend their knowledge of locations, places, environments and processes, and of different scales, including global; and of social, political and cultural contexts (know geographical material)
- gain understanding of the interactions between people and environments, change in places and processes over space and time, and the interrelationship between geographical phenomena at different scales and in different contexts (think like a geographer)
- develop and extend their competence in a range of skills, including those used in fieldwork, in using maps and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and in researching secondary evidence, including digital sources; and develop their competence in applying sound enquiry and investigative approaches to questions and hypotheses (study like a geographer)
- apply geographical knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches appropriately and creatively to real-world contexts, including fieldwork, and to contemporary situations and issues; and develop well-evidenced arguments, drawing on their geographical knowledge and understanding (applying geography).
Click here to download the full specification as a PDF.
Component 1: Global Geographical Issues
This component draws across physical and human processes and people-environment interactions to consider key contemporary global geographical issues. The component is divided into three sections:
Topic 1: Hazardous Earth – an understanding of the global circulation of the atmosphere and changing climate. Plus two depth studies of an extreme weather hazard (tropical cyclones) and tectonic hazards at contrasting locations.
Topic 2: Development dynamics – an understanding of the scale of global inequality. Plus a depth study of how one emerging country is developing and the consequences for people, environment and the country’s relationship with the wider world
Topic 3: Challenges of an urbanising world – an overview of the causes and challenges of rapid urbanisation across the world. Plus one depth study of a megacity* in a developing or emerging country.
Written examination: 1 hour and 30 minutes 37.5% of the qualification
Component 2: UK Geographical Issues
This component draws across physical and human processes and people-environment interactions to consider key contemporary geographical issues for the UK. The component is divided into three sections:
Topic 4: The UK’s evolving physical landscape – an overview of the varied physical landscapes in the UK resulting from geology, geomorphic processes and human activity over time. Plus two depth studies of distinctive landscapes – Coastal change and conflict and River processes and pressures
Topic 5: The UK’s evolving human landscape – an overview of the changing and varied human landscape of the UK, including the socio-economic and political processes that influence it. Plus a case study of a major UK city – Dynamic UK cities.
Topic 6: Geographical investigations – two investigations, including fieldwork and research, carried out in contrasting environments, one from ‘Coastal change and conflict’ or ‘River processes and pressures’ and one of either ‘Dynamic urban areas’ or ‘Changing rural areas’.
Written examination: 1 hour and 30 minutes 37.5% of the qualification
Component 3: People and Environment Issues – Making Geographical Decisions
In this component, student will develop their knowledge and understanding of the processes and interactions between people and environment and investigate related issues at a variety
of scales. This component has three sections:
Topic 7: People and the biosphere – an overview of the global distribution and characteristics of large-scale ecosystems, why the biosphere is important to human well-being and how humans use and modify it in order to obtain resources
Topic 8: Forests under threat – a detailed study of tropical rain forests and the taiga, looking at processes and interactions and issues related to their biodiversity and to their sustainable use and management
Topic 9: Consuming energy resources – a study of renewable and non-renewable energy, its supply and demand, access and energy security issues, its sustainable use and management
Written examination: 1 hour and 30 minutes 25% of the qualification
The full details of the specification can be found on the Edexcel website – qualifications.pearson.com
This is a compulsory element of the course and students are required to undertake 2 days fo fieldwork, in both phyiscal and human environments. This fieldwork is likely to take the form of a day trip to Bristol to undertake the human investigation, and a residential trip to undertake the physical study of a river environment.
There may also be the opportunity to take part in other enrichment activities and an optional overseas trip.
Geography A Level (Edexcel)
This new A level is engaging and relevant to today’s geographers – a qualification that will enable you to engage critically with real world issues and places, apply your own geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to make sense of the world around you and to help prepare you to succeed in your chosen pathway. This specification provides an engaging and contemporary issues-based approach which will enable you to explore and evaluate contemporary geographical questions and issues such as the consequences of globalisation, responses to hazards, water insecurity and climate change. The course content will give you the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of physical and human geography, the complexity of people and environment questions and issues, and to become a critical, reflective and independent learner, and will provide an ideal base to progress to undergraduate geography. You will also develop a range of transferable skills which are highly sought after by employers and higher education institutions whatever field you choose to go into.
Click here to download the full specification a PDF.
Area of Study 1: Dynamic Landscapes
Topic 1 – Tectonic processes and hazards
Topic 2 – Landscape systems, processes and change – Options include Coastal Landscapes and Glaciated Landscapes
Area of Study 2: Dynamic Places
Topic 3 – Globalisation
Topic 4 – Shaping Places – Options include Regenerating Places or Diverse Places
Area of Study 3: Physical Systems and Sustainability
Topic 5 – The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity
Topic 6 – The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security
Topic 7 – Climate Change Futures
Area of Study 4: Human Systems and Geopolitics
Topic 8 – Superpowers
Topic 9 – Global Development and Connections – Options include Human Health, Rights and Intervention or Migration, Identity and Sovereignty
In this independent report (3000-4000 words) you will collect data and research a geographical question. You will be required to present and analyse data and draw conclusions. You will integrate data collected during your fieldwork into the report.
How will I be assessed
Paper 1: (30%) 2 hours – This paper will assess the physical topics (1,2,5,6,7)
Paper 2: (30%) 2 hours – This paper will assess the human topics (3,4,8,9)
Paper 3: (20%) 1hr 45 mins – This will be a synoptic paper
Coursework: (20%) Independent Investigation
Students are required to undertake a minimum of 4 days of fieldwork in contrasting locations. This fieldwork can change with the demands of each cohort, but will include some day trips in the local area and Bristol to cover the human element, and a residential trip to a coastal area to cover the physical element.
Where can I find out more?
If you are interested in finding out more, please speak to any of the geography teachers or visit the Edexcel Website – qualifications.pearson.com