Curriculum Leader: Mr P Hickling
Geography is a popular and well regarded subject within the school. The department currently consists of seven Geography teachers. Lessons are taught in specialised rooms, which are next to each other in the well-equipped Newton block that was opened in September 2015. Each room is modern and well-resourced with its own whiteboard, interactive Clevertouch TV and computer linked to the school network. A dedicated computer room with 30 terminals is nearby.
Lessons are varied with a mix of problem solving exercises, research based activities, worksheets, use of the interactive smartboard, DVDs and group work. ICT is used to enhance students learning where possible, for example for researching and presenting information. Fieldwork is important and Year 7 students use the local area, Year 8 visit the Yorkshire Coast and Year 10 GCSE students go on a fieldtrip in April to the Yorkshire Dales to help them complete their controlled assessment. There is also an opportunity for students to go on a trip to Sicily to explore a volcanic islands. Year 12 fieldwork is carried out at the Cranedale Centre over three days in October. In addition, there is a fieldtrip to Iceland for Year 12/13 students to explore issues about plate tectonics, geothermal activity and tourism.
The department has friendly, enthusiastic and committed teachers who are continuing to improve the already high standards that have been achieved in the past.
The Key Stage 3 curriculum contains a range of engaging topics that develop the students’ geographical understanding and their Key Learning Attributes. In Year 7 the students investigate issues relating to their local to global links. This includes topics such as Our Place in the World, Geography and Survival, Settlement Issues and Debating Development. In Year 8 the students investigate issues relating to Energetic Earthquakes, Violent Volcanoes, Slumming it in Cities, Investigating India and Crumbling Coasts. In Year 9 the students investigate issues relating to Respecting Rainforests, Awesome Antarctica, Desolate Deserts and Climate Chaos.
At Key Stage 3 classes are split into two halves of the year. In Year 7 each half has one lower ability set, with the rest of the students mixed into the other three sets. In Year 8 and 9, each half of the year has one set one, two set twos and one set three. Engaging and interactive lesson activities are differentiated to ensure that the needs of each student are met.
Geography is a popular option choice at GCSE with a large proportion of students taking the subject. Students are taught in four to six groups across the year that are usually set by ability. Students follow the AQA Syllabus B which is an issue based course examining units such as coastal processes, urban environment, natural hazards and global tourism. Students also complete two controlled assessments. Students enjoy the course and many build upon their success, both in terms of their overall attainment and in comparison with their FFT-D estimated grades, by studying Geography at A level.
Unit 1 – Coasts and Urban Environment
- Coastal processes and landforms
- Coastal management and sustsinabilty
- Urban issues in MEDCs and LEDCs
- Sustainable regeneration of cities
Unit 2 – Natural Hazards and Global Tourism
- Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Hurricanes and Wildfires
- Growth, impacts and management of tourism
- Tourism and development issues
Unit 3 – Controlled Assessment
- Fieldwork Investigation – Write up fieldwork (15%)
- Issue Evaluation – Internet research report (10%)
Residential fieldtrip e.g. to Bewerley Park – three days of fieldwork and outdoor activities.
- Units 1-2 exams at the end of Year 11 (75%)
- Unit 3 – project work during lessons end of Year 10 and start of Year 11 (25%)
Those students who start their GCSE course from September 2016 will follow the new AQA specification. This relevant and interesting course will include:
Paper 1: Living with the physical environment (Natural hazards, Physical landscapes in the UK and the Living world).
Paper 2: Challenges in the human environment (Urban issues and challenges, The changing economic world and The challenge of resource management).
Paper 3: Geographical applications (Issue Evaluation based on a booklet of information that students study, and Fieldwork skills). All students are expected to carry out both human and physical fieldwork. Some students may get the opportunity to complete extra fieldwork on the Sicily trip.
Papers 1 and 2 are 1 hour 30 minutes each, both are worth 35% of the final grade. Paper 3 is 1 hour long and is worth 30% of the final grade. There is no coursework or controlled assessment.
Students follow the AQA Syllabus which in AS covers topics such as rivers, coasts, population and food supply. At A2 students will investigate natural hazards, climate, world cities and development / globalisation. Students enjoy learning in an engaging environment where their curiosity regarding the complex interconnections in the world is allowed to develop. Students are expected to show initiative by independently researching geographical events. Students get the opportunity to go the Cranedale Centre in the Yorkshire Wolds to carry out first hand investigations into farming (environmental stewardship issues and intensification), rivers (downstream changes in a river profile) and coasts (evaluate contrasting management strategies to coastal erosion). Students also get the opportunity to go to Iceland with Discover the World where fieldwork is carried out about tectonic forces, the impacts of volcanic activity, geothermal energy and tourism. Many students become passionate geographers and further their geographical studies at university and several students have progressed on to having careers inspired by their geographical experiences.
Students who take A-Level Geography from September 2016 will follow the new AQA specification, which has been designed to allow students to investigate a wide range of contemporary human and physical issues. At AS this is likely to follow the option choices of Coastal systems, Global systems, Contemporary urban environments and fieldwork skills. In addition to the AS topics, the full A-level course covers Water and carbon cycles, Hazards and Changing places. Students will also be required to carry out their own geographical investigation, based on their fieldwork. This investigation will be worth 20% of the final A-level grade. All other parts of the assessment for AS and the A-level course are by written examinations.