The importance of Geography

The study of geography stimulates an interest in and a sense of wonder about places. It helps young people make sense of a complex and dynamically changing world. It explains where places are, how places and landscapes are formed, how people and their environment interact, and how a diverse range of economies, societies and environments are interconnected. It builds on pupils’ own experiences to investigate places at all scales, from the personal to the global.

Geographical enquiry encourages questioning, investigation and critical thinking about issues affecting the world and people’s lives, now and in the future. Fieldwork is an essential element of this. Pupils learn to think spatially and use maps, visual images and new technologies, including geographical information systems (GIS), to obtain, present and analyse information. Geography inspires pupils to become global citizens by exploring their own place in the world, their values and their responsibilities to other people, to the environment and to the sustainability of the planet.

Geography at KS3

The topics that are studied at Ks3 allow pupils to begin to develop key geographical skills, knowledge and understanding. They will experience a healthy mix of human and physical Geography and will begin to develop fieldwork skills. Pupils are assessed regularly in Geography and are given a variety of extra-curricular opportunities.

Topics at Ks3 will include

Year Group Autumn 1 Autumn 2 Spring 1 Spring 2 Summer 1 Summer 2
7 Our fantastic home Our fantastic home Fantastic Places Fantastic Places Cold Environments Cold Environments
8 Record Breakers Record Breakers Emerging Superpowers Emerging Superpowers The Middle East The Middle East
9 Coasts Trade and Development Natural Hazards DME Global Ecosystems Changing Places

Geography at GCSE

‘Geography develops the ability to combine scientific principals with economic awareness, environmental concerns and an appreciation and tolerance of people’s attitudes and values.’

Year 10
Students will travel the world from their classroom, exploring case studies in the United Kingdom (UK), higher income countries (HICs), newly emerging economies (NEEs) and lower income countries (LICs). Topics of study include climate change, poverty, deprivation, global shifts in economic power and the challenge of sustainable resource use. Students are also encouraged to understand their role in society, by considering different viewpoints, values and attitudes.

There is one level of entry in the reformed GCSE and students will be graded from 1 to 9. All students cover the same topics and classes are taught in mixed ability groups. The pupils will be studying the AQA syllabus.

How the course is assessed:
Three examination papers:
Paper One – Living with the physical environment
Paper Two – Challenges in the human environment
Paper Three – Geographical application

Year 11
The syllabus covered is AQA Geography B. The syllabus has been chosen to help students explore people and their environments as well as contemporary events and issues which are relevant locally, nationally and globally. It will help students to understand their environment and community. Students who are interested in decision-making and empathy work will enjoy exploring and solving complex social and environmental issues as well as gaining an understanding of how they shape the world along with natural processes.

There are two levels of entry. Foundation tier students can achieve grades C-G and higher tier students can gain grades A*-D. All students cover the same topics and classes are taught in mixed ability groups.

How the course is assessed:
Controlled Assessment

The course has two controlled assessments which are carried out in school over a series of lessons. These will be completed at the end of Year 10 and beginning of Year 11; the titles are provided by the exam board and together are worth 25% of the total marks

Two exam papers:

Unit 1: Core topics – Urban and Costal geography, worth 37.5% of total marks.
Unit 2: Tourism and Hazards worth 37.5% of the total marks.

Geography at A-Level

Geography is highly valued by universities as an A Level choice. The Russell Group report published in 2011 names geography as one of the eight facilitating subjects. This is a subject most likely to be required or preferred for entry to degree courses and choosing facilitating subjects will keep more options open to you at university.

Your A Level geography course will cover both the physical and human environments and the complex interaction of processes that shape our world. It will also, importantly, show the applied side of the subject – how human intervention affects the environment and how people adapt and mitigate the effects of processes on their environment. This is complex and dynamic and varies from place to place depending on people’s resources, technology and culture. There is plenty of room for discussion and extended research which will help you become an independent thinker and learner. By the time you get to your exams, you will be able to show your understanding of a range of opinions and be able to illustrate your answers with case studies from local, national and international examples.

A-Level Geography follows the AQA syllabus for both the reformed qualification (Year 12) and the outgoing qualification (Year 13)

Year 12
There is one level of entry at A-Level and students will be graded from A*-E. All students cover the same topics and classes are taught in mixed ability groups.

How is the course assessed:
Examination Papers and Fieldwork Investigation

Component One: Physical Geography (written paper)
Component Two: Human Geography (written paper)
Component Three: Geography Fieldwork Investigation (extended essay)

Year 13
All students have already completed an AS level in Geography in line with the requirements of the outgoing AQA specification. There is one level of entry at A-Level and students will be graded from A* – E. All students cover the same topics and classes are taught in mixed ability groups.

How is the course assessed:
Examination Paper

Unit Three: Contemporary Geographical Issues
Unit Four – Geographical Issues Evaluation