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Within the Geography Department there is a strong commitment to the enquiry approach to learning and fieldwork. Students are encouraged to develop independent learning skills throughout all key stages. We work at a range of scales throughout all key stages, looking at local, national and global concepts and issues, aiming to create awareness for understanding and resolving a range of issues that students may encounter in their futures.

The Key Stage 3 curriculum introduces students to a range of different geographical concepts that are then built upon as they move through the school to understand the interrelationships between these concepts that occur. Concepts are developed through the study of different countries around the world in Years 7 and 8, building into more global themes in Year 9.

Mapping and the use of Geographical Information Systems are seen as an important part of Geography and the use of digital mapping is an important part of learning in all years, particularly in supporting fieldwork. Fieldwork opportunities are offered each year for Year 8 and above.

Geography is a vast subject that complements a range of subjects. A new research opportunity looking at Digital Mapping within Kent is currently being developed with the History and English departments in the school alongside Canterbury Christchurch University.

Geography at KS3

Studying Geography stimulates a sense of wonder about places. It helps us make sense of a complex and dynamic world. It explains where places are, how different landscapes are formed, how people and the environment interact, and how a range of economies, societies and environments are interconnected. Geography builds on pupils’ own experiences to investigate places at all scales from personal to global, and it encourages critical thinking. Pupils also learn to think spatially and to use maps, images and new technologies. Through geography, pupils explore their own place in the world, their values and their responsibilities to others, the environment and the sustainability of the planet.

In Year 7, the aim is to develop the skills and understanding that pupils have acquired in their primary schools, and to build a foundation upon this for future geographical study. We introduce pupils to a range of places and geographical concepts in order to foster an understanding of their own local and global environments.

In Year 8 and Year 9, pupils build on these earlier ideas and develop a more detailed knowledge and understanding of places. They learn key concepts that create a successful starting point for GCSE. Pupils are assessed in a range of ways, including exam-style assessments, extended writing tasks and decision-making exercises.

Throughout Years 7 to 9, concepts and skills are mainly taught through the study of different places and countries, with bigger themes like development, globalisation, resource management and climate change as threads running through them. Pupils will focus on the following enquiry questions in each year:

Year 7

Making sense of where we live (map skills and the geography of Kent)

What is the role of China in the 21st century?

What factors affect the UK climate?

What challenges do African countries face?

Year 8

How are UK cities changing?

How healthy is Canterbury High Street?

How hazardous is Japan?

What is life like in India?

What is the future for Antarctica?

Year 9

What does the future hold for Russia?

What is the Middle East like?

What is the geography of North Wales like?

How is Iceland developing?

Geography at KS4

Geography is an exciting, rewarding, and extremely relevant subject that plays a critical role in building our understanding of the world and its different physical and human environments. It will challenge you to think about your role as a global citizen, and about how key processes and issues impact the Earth’s natural systems and society. It is likely that the challenges facing our world today, such as climate change and resource depletion, will increasingly be tackled by geographers.

Why will I enjoy this course?

It focuses on real local, national and global issues/challenges that will affect you, both now and in the future.

It gives you the opportunity to explore and evaluate possible solutions to a range of global issues, such as extreme weather events, resource management, and the sustainability of our cities and landscapes.

It involves practical field work in both coastal and urban environments.

It provides opportunities to use and develop your research skills through activities such as field work and the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

It will equip you with transferable skills that will help to prepare you for adult life and your future career.

What will I study?

We follow the Edexcel B geography specification. This course is divided into three areas of study and is designed to build on the knowledge you have acquired at Key Stage 3.

Component 1: Global Geographical Issues

This component focuses on some of the key geographical issues in today’s world, and the interaction of the physical and human processes that cause them.

Hazardous Earth focuses on the study of the world’s climate system and climate change. You will then investigate hazards caused by tropical cyclones and earthquakes in contrasting places.

Development dynamics investigates global inequality and development, before focusing on a case study of an emerging country, India.

Challenges of an urbanising world investigates the causes and challenges of rapid urban change, before focusing on a case study of life in a growing megacity, Mumbai.

Component 2: UK Geographical Issues

This component focuses on the key geographical issues in the UK today, and the physical and human processes that cause change.

The UK’s evolving physical landscape starts with an overview of why the UK’s natural landscapes are so varied, before you investigate change in a coastal environment.

The UK’s evolving human landscape investigates why the UK’s human landscapes (i.e. cities and rural areas) are changing, before you focus on a case-study of a dynamic UK city, London.

Component 3: People and Environment Issues- Making Geographical Decisions

In this component you will develop your understanding of the processes and interactions between people and environments by investigating three important global issues:

People and the Biosphere provides an overview of the world’s large-scale ecosystems or biomes, and why the biosphere is important to humans for their wellbeing and for resources.

Forests under threat is a detailed study of how two biomes function – tropical rainforests and the taiga – and how they can be managed sustainably.

Consuming energy resources investigates energy supply, demand and security, and how energy resources can be managed sustainably.

How is the course assessed?

Assessment is comprised of three written examinations, each 1 hour & 30 minutes in length. These use a variety of question styles, and involve calculations and longer extended answers. The Unit 3 examination is a decision-making exercise based around the analysis of a resource booklet, which covers some of the concepts taught across all three units. The final question on this paper requires you to choose one of three proposals outlined in the booklet and give a reasoned justification for your choice.

What could I do with geography?

We encourage students to continue with their studies at A Level and then study geography or a related discipline at university. However, even if you decide not to continue with your geography studies, the transferable skills you will learn will prove extremely useful.

Students who have studied geography are highly valued in the workplace and geography graduates are very employable. This is because the skills learnt are transferable to a wide range of professional occupations. Below is just a sample of the employment opportunities available:

Law                                                                   Sustainable development project management

Business management                             Environment Agency planning

Banking and commerce                          Local/ central government planning

Event management                                    Transport planning and management

Accountancy                                                Civil service

Estate agency                                               Surveying

Climatology                                                  GIS specialisms

Geography at KS5

Geography is subject that is both fascinating and intellectually challenging in addition to being one of the facilitating subjects recommended by top Universities (Russell Group). The most recent HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) survey shows that Geography graduates show a very low unemployment rate (7.4%) compared to the national average (8.9%) (2011).

The Guardian view on geography

It’s the must-have A level.  It used to be a Cinderella subject. Now, in a world that increasingly values people who can work across the physical and social sciences, geography’s all the rage.

The Guardian 13 August 2015

‘Geography students hold the key to the world’s problems’

Michael Palin, broadcaster and former president of the Royal Geographical Society

(A statement not to be underrated in a world continually shaken by environmental, economic, political and social events.)

The course

 You will follow a contemporary course that has been developed in consultation with the Geographical Association, Royal Geographical Society and leading HE institutions. The course is designed so that you are inspired by the world around you, gain enjoyment and satisfaction from your geographical studies and understand their relevance in the dynamic world in which we all live and work.

The Topics studied

Topic 1: Tectonic Processes and Hazards

Topic 2: Landscape System, Processes and Change: Coastal Landscapes and Change

Topic 3: Globalisation

Topic 4: Shaping Places: Regenerating Places

Topic 5: The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity

Topic 6: The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security

Topic 7: Superpowers

Topic 8: Global Development and Connections: Health, Human Rights and Intervention

Individual and group research occurs throughout the course via a number of class and fieldwork exercises culminating in an individual fieldwork investigation on a question of your choice related to specification. This enables you to become adept in the use and application of skills and new technologies as well as improving as critical and reflective learners aware of the importance of attitudes and values, including their own.

Although desirable, it is not essential for A level students to have studied GCSE Geography, as the department has an extremely successful record with students who are extending their GCSE studies and those who wish to return to the subject at this stage.