Geography - Chesham Grammar School

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‘Geography helps us think more intelligently about ourselves, how to live and the futures that we may need to face.  It succeeds in doing this because as a subject it holds things together, in place, across the physical and human domains.  It helps us understand the significance of scale and connectedness.' (Professor Lambert) 


The aim of the geography department at CGS is to give every student the knowledge and understanding they need in order to make the right choices about their attitudes and actions in the world where they dwell.  This is to enable them to be able to understand the needs of others, to ‘think locally and act globally’ and to see wonder in any aspect of the natural world around them, wherever they may be.  In seeking to develop this aspect of character we also aim to equip each student with a series of practical skills such as using maps, carrying out investigative work and being able to interpret and analyse data.  As a department we place a strong emphasis on the students being able to investigate and learn about the world for themselves both as individuals and as part of a team.


Key stage 3 geography

In Year 7 the focus is about learning important geographical skills and the geography of the UK in order to give students a good understanding of their own country. Topics include:

Geographical skills including mapwork and data presentation skills, a fieldwork investigation into the local urban environment, a study of the character and formation of British landscapes and the coastal zone.  A fieldwork investigation into the contrasts of the local environment is carried out.

In Year 8 the focus widens to study Europe and the EU and then global issues.  Topics include: Introducing Europe – its physical and political geography including a study of weather and climate;  Who are the Europeans? - a study of population and migration. Students also consider global development issues as well as focussing on the emerging economies of SE Asia and the Amazon rainforest.


GCSE geography (AQA A)

In Year 9 the GCSE course is started.  Students begin by studying the 'Challenge of natural hazards' followed by 'The living world'.  During Year 9, many students choose to continue studying geography.

As a popular option choice, students in Year 10 continue their studies in the topics of 'Physical landscapes in the UK' and 'The challenge of resource management'. Fieldwork includes a local river investigation and two optional residential fieldwork trips to Iceland and Italy are also carried out at the end of Year 10 to study glaciation and volcanoes.

In Year 11 we study 'Urban issues and challenges', which includes a fieldwork investigation, and we complete the course with 'Changing economic world'.

Throughout the course, students are also given multiple opportunities to develop a range of geographical skills and their decision making capabilities surrounding broad geographical issues.

The GCSE culminates in three externally assessed examinations at the end of Year 11.


A level geography (Edexcel)

In Year 12 we follow the Edexcel A level course which covers a challenging range of contemporary themes and equips students with the skills they will need to study geography further at university level.

As a full A level, students focus on four areas of study which are externally examined in papers 1 and 2.  They are also prepared for a synoptic investigation for unit 3 as well as completing an independent investigation as a piece of coursework.


Year 12

The programme of study has a traditional physical/human split and will be delivered by two members of the geography department.

Area of study 1: Topic 1 – Tectonic processes and Hazards & Topic 2 – Landscape systems; coastal landscapes and change

Area of study 2: Topic 3 – Globalisation & Topic 4 – Shaping places; Regenerating places

Students are required to undertake compulsory fieldwork as part of their A level.  Year 12 will undertake at least two days of fieldwork from the required four days within their first year of the A level course.


Year 13

Area of Study 3: Topic 5 – The Water cycle and water insecurity & Topic 6 - The carbon cycle and energy insecurity

Area of study 4: Topic 7 – Superpowers & Topic 8 – Global development and connections

Students will be examined by three externally assessed exam papers at the end of Year 13 as well as one piece of coursework submitted in the spring of Year 13.


Geography enrichment activities 

As well as the regular programme of fieldwork activities the department in recent years has organised fieldwork expedition trips for Years 12 and 13 in conjunction with World Challenge and Outlook Expeditions.  This included a trip in 2009 to study Biodiversity in Tanzania with the biology department.  In the summer of 2011 we completed a geography fieldwork expedition in Iceland which included a four-day trek on the Laugavegur trail in order to investigate glacial and volcanic landscapes.  In the summer of 2013 a group of students successfully completed an expedition to Borneo, exploring the biodiversity of the rainforest.


"Without Geography, you are nowhere" (Anon)

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