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 in Britain and globally, such as how we respond to the impact of climate change, or be better prepared for natural hazards. Geographical research informs debate and helps us navigate through the world’s geographically complex people, places and environments.
The Geography Department comprises seven members of staff who also have responsibilities and 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 broadly follow the ‘Geog.’ texts. Topics include map skills, the UK, rivers and flooding, coasts, weather, crime, energy and people and resources.
We begin teaching the GCSE course in Third Form and nearly three quarters of the year group have opted for GCSE Geography in recent years. We aim to encourage students and hope the numbers reflect the positive approach to teaching and learning by all the Department. Tracking and monitoring enables effective support for individuals.
The Geography curriculum and syllabi has changed with first teaching from September 2016. We are studying the AQA GCSE and GCE A-level courses:
For 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.
Results for 2017 include 31% at A* and 74% at A*-A at GCSE. For A2, 94% of grades were A*-A. One student achieved the highest mark in the country for the OCR A-level and received a Certificate of Excellence and prize from the Royal Geographical Society. This year, nine 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 and 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
We are the first school in the country to be awarded the Met Office Metmark for quality of weather teaching. ‘Hits’ on the website indicate interest well beyond the RGS community. In March 2017, we hosted a conference in association with the Royal Meteorological Society on the issue of “Climate change; the burning issue of our generation.” Schools from throughout the South-East attended to hear a panel of experts, including a Nobel prize winner, talk about human disturbance of the carbon cycle. The Weather Club is currently planning its second high altitude balloon launch; the first achieved an altitude of 100,000 feet, sufficient for photos to show the curvature of the earth. We have weather stations on the main school site and at our Hartswood playing fields.
Visit the school’s weather site at:
Course Summary and Specifications
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