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Geography Department

Accommodation

Geography is taught in two new specialist rooms with access to a study area containing a separate suite of computers and geographical resources.

All classrooms are fully resourced with a wide range of up to date materials which are effectively deployed to enable high quality teaching and learning to take place. The specialist rooms contain interactive white boards which are used to enhance the visual and audio aspects of lessons via the use of powerpoints, internet and specialist geographical software. Students have the opportunity as part of their lessons to utilise this equipment to develop and present their own ideas.

Each classroom has internet access which assists students in keeping up to date with the latest geographical developments around the world. The staff also utilise ICT resources to record student attainment and track individual student progress in order to personalise teaching and learning.

The department also utilises other facilities such as the Learning Resource Centre where students can access a wide variety of books specially selected to support the geography curriculum and ICT suites where students can gain access to GIS and data handling software.

There are display boards in every classroom which show outstanding examples of students work and information that supports work studied in all aspects of the curriculum. The displays are renewed on a regular basis and are used to create a stimulating working environment.

Within the department corridor extra display space is set aside to provide students with up to date information about what is happening within the subject area students may contribute to the display with their information or examples of outstanding work which they wish to share with others. The space is also used to display the results of student voice questionnaires and to celebrate the academic success of students within the department.


Geography Matters notice board inside main entrance

  • Topical issues in Geography
  • Highlighting geographical skills
  • Geography exam results
  • Geography in the news
  • GA Quiz certificate
  • Revision class notice

What is on offer at each key stage

Geography is taught to all students in KS3 for four 50 minute lessons every two weeks. Teaching groups are determined by ability in Years 7, 8 and 9.

The subject maintains its popularity at KS4 with two option groups of GCSE students. Here, it is taught for six lessons every 2 weeks and covers the AQA syllabus, specification A. We teach both Human and Physical Geography topics and include a piece of controlled assessment worth 25%.

Leisure and tourism GCSE is also taught to one option group for 6 lessons every 2 weeks and covers the AQA syllabus. The course involves combining a knowledge of tourist destinations and an understanding of how the Leisure and tourism industry opporates.

Geography is also offered at Advance Level. The department follows the AQA syllabus for both AS and A2. In Year 12 we currently study Rivers, Coasts, Population and Food supply and incorporate a residential fieldtrip to the Yorkshire Dales. In Year 13 we study Plate Tectonics, Ecosystems and World Cities, including an in depth study and field visit to investigate redevelopment in Birmingham city centre.

Departmental aims and expected outcomes

Geography is taught in a lively and engaging way that helps students to understand their place in the world. The department is dynamic and forward thinking with both excellent examination results and strong and positive staff-student relationships. We believe in combining high quality teaching and learning which meets the needs of our students with a genuine desire to instil in every student a lasting curiosity about the world in which they live that will remain with them long after they have left the school.
We believe that geography makes a major contribution to our physical, intellectual, social and emotional development. It is a subject that provides locational knowledge and understanding of spatial relations - how places are interconnected - whilst enabling students to develop a knowledge and understanding of current events - from local to global.

The geography department aims to generate high attainment by maximising every child's potential. Students are encouraged to develop their unique talents by providing opportunities for independence, creative thinking, team work and developing curiosity and resourcefulness.

Students are able to study both human geography and physical geography in the classroom and through field studies. ICT is a strong feature of courses too, using the internet to find out about other places in the world. Students take geography as part of the KS3 curriculum and can progress to GCSE at KS4 and A level at KS5.

The department has adopted a skills based approach to learning with a clear focus on how the students are learning and developing skills that can be transferred across different subject areas such as numeracy, literacy, problem solving, thinking skills and enquiry. The department also strives to ensure that all students know the level they are working at and what they need to do to improve their work to the next level.

Geography is a subject that challenges and empowers all young people to become active global citizens. And most of all, we believe that geography should be challenging, topical, motivating and fun!

Extra Curricular activities

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme

The Geography Department also encourages students to utilise their geographical skills in participating in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme.

The Bronze Award is currently offered to Year 10 students and is held once a week throughout the year at lunchtimes and after school in the summer term.

Participants undertake a commitment for up to 6 months to develop a skill, participate in physical recreation, volunteer their services and complete an expedition in an unfamiliar location over 2 days.

Participants are taught a range of transferable skills which aim to develop them socially, emotionally and physically.

The Bronze group currently undertake day walks in and around Bewdley, Highgate Common, Kinver and Bridgnorth. Expedition camps are organised in the Long Mynd near Church Stretton and Hampton Loade near Bridgnorth.

The Gold Award is currently offered to any interested member of the Sixth Form in association with the Stourbridge Award Group who oversee the expedition element of the course. The department ensures that all participants receive the support that they need in selecting appropriate activities in order to complete the award successfully.

Further information about The Duke of Edinburgh's Award can be found at www.theaward.org

Links with The Black Country Geographical Society

The Geography Department organises a team to participate in the annual Geographical Society quiz for Year 8 students. Members of the team are expected to have good locational knowledge of the world, be aware of current geographical events and be able to identify people and their cultures from around the world.

In the sixth form students attend evening lectures given by the GA on various topics related to geography. It provides students with access to expert and up to date knowledge about their subject and the ability to converse with university lecturers.

GCSE students in the summer term attend a GA conference aimed at developing and stretching their knowledge and skills. The focus of the conference changes each year but, topics such as natural disasters and how we cope with them and the development gap between rich and poor countries have already proved very popular.

Key stage 3, 4, 5 provision.

Key stage 3

Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 follow a broad and balanced course. There is emphasis on skills, especially the development of thinking skills, and students have the opportunities to investigate a wide range of people, places and environments at different scales around the world. They learn about geographical patterns and processes and how political, economic, social and environmental factors affect contemporary geographical issues. They also learn how places and environments are interdependent. They carry out geographical enquiry inside and outside the classroom. In doing this, they identify geographical questions, collect and analyse written and statistical evidence supporting them as they develop their own opinions. They use a wide range of geographical skills, and resources such as maps and satellite images.

Year 7 Units of work include
  • Mapskills
  • The place where I live
  • Weather and climate
  • Antarctica
  • Tourism in SW England
  • The changing Black Country

As part of their year 7 studies students conduct local fieldwork to investigate traffic issues with the Dudley area.

Year 8 Units of work include
  • Rivers and flooding
  • Hurricanes
  • Deserts and drought
  • Living in the EU: A study of Italy
  • Population and migration
  • The geography of sport

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

Students in year 10 and 11 currently study AQA Specification A 4030.

Year 9 is part of Key Stage 4 GCSE and is used as a foundation year in which to build skills for the GCSE
Units of work include
  • Volcanoes and earthquakes
  • Japan
  • Changing coastlines
  • Tropical rainforests
  • The fashion industry
  • The geography of crime
Year 10: Unit 1 Physical Geography
  • Examination in June of year 10
  • 37.5% of the total marks
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Students will be required to answer three questions, one on each topic studied.
  • Topics to be studied include: Rivers, Coasts and Plate tectonics.
Fieldwork

As part of their studies Year 10 students visit Carding Mill Valley in Shropshire to investigate river landforms and processes and to collect data for their controlled assessment.

Year 11: Unit 2 Human Geography
  • Examination in June of year 11
  • 37.5% of the total marks
  • 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Students will be required to answer three questions, one on each topic studied.

Topics to be studied include: Population, Settlement and Tourism.

Students will also complete one piece of controlled assessment on a local fieldwork investigation worth 25% of their total marks which will be entered in June of year 11.

Key Stage 5 (Advanced level)

Students in year 12 study the AQA AS Level Specification and students in year 13 study the AQA A2 Level specification

In year 12 all students study the core units of Rivers, Population and the optional units of Coasts and Food Supply.

In each area of study students will consider the values and attitudes of decision makers, consider their own values and attitudes and support their learning of ideas through the study of specific case studies.

Students also develop a variety of geographical skills, which broaden and deepen existing knowledge and be employed with a greater degree of independence.

Year 12 AS examinations taken in June
  • Geog1 Physical and human core units 2 hour written paper
  • Geog2 Geographical skills 1 hour written paper

As part of their course year 12 students undertake a week long residential fieldtrip. Previous locations have included The Isle of Arran, Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and North Wales.

During the week various topics related to the course are investigated including Fluvial geomorphology, Biogeography urban and rural morphology and Industry.

Year 13 A2 examinations taken in June
  • Geog3 Contemporary Geographical Issues - 2 hour 30 minutes written examination
  • Geo4a Geography Fieldwork Investigation - 1 hour 30 minutes written examination

The exam consists of structured short and extended questions based on candidates' fieldwork investigation and fieldwork skills.

As part of the course year 13 students undertake fieldwork in Birmingham city centre to investigate the impacts of regeneration and redevelopment initiatives.