Encouraging practical enquiry skills that underpin knowledge and understanding of geography.
Geography is an academically robust subject which spans the social and physical sciences and promotes a lifelong interest and fascination in how the world works. A Level Geography is recognised by the Russell Group of universities as a ‘facilitating subject’ supporting applications for a range of undergraduate courses.
Studying Geography helps us to understand many of the issues we face locally, nationally and globally, such as how we respond to the impact of climate change, how to prepare for natural hazards, or how we address inequality. Geographical research informs debate and helps us navigate through the world’s geographically complex people, places and environments.
The Geography department staff also contribute in a variety of other areas of the school, in particular sport, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, the House system and in pastoral roles. The department prides itself on its good working environment to which everyone contributes. Most of the teaching takes place in the four dedicated Geography classrooms, each with a range of resources and facilities. Additional ICT facilities with support are available to all staff and students at numerous locations throughout the school.
Geography is taught as a core subject at KS3 (from First to Second Form), and as an option for GCSE and A Level. At KS3, we use our own resources and booklets to cover topics including map skills, the UK, rivers and flooding, coasts, weather, crime, population and resources. Extensive use is made of technology to support learning.
We begin teaching the AQA GCSE course in Third Form with four or five sets taught by subject specialists. We aim to encourage students and numbers reflect the positive approach to teaching and learning by all the Department. Tracking and monitoring enables effective support for individuals; everyone undertakes revision and testing at regular intervals. Fieldwork is a compulsory element requiring at least 2 days off site to visit a variety of site and to measure and record data. GCSE results for 2019 include 60% Levels 8 or 9 and 80% from Levels 7 to 9.
For AQA A Level, teachers have the opportunity to follow their particular subject specialisms at Sixth Form Level, with the teaching broadly divided into human and physical topics. We have two or three sets which have eight periods of Geography per week. A minimum of four days of fieldwork off site is required and visits are geared towards the 20% fieldwork project forming 20% of the A Level exam. For A2, 53% of grades were A or A* and 84% were A* to B. This year, six students are applying for Geography at universities including Cambridge, Durham, Exeter, Manchester, Southampton and St Andrews.
All geographers contribute equally to fieldwork opportunities, including residential trips for GCSE and A Level. Recent visits have included the Isle of Arran, Brixton, Camber dunes, China for the Sixth Form, Iceland for Third to Fifth Forms and day trips to:
- Cuckmere Haven, Sussex
- Siemens Crystal and London Docklands
- River Tillingbourne at Shere
- Manor Royal business park
- Reigate Heath
- The River Mole and Gatwick flood defences
- University of London case study conference
RGS is the first school in the country to be awarded the Met Office Metmark for quality of weather teaching. We have weather stations on the main school site and at our Hartswood playing fields. Other opportunities beyond the curriculum include GeogSoc, a fortnightly meeting open to all students and covering topical debate and issues. Recent offerings from Sixth Formers and occasional outside speakers have included ethical sourcing of food, sustainable urban architecture and the spread of Covid-19. We were also fortunate this year to welcome Tim Marshall, author of Prisoners of Geography, to give a talk on Divided; why we are living in an age of walls.
Visit the school’s weather site at:
Course Summary and Specifications
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