At GCSE level, Geography provides the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of the world around them. A balance of theoretical and practical work encourages active involvement in the subject and prepares students for the next steps in their academic journey. During the course students will gain an understanding of global geographical issues and how to apply this understanding to a range of different contexts. The course consists of study in 4 main themes; rivers & coasts, population & settlement, natural hazards and economic development. Students will study ‘real-life examples’ of how people and environments are altered by human and physical events in a range of different settings, ranging from local study to learning of a variety of different cultures and communities across the globe. Students also have the opportunity to attend a wide range of educational visits including a three day residential trip to Norfolk where students complete a river & coasts study giving them valuable insight into the a range of different geographical processes and landforms. The course consists of 2 exams in year 11, the themes paper worth 50% and the SDME paper worth 25%. The remaining 25% is assessed through controlled assessment conducted in the class room, based on the collection of primary data.
Students study two themes throughout year 9. They begin the year by completing work on the natural hazards unit. This covers a range of hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tropical storms and drought. Students’ progress from learning about the scientific causes of natural hazards to looking at key hazard events and their effects on people and the environment. In the second half of the year students then move on to study the population & settlement theme. This includes study of population structure, government policies and the development of settlements across the globe. As part of this theme students study the London docklands redevelopment and have an opportunity to visit the site and London docklands museum. Both of these topics are assessed regularly and form part of the ‘themes paper’ which is examined at the end of year 11 and accounts for 50% of their final grade.
Students study a further theme in year 10 and begin to develop their exam skills for the different components of the course. During semester 1, 2 and 3 students complete work on the rivers & coasts theme. This also coincides with the opportunity to attend the geography residential trip to Norfolk which provides students with a key opportunity to develop their field work skills, undertaking a range of different geographical investigations. During semester 4 students complete work on the ‘sustainable decision making’ paper. This component of the course focusses on their geographical skills and includes rigorous exam preparation as well as a full mock exam at the end of the unit. Lastly, in the summer term students complete their controlled assessment which accounts for the remaining 25% of their final grade. This is based around a geographical investigation and requires students to write a 2000 word report based on primary data.
Students begin year 11 by completing work on the remaining theme, economic development. Once completed, the remainder of year 11 allows students to develop their exam skills, consolidate learning and prepare for their GCSE’s. Class time is divided between the SDME paper and the themes paper, with rigorous home learning to ensure rapid and sustained progress ahead of their exams. Students focus on learning key words, developing their ideas and answering exam questions in the allotted time.