The study of Geography stimulates an interest and a sense of wonder about places. It helps young people make sense of a complex and dynamically changing world. It explains where places are, how places and landscapes are formed, how people and their environment interact and how a diverse range of economies, societies and environments are interconnected. It builds on students’ own experiences to investigate places at all scales, from personal to the global.
From the start of the Remove year (Year 7) to the end of the Lower IVth (Year 8), the Department follows the national curriculum to Key Stage 3 in Geography. Each year group receives two periods of Geography a week. A compulsory field trip, usually taking place for Remove in the summer term, presently investigates fluvial geomorphology and is an essential part of Key Stage 3. The Geography Department realises that Citizenship is deeply embedded in the geographical content of the national curriculum to Key Stage 3 and therefore seeks at all times to promote Citizenship during the three year course.
At GCSE level, in the Vth form (Year 10), although an optional subject, Geography is highly popular, with typically some 25 pupils beginning the course. The department follows the Edexcel Specification B. A non-residential field trip to obtain the primary data, essential for the coursework element of the specification, occurs in the summer term of the Vth form. Recently, this has been to Exmoor National Park, but in the summer of 2011 we shall be investigating landforms on the Isle of Wight. A further, non-residential field trip is also often undertaken to help in the understanding of Unit 3–Geographical Decisions. In 2011, the department took the UVth Form (Year 13) to visit the north coast of Scotland, between Inverness and Aberdeen, as part of their investigations into the future of the Scottish fishing industry.
The department prides itself in its ability to ensure that all the students who opt to take GCSE Geography reach their potential, not only in geographical skills and knowledge, but also in the wider key skills that are essential to any future career path.
At AS and A2 level, the department builds on the foundations laid down in the GCSE course. Two non-residential field trips are undertaken in Year 12, encompassing the demands of the Geographical Investigations unit. These field trips examine the issues surrounding the management of the Isle of Wight, as well as the causes and possible solutions to the inequalities found in the South Downs National Park. As with the GCSE course, there is often a field trip undertaken to help in the understanding of the synoptic element of the Contested Planet module; recently this has involved field trips to the Cairngorms, as well as to the Scottish Borders.
There is a dedicated Geography Room, complete with text and video library. CD ROMs and DVDs of important video clips are provided for all examination classes and all resources are available on the School network.