Our aim is to excite and engage students in the subject, as well as encourage pupils to be curious about the world around them. We do this through the topics that are studied and the variety of modern teaching methods used in the classroom. We like students to take an active part in their learning and encourage group work, debates, research projects, media –based presentations, and of course writing essays to enhance their analytical reasoning.
The department has 2 dedicated geography classrooms that are well equipped with staff computers and projectors. We have access to laptops for the students and encourage the use of IT to enhance the pupil’s understanding, as our subject is dynamic in content and delivery. The department has considerable paper resources and resources on the school intranet.
KS3 (Years 7-9)
In Years 7 to 8, we move from a local to a global scale. The students have the opportunity to explore what is going on around them – looking Watford’s urban geography and local geology. In Year 8, horizons are broadened through regional studies of development and ecosystems in Africa, before moving on to extreme weather and trade in Asia. Both years take trips out to investigate ‘real world’ geographies related to the course. In Year 9, we take a thematic approach covering tectonic hazards, tourism and sustainable development amongst others. Activities allow students to develop decision-making and problem-solving skills, which prepare them well for the GCSE course and life in general. Outside the classroom, there is a weekly Geography club at lunchtime, where exploding volcanoes and trading games feature!
KS4 (Years 10-11)
At GCSE, Geography is an optional subject with excellent results. We follow the Eduqas A specification that gives students the opportunity to think scientifically and creatively about contemporary issues, such as coastal hazards, climate change, migration and trade, making it an interesting and topical course. Fieldwork is an essential part of the GCSE; consequently we go on a residential fieldtrip to Dorset in Year 10. Not only does this help reinforce and enrich the students understanding, but they are assessed on their knowledge of fieldwork methods and results in a final exam (30%). Additionally, outside of the classroom, we hold booster sessions and enter a local schools geography competition with gifted and talented Year 10s.
For more information on the course, visit: http://www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/geography/gcse-a/
KS5 (Years 12 and 13)
For A-Level, we follow the OCR specification, this course is challenging and exciting, deepening and broadens the student’s understanding of topics such as ecosystems; inequality; food security; and climate change mitigation and adaptation. A residential to the coast allows the students to learn ‘in the field’, develop their teamwork skills and collect data for their independent investigation, which they write up back at school (20%). Sixth formers are offered a range of external talks over the year, hosted by the Royal Geographical Society and Berkhampsted School, previous topics have been on: obesity, risk management and the super-rich.
For more information on the course, visit: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-a-level-gce-geography-h081-h481-from-2016/
Extra Curricular Opportunities
The geography department runs trips abroad each year, past locations have been Iceland and the Azores, both are excellent opportunities for students to explore distant places and see geography in action.