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Our geography curriculum allows our students to have a greater understanding of the world and the people who live in it. The study of Geography demands the understanding of human and physical interactions on the planet, and the role and responsibilities of different groups and players to manage and maintain it for a more sustainable global future. We look at both physical challenges facing the world today, from the formation and changing of our natural landscapes, to their management and exploitation by humans and the contrasting views of people on these issues. We also look at human geography and how it shapes the cultures, populations and politics of the world through migration, globalisation and international agreements.

Year 7

In Year 7, geographers learn the foundational skills required for success in understanding the world. We start off Year 7 looking at simple map skills, which will be referenced constantly through later years when comparing issues in a range of countries. Year 7 also look at global development, how countries are helped or hindered by their physical geography and geopolitical relationships with others and how this affects them. Towards the end of the year, students start to look at their first part of physical geography – the study of rivers. This gets quite scientific, and it requires their understanding of natural process and explaining how they form the landscapes and landforms we see today.

Year 8

Our students begin Year 8 by looking at geological time and how land is formed and destroyed through tectonic processes. They look at hazards associated with this like volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis and get a chance to learn about real life case studies where people have been affected by them. This allows students to apply their understanding from Year 7 of location and development to the context of these tectonic hazards. In Year 8, students study population and migration, considering the real-life examples that are happening around the world.

Year 9

Students begin their Year 9 studies by looking at the most important geographical issue – the climate crisis. This is a global issue which is very much a geographical problem, involving an understanding of scientific knowledge and political challenges and competing priorities facing world leaders today. We look at the greenhouse effect, how humans are making the situation worse and what is being done about it. It is an opportunity for students to be able to engage in current debate. Students also look at challenges facing ‘emerging economies’ today, reasons for their rapid growth and how and why these countries are becoming more powerful. Students develop their ability to debate and discuss geographical issues in a meaningful way, with the real-world knowledge which sets them up well for continued study at Key Stage 4.

Year 10

In Year 10, students start to apply their foundational learning from Key Stage 3 to more complicated and in-depth case studies like that of India, Mexico City and Birmingham. They get the chance to see how the history and physical geography of a place has helped to shape it today, and the challenges these places face as a result. They also get the chance to look at the physical challenges facing the UK in their landscapes, with a focus on river flooding and coastal management. This will be followed up with a chance to go on a field trip to carry out geographical research on the landscape – with the most recent year groups having gone on day trips to a river to measure and calculate variations downstream. This is an opportunity for students to see the combined application of maths, science and geography and see what geographical research looks like at an academic level.

Year 11

Students in Year 11 continue their studies of both human and physical topics in geography. We look at weather hazards and climate around the world, again comparing how and why these vary in different places, as well as the importance of human and physical geography and how far these can be managed. Students also consider important environmental issues around the sustainability of the exploitation of the Earth’s resources, and the role of different ecosystems in maintaining the global balance.

Key Stage 5

Key Stage 5 geography is divided into human geography and physical geography. In Year 12 human geography, students learn about the roles of a range of international groups like the United Nations, various trade blocs and how they have allowed the world to become better connected through globalisation. We also go on to look at the benefits and disadvantages of globalisation and the rising powers of different ‘superpower’ countries. Their final unit in Year 12 looks at the impact of globalisation on the UK and how it has led to the regeneration of various places across the country. We look at how different social groups and players plan and measure the success of these projects and how far we could deem them as successfully improving these areas.  In Year 13, human geographers go on to look at the challenges of our international world, with blurred borders and identities and how this can affect global politics, individual perspectives and identity as well as potential for conflict.

In physical geography, students start Year 12 by learning about the various tectonic hazards affecting large swathes of the world’s population. It is a chance for them to understand how far governments can control the nature of the Earth and protect their people, as well as going into the legality and theory behind insurance law in these instances. Students then look at coastal landscapes and how these vary across the world at the cost and benefit of the people living there. Students practise coherently forming arguments and debating within the confines of what appears to be a simple issue as they understand the importance of perspective. Finally, in Year 13 students get a chance to understand the water cycle, the carbon cycle and their implications on the present and the future of our planet. We consider the sustainability of our future and weigh up possible solutions being presented to world leaders today.

Finally, students complete a non-examined assessment – a piece of coursework on their chosen topics, based on their own scientific, geographic research. It is a chance for students to collect data on a topic they are passionate about and practise the academic writing that will be expected of them.

The course prepares our students well for a career in geographical sciences, social policy, politics or any course that demands academic research skills, alongside an understanding of the interactions of humans and science.


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