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Geography

The Geography Department has three full time teaching staff:

  • Mr N Taylor - Subject Leader and responsibility for all key stages
  • Mr J Bayliffe - Teacher of Geography
  • Mrs Dunk - Teacher of Geography

All staff are geography graduates (Mr Taylor and Mr Bayliffe both are graduates of Aberystwyth University, and Mrs Dunk is a graduate of Worcester University).

Geography is a popular option at both GCSE and A-Level, and conducts fieldwork in Year 10 and Year 12 for both GCSE and A-Level. At KS3, local fieldwork takes place in and around Hagley.

We have also been fortunate to run a Sicily trip for Year 10 geographers for the last 10 years visiting Mount Etna, the Aeolian Islands and the tourist sites of Taormina and Ortigia. We explore the volcanic nature of the island as well as the tourist nature of it’s economy.

 

Year 7

In Year 7, pupils have three lessons over the two weeks, in Year 8 and Year 9 pupils receive one lesson a week. Therefore, pupils have between 10 and 15 lessons per topic.

Skills are a key part of the study of geography. In preparation for further study of the subject, and to support cross-curricular studies, we focus on the key skills in geography throughout key stage 3. These include:

  • Writing skills: Evaluating, comparing, contrasting, describing, explaining and contrasting.
  • Graphical skills: Drawing graphs, interpreting data in all forms, sketches, diagrams and map skills.
  • Knowledge of places: This includes basic geographical knowledge of places, and in depth case studies of processes and events.
  • Geographical Understanding: Explaining processes, application of knowledge, and being able to identify human, physical, social, economic, environmental and sustainable aspects to geographical issues.
 Autumn  Term  Spring Term  Summer Term
 What is Geography? Key skills in Geography and map skills  Coasts  Population and resources

During Year 7, pupils will be assessed by a baseline assessment in the first few weeks of the autumn term. After this pupils are assessed before half-term with an end of topic level assessment. Pupils are expected to complete regular homework’s.

Year 8

 Autumn Term  Spring Term  Summer Term
 The geography of crime  Rivers and Flooding  Ecosystems

Year 9

 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term
 Global Hazards: Tectonic hazards and other global hazards  Globalisation: The geography of India The physical and human geography of the UK 

Key Stage 4

In year 10

At GCSE, we follow the OCR B (9-1 for enquiring minds) course which consists of the following topics:

  • Urban Futures: Never before has the landscape of the planet looked more urban. Cities are growing at unprecedented rates. This topic seeks to explore why, and consider how the global pattern of urbanisation is changing. Urban challenges and opportunities are varied and unique and learners will examine these through studying two cities, one from an advanced country (AC) and one from either an emerging and developing country (EDC) or a low-income developing country (LIDC). Within each city, contrasting ways of life, geographical processes, problems and solutions will be studied in order to gain a holistic understanding of what makes up the urban fabric of each place.
  • Dynamic Development: We live in an unequal world, where the gap between prosperity and poverty is widening. This topic asks learners to consider the changing nature and distribution of countries along the development spectrum before examining the complex causes of uneven development. The future for LIDCs is uncertain and will be investigated through an in-depth study of one country, considering its development journey so far, how its global connections may influence the future and possible alternative development strategies.
  • Changing Climate: Climate change is one of the most controversial global issues of the 21st century. In this topic learners will analyse patterns of climate change from the start of the Quaternary period to the present day, considering the reliability of a range of evidence for the changes. Learners will study the theories relating to natural climate change and consider the influence of humans on the greenhouse effect. Social, economic and environmental impacts of climate change at both local and global scales will be examined.
  • Distinctive Landscapes: The UK contains a diverse and distinct range of landscapes. This topic gives learners the opportunity to unravel the geographical processes that make them distinctive. A deeper understanding of the geomorphic processes that shape river and coastal landscapes is developed and consideration of the human influence on these.
  • Fieldwork: We undertake fieldwork in Birmingham city centre and the Shropshire hills to complete the human and physical fieldwork elements of the course

In year 11

  • Dynamic Development: We live in an unequal world, where the gap between prosperity and poverty is widening. This topic asks learners to consider the changing nature and distribution of countries along the development spectrum before examining the complex causes of uneven development. The future for LIDCs is uncertain and will be investigated through an in-depth study of one country, considering its development journey so far, how its global connections may influence the future and possible alternative development strategies.
  • Changing Climate: Climate change is one of the most controversial global issues of the 21st century. In this topic learners will analyse patterns of climate change from the start of the Quaternary period to the present day, considering the reliability of a range of evidence for the changes. Learners will study the theories relating to natural climate change and consider the influence of humans on the greenhouse effect. Social, economic and environmental impacts of climate change at both local and global scales will be examined.
  • Distinctive Landscapes: The UK contains a diverse and distinct range of landscapes. This topic gives learners the opportunity to unravel the geographical processes that make them distinctive. A deeper understanding of the geomorphic processes that shape river and coastal landscapes is developed and consideration of the human influence on these.
  • Fieldwork:We undertake fieldwork in Birmingham city centre and the Shropshire hills to complete the human and physical fieldwork elements of the course.
  • Resource Reliance: Supplies of food, energy and water are three of the most challenging issues the world faces. Significant numbers of people are resource poor, whilst others consume more than their fair share. This topic investigates emerging patterns, where demand is outstripping supply, before taking the issue of food security and considering the question ‘can we feed nine billion people?’ Learners will investigate what it means to be food secure, how countries try to achieve this and reflect upon the sustainability of strategies to increase food security.
  • Ecosystems: Life on Earth is supported by global ecosystems and the link between human wellbeing and ecosystem wellbeing is vital. This topic seeks to explore the distribution and characteristics of the Earth’s ecological wonders. Learners investigate the two contrasting ecosystems of tropical rainforests and polar environments, exploring physical cycles and processes that make these ecosystems distinctive, the threats posed to their existence and how humans are attempting to manage them for a more sustainable future.

How will I be assessed?

We are studying OCR B (9-1 for enquiring minds)

Homework

Students can expect between 1-2 hours of work to be completed outside of class – about the same as most a-level subjects. Sometimes work will be research based, or answering past exam questions. Other times you may be required to complete and essay.

What fieldwork is involved?

There will be two days of fieldwork in preparation for the geography fieldwork element of the exam; a day in Birmingham completing human fieldwork and a day in Church Stretton completing physical fieldwork.

 

Key Stage 5

At A-Level, we follow the OCR course (code: H841) course which consists of the following topics:

In year 12

  • Landscape Systems: How can coastal landscapes be viewed as systems? How are coastal landforms developed? How do coastal landforms evolve over time as climate changes? How does human activity cause change within coastal landscape systems?
  • Changing Spaces, making places:What’s in a place? How do we understand place? How does economic change influence patterns of social inequality in places? Who are the players that influence economic change in places? How are places created through place making processes?
  • Earths Life support systems: How important are water and carbon to life on Earth? How do the water and carbon cycles operate in contrasting locations? How much change occurs over time in the water and carbon cycles? To what extent are the water and carbon cycles linked?
  • Global Connections: Global Migration - What are the contemporary patterns of global migration? Why has migration become increasingly complex? What are the issues associated with unequal flows of global migration? Powers & borders - What is meant by sovereignty and territorial integrity? What is the role of global governance in conflict? How effective is global governance of sovereignty and territorial integrity?
  • Geographical Enquiry:Investigative geography gives learners the opportunity to undertake an independent investigation which is of particular interest to them, which can be related to any area of the specification. An independent investigation in A Level Geography provides learners with the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills and abilities which are applicable not only to study in Higher Education but also within the world of work and life. The length of the study is 3000-4000 words and we work on this in the summer term of Y12. A residential fieldwork will take place in Somerset to accommodate this.

In year 13

  • Geographical Debates; Geographical debates takes some of the most dynamic issues the planet faces and encourages learners to engage with, reflect on and think critically about them. Learners will gain a deep understanding of their two chosen topics, exploring the interactions between people and the environment:
  • Climate change: Climate change is considered by many to be the planet’s greatest threat. We know several of the likely consequences of climate change, most of which we are beginning to experience now. By the middle of the 21st century it is predicted that 200 million people may be permanently displaced due to rising sea levels, floods and drought. The climate change topic explores variations in the Earth’s climate and how both human and natural factors have influenced this. Learners are encouraged to explore why debates around this issue exist before considering its impact on people and the planet. The future is uncertain and mitigation and adaptation strategies to cope with climate change are evolving. Learners will consider a range of strategies before asking ‘can an international response to climate change ever work?
  • Hazardous Earth: Movement of the Earth’s land masses, from Pangaea to present day are evidence that forces beneath our feet are at work. Seismic and volcanic activity creates hazards as populations have grown and inhabited more of the Earth. Although hazardous, earthquakes and volcanoes create new landforms and can support life on Earth from flora and fauna to populations. As technology has evolved, the capacity to predict and mitigate against tectonic hazard events has improved although the impact of an event can leave communities and countries devastated. Risks from tectonic hazards varies spatially and over time, with continued research and development there may be a point in the future when it will be possible to mitigate against the vulnerability to risk. Currently there are a number of strategies which help the international community, governments and individuals cope with the risks associated with tectonic hazards however there are varying global levels of resilience and ability to adapt to the risks presented.

How will I be assessed?

We are studying OCR A-Level (Code H481)

Homework

Students can expect between 4-5 hours of work to be completed outside of class – about the same as most a-level subjects. Sometimes work will be research based, or answering past exam questions. Other times you may be required to complete and essay.

What fieldwork is involved?

There will be two days of fieldwork in preparation for the Geographical Inquiry unit in year 12 which will be undertaken in Somerset.