Geography is taught in two recently refurbished classrooms which offer attractive learning environments, where good use of display materials is made. Both classrooms are equipped with projectors, multimedia equipment and web cameras. Technology is used effectively by the teaching staff and imagery is used extensively to reinforce a sense of place within the subject. Lesson planning, knowledge of the assessment process and teachers who take pride developing stimulating resources are seen as strength’s within the department. The atmosphere within lessons is purposeful, with teachers setting professional high standards, enjoyment of the subject is apparent from the interactions with, and between pupils. Opportunities for progress are available at all levels, and identification of those who are talented and able takes place early in each key stage.
Within Key Stage 3, the National Curriculum is followed; this seeks to stimulate 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.
Pupils will study a variety of topics which cover a number of contemporary geographic areas such as the formation of landforms and the study of a number of modern geographic issues. There is a strong emphasis upon the development of core skills within this key stage, and geographical enquiry encourages questioning, investigation and critical thinking about issues affecting the world and people’s lives. Fieldwork is an essential element of this, and currently students visit Malham Cove to investigate surface and subsurface limestone features, the Land Rover factory in Solihull to consider the location of industry, and in addition to this we also make use of the beautiful 330 acre school site which contains the River Dove, and our own pond and woodland environments.
At Key Stage 4 students follow the AQA (A) specification which covers a range of physical and human topics, these include: the restless earth, rivers, coasts, population, tourism and the development gap. The course is delivered in a modular fashion with GCSE assessments taking place at the end of each module and pupil progress is tracked using a ‘traffic light’ system. The vast majority of the syllabus is covered in Y10, whilst Y11 is used to undertake fieldwork and complete controlled assessment. Controlled assessment represents 25% of the GCSE and investigates a key idea which is set by the board. This is completed at a number of levels of control which are in place to guarantee originality in terms of the student’s individual performance. The specification allows the opportunity to develop: communication skills, graphical and cartographical skills, technological skills, including ICT, interpersonal skills through debate and discussion, literacy and numeracy and problem solving skills. Fieldwork opportunities are designed to support controlled assessment and have taken place in the Peak District National Park over the last two years.
At Key Stage 5 Geography will be available at AS level and at A2 level following the AQA Specification (A). Four modules of work make up the AS course and an additional three modules are taught at A2 to complete the ‘A’ level qualification. Normally the AS modules will be studied during the lower sixth and then examined in the June of that year, whereas the A2 modules will be covered in the upper sixth and then examined in the June of that year. Background knowledge in Geography is useful, although students who have not studied GCSE Geography can take the course. This requires them to complete extra reading to build up their knowledge of the subject. All Geography students need to be prepared to keep themselves informed of current affairs, and are encouraged to read subject related magazines such as the Geography Review. Fieldwork is an integral part of the course, allowing students to observe record and identify geographical processes first hand. Students opting for the course are therefore expected to participate in a residential field course, which includes time spent in Snowdonia and the Peak District in the summer term. The charge for this residential is covered by the all inclusive fee.