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Geography

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Geography is a subject increasingly making the news...

Geography is about developing a sense of wonder about the world. It is potentially the most relevant subject for any learner in the 21st century and we aim to drive a passion and love of this dynamic subject through exciting and engaging content. 

Where we come from, what we do, what we eat, how we move about and how we shape our future are all directly the province of the geographer. More than ever we need the geographer’s skills and foresight to help us learn about the planet — how we use it and how we abuse it - Michael Palin

We follow an enquiry-led programme of study in Key Stage 3, covering a range of geographical topics and we draw links between these interconnected themes.

In Year 7 we explore which places we feel most connected to and why. From looking at our individual geographies we then consider the other seven billion people on the planet, where they live and why, and how those places may differ in different parts of the world. We learn about the geography of Australia, encompassing population density and distribution, how this is influenced by rainfall patterns, and consider a future for the Great Barrier Reef.

In Year 8 we explore the use of fossil fuels to deliver energy across the world and create a role play to understand different viewpoints on a proposed windfarm project. By studying India’s human and physical environment, for example the effect of monsoon rainfall and flooding on an ever growing population, we are able to apply our knowledge of the impacts of global warming to a country with great extremes of poverty and wealth.

In Year 9 learning about issues such as poverty, development and destruction of the oceans help us to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the world in the 21st Century. We explore a range of solutions and evaluate the impact they can have, helping develop us as global citizens. To develop our skills of research, analysis and decision-making, we apply our knowledge of geographical themes to China, the world’s future superpower.

 

Our GCSE Course

For GCSE we follow the OCR B course: Geography for Enquiring Minds.

Geography is a very popular subject at KS4. We learn about a range of geographical themes and topics encapsulating both the geography of the UK and the rest of the world. As the world we live in is likely to change more in the next 50 years than it ever has before over the same period of time, we try to understand how and why the world is changing, and find the tools to prepare us for those changes. We have the opportunity to develop and extend knowledge of locations, places, environments and process by looking at issues from a range of scales and through social, political and cultural contexts. The GCSE course allows learners to gain an understanding of the interactions between people and environments, the change in places and processes over space and time, and to develop a range of geographical, mathematical, statistical and enquiry skills. Fieldwork is absolutely vital to Geography as it provides an experience of learning and applying specific geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to the real world, outside of the classroom. There is a residential fieldtrip to Nettlecombe Court, Somerset, in April of Year 10.


Our A Level Course 

The OCR Geography A Level has been designed to give learners the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to become engaged global citizens. It encourages the development a range of essential skills for Higher Education and the world of work. Through exciting topics learners will understand the nature of physical and human geography whilst unpicking the debates surrounding contemporary challenges facing the world today. Through the study of dynamic and contemporary content, learners can understand and interact with issues which affect people and places at a range of scales from local to global – and all that is in-between. Geographers at WHS achieve excellent A Level grades, with a number going on to ready Geography at university, including the Russell Group and Oxbridge, each year.

The course consists of four units:

  • 1. Physical Systems

Through the study of Physical systems learners will develop an understanding and appreciation of Landscape Systems, contextualised through either coastal landscapes, dryland landscapes or glaciated landscapes, and Earth’s Life Support Systems, which encompasses the water and carbon cycles vital to our planet.

  • 2. Human Interactions

Learners will explore Human interactions through the study of Global Connections, with a choice between focusing on the systems of trade or migration and the governance of human rights or sovereignty on a global scale, and Changing Spaces; Making Places, which gives learners an insight into the nature of places and the fluidity of their meanings and representations.

  • 3. Geographical Debates

Geographical debates allows learners to explore in depth two from a choice of five of the most challenging, dynamic and fascinating issues of the 21st century. With choices between such wide ranging topic areas as climate change, disease, food security, oceans and tectonic hazards, there are debates to appeal to all with the implications on people and the environment being at the heart of this component.

  • 4. Investigative Geography

The Investigative geography component allows learners to undertake an independent investigation linked to any aspect of the specification to satisfy their intellectual curiosity. This component is designed to encourage learners to deepen their knowledge and understanding of their chosen topic whilst developing a number of geographical and study skills relevant to Higher Education or within the world of work. This component includes an overseas residential fieldtrip during May of Year 12.

A Level Geographers will:

  • Develop their knowledge of locations, places, processes and environments, at all geographical scales from local to global.
  • Recognise and be able to analyse the complexity of people-environment interactions at all geographical scales, and appreciate how these underpin understanding of some of the key issues facing the world today.
  • Develop their understanding of, and ability to apply, the concepts of place, space, scale and environment, that underpin both the national curriculum and GCSE, including developing a more nuanced understanding of these concepts.
  • Gain understanding of specialised concepts including causality, systems, equilibrium, feedback, inequality, representation, identity, globalisation, interdependence, mitigation and adaptation, sustainability, risk, resilience and thresholds.
  • Improve their understanding of the ways in which values, attitudes and circumstances have an impact on the relationships between people, place and environment, and develop the knowledge and ability to engage, as citizens, with the questions and issues arising.
  • Become confident and competent in selecting, using and evaluating a range of quantitative and qualitative skills and approaches, (including observing, collecting and analysing geo-located data) and applying them as an integral part of their studies.
  • Understand the fundamental role of fieldwork as a tool to understand and generate new knowledge about the real world, and become skilled at planning, undertaking and evaluating fieldwork in appropriate situations.
  • Apply geographical knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches in a rigorous way to a range of geographical questions and issues, including those identified in fieldwork, recognising both the contributions and limitations of geography.
  • Develop as critical and reflective learners, able to articulate opinions, suggest relevant new ideas and provide evidenced argument in a range of situations.

Clubs and Extension Activities

We run a weekly ‘Geography Film Club’, where we screen a wide range of documentaries and programmes related to topics and themes being studied at GCSE and A Level. This is open to all year groups.

A bi-yearly trip to Iceland for KS4 and KS5 runs in October half-term. This hugely popular trip allows girls to see first-hand the incredible work that nature can do through volcanic eruptions and glacial movement. The potential to catch a glimpse of the stunning Northern Lights is too good to miss!

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