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:
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?
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?
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 exciting and unique because it will challenge you to think about your own place in the world, your values, your rights and responsibilities to other people, the environment, and the planet. In doing so, it inspires you to become a global citizen and therefore, prepares you for adult life and employment.
Will I enjoy this course?
- It is topical and focuses on local, national and global issues/challenges that affect you now and in the future.
- It gives you the opportunity to explore and suggest possible solutions to a range of issues being tackled by the global community, such as extreme weather events, carbon footprints, re-imaging of cities, fertility decline and ageing populations, GM foods etc.
- It involves practical field work.
- It provides plenty of opportunity to use and develop your ICT skills through activities such as: research, presentations, use of GIS. You will acquire a range of geographical skills, including appropriate mathematics and statistics that will also support your learning in other subjects, such as economics and science. These transferable skills and that are also valued at university and in employment. It is divided into three areas of study and is designed to build on material previously studied at KS3 and to give you the opportunity to challenge your perceptions about the world that we live in.
Unit 1: Global Geographical Issues
- This unit focuses on physical and geopolitical processes that occur at the global scale but which have both global and local consequences. The specific issues studied are:
- The course is based around a series of enquiry questions which encourages you to investigate contemporary geographical issues and questions. You will be encouraged to make geographical decisions by applying your knowledge, understanding and skills to real-life 21st-century issue that affect people and environments.
What will I study?
- Hazardous Earth – the study of tropical storms and tectonic hazards
- Development dynamics – studying the range of factors that have enabled one of the emerging economies to become more developed.
- Challenges of an urbanising world– studying the issues associated with the growth of megacities in LEDCs/ emerging economies, the challenges arising and the alternatives for managing the issues and challenges.
Unit 2: UK Geographical Issues
- The UK’s evolving physical landscape- the study of coastal and river landscapes including issues such as flooding and coastal retreat. Includes fieldwork on the North Kent Coast.
- The UK’s evolving human landscape- the study of a dynamic inner city area (including fieldwork) and a changing rural area.
Unit 3: People and Environment Issues- Making Geographical Decisions
This unit focus on the investigation of the issues that result from the interactions between people and the environment at a variety of scales and is subdivided into three sub-sections.
- People and the Biosphere– the distribution of biomes and an investigation into the importance of ecosystems to the wellbeing of the planet and its people.
- Forests under threat– a detailed study of a use, biodiversity, management and sustainability of the taiga and tropical rainforests.
- Consuming energy resources- an investigation of the issue of energy security, the use of renewable and non-renewable resources and the management strategies required to move towards a more sustainable future.
How is it taught?
The course builds on the skills, knowledge and understanding that you have gained at KS3. It emphasises the links and interconnections between places in the world. These are explored through varied case studies at the local, national and international scale. You will understand geographical concepts rather than just learning a body of factual knowledge and we use a wide range of teaching approaches to achieve this.
We encourage you to play an active role in your learning by contributing to lessons, giving presentations, participating in decision making activities, solving geographical mysteries, analysing and evaluating data and information and so on.
Your ICT skills are regularly used as a learning and analytical tool and you will be able to use databases, spreadsheets, graphic packages, desk-top publishing, GIS and subject specific software.
How is the course assessed?
Three written examinations each 1 hour & 30 minutes in length using variety of question styles, calculations and including extended writing. The Unit 3 examination is based around the analysis of a resource booklet covering some of the concepts taught across all three units. The final question on this paper will require you to choose one of three proposals outlined in the booklet and to give a reasoned justification for your choice.
What could I do with Geography?
You could carry on with your studies at A Level and then study Geography or a related discipline at university.
Students who have studied geography are really valued in the work place and geography graduates are highly employable. This is because the skills learnt are highly transferable to a wide range of professional occupations. Below is just a sample of the employment opportunities available:
Banking and Commerce
Sustainable Development Project Management
Environment Agency Planners
Local/Central Government Planning
Transport Planning and Management
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.)
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.