Geography enables pupils to understand their place in the world and encourages investigation into the impact human factors have on the world.
Key aims of the department are;
The Year 7 course aims to aims to introduce pupils to core principles of physical, human and environmental geography. Essential geographical skills and techniques are developed, including a range of graphical, presentation and mapping skills using atlases, latitude and longitude maps as well as Ordnance Survey maps. Pupils are taught about the Earth’s natural resources and fragile ecosystems, before engaging with economic geography. Pupils also begin their studies of world regions by exploring the world’s largest country, Russia. A wide range of resources and teaching styles are employed in the classroom, and pupils are encouraged to develop their ability to work independently.
The Year 8 course develops the framework established in Year 7, beginning with the study of how and why the world is unevenly developed. Global population growth and distribution is also explored in depth. The increasingly important and powerful Middle East region is the second world region to be engaged with. Rivers and coasts are also investigated, where pupils study landforms, the causes and effects of flooding, as well as how flood risks can be managed. The ways in which humans can affect the environment is also considered, looking at a range of contemporary global issues. Geographical skills and techniques are integrated into the course, with increasing complexity. Pupils develop the range of skills necessary to enable them to outline an argument and are encouraged to identify the skills involved in decision making.
In Year 9 an emphasis is placed on the global nature of modern geography, both physical and human. The course ranges from variations in development and standards of living across Africa, through globalisation and the development of China to the effects of climate change on a global scale. Tectonic Hazards are also explored in depth. Pupils develop an understanding of different values and attitudes towards contemporary issues, combined with an appreciation that peoples’ opinions vary according to their circumstances and experiences. Skills enabling pupils to outline & criticise arguments are developed, as well as an understanding of how difficult decision making can be.
For GCSE the AQA Specification is followed, with Physical Geography, Human Geography and Skills exams at the end of Year 11. Fieldwork is an essential element of the GCSE course, allowing the pupils to experience several aspects of physical and human geography first hand, as well as working independently to collect data for their Skills exam. The GCSE course allows the opportunity to develop communication skills, graphical and cartographical skills, technological skills (including ICT and GIS) and interpersonal skills through debate and discussion, combined with literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills. It provides opportunities for personalised and independent learning, and gives pupils a clear overall view of the world in the first part of the 21st century.
Fieldwork remains central to our teaching throughout the school. Every Geography student should expect at least one fieldtrip per academic year. Key Stage Three involves a range of established day trips. These include studies of coastal landforms and tourism in Llandudno, measuring cross-sections of the River Alyn in Loggerheads Country Park and a visit to Chester Zoo to study ecosystem diversity and management. Pupils also complete investigations into the school’s micro-climate and quality of environment. A range of fieldtrips also occur during Key Stage Four, where glacial landforms of Snowdonia and the quality of Chester’s urban environment are investigated. Residential field trips play a vital role in the preparation of students at A Level, giving the students essential hands-on experience of primary data collection. The Department also regularly travels further afield to experience different environments and cultures first-hand. Recent destinations have included the south-west of Iceland, Sorrento and Mount Vesuvius as well as The Netherlands.
The Department currently occupies three specialist rooms, two of which contain interactive whiteboards. Each Geography room is equipped with a computer, printer, video/DVD player, amplifier, wall-mounted speakers and multi-media projector, with blackout blinds fitted to all windows. Specialist text books are issued to all year groups, and are used in conjunction with a wide-range of additional text books, ICT and audio-visual materials.