Geography is one of the most exciting and important academic disciplines, and both GCSE and A level courses are very popular at Kingsley.
It is highly relevant for students today because it promotes an understanding of the interactions between people and environments, and focuses on the study of places. It provides an opportunity to integrate ideas from the humanities, social sciences and physical sciences and as such it can be studied in conjunction with a range of other subjects. The study of geography rarely leads to a specific area of employment, yet geography graduates are welcomed into a very wide range of jobs.
We aim to make the study of geography interesting, relevant, rewarding and most of all fun. We use a variety of approaches; particularly enquiry based methods and active learning. Girls are encouraged to use key terminology in their writing and to refer in detail to places we study. Geographical skills are developed as an integral part of the course throughout the key stages. All age groups undertake fieldwork and a residential visit is organised for both GCSE and AS level students.
Key Stage 3: Years 7-9
In Year 7 after learning OS map skills girls look at Britain and consider its natural and manmade features as well as population distribution and weather. They look at weathering and the water cycle as basic physical processes. A field trip is undertaken to develop orienteering skills and geographical techniques.
The Year 8 syllabus builds upon understanding of concepts and processes with a focus on the idea of sustainability. Girls consolidate understanding of physical processes by looking at coasts. The unit on Africa gives further place knowledge. We consider the concept of resource use and focus on China as a case study. The link between the environment and people is explored through the study of global biomes where we also further consider the concept of sustainable management.
In Year 9 we consolidate and deepen understanding of global processes and issues with units on plate tectonics and globalisation, focusing on India. A trip to Cadbury World consolidates understanding of globalisation and the level of interdependence between places and the role of transnational corporations in the world today. Girls can develop more complex skills during a unit on crime.
Key Stage 4: GCSE
We follow the OCR A syllabus at GCSE. The course contains a balance between physical and human geography as well as UK and wider world based topics. There are three examinations taken at the end of the course; Living in the UK Today, The World Around Us and Geographical Skills.
Fieldwork is compulsory and is assessed in the final examination. Students undertake a residential field trip to Nettlecombe FSC in the June of Year 10 in order to investigate river, coastal and urban processes. They then write up one human and one physical investigation. Units covered in this syllabus include UK landscapes, People of the UK, Environmental Challenges in the UK, People of the Planet, Ecosystems of the Planet and finally Environmental Threats to the Planet.
Key Stage 5: A Level
We follow the OCR A level syllabus in order to build upon the skills and knowledge gained at GCSE. Compulsory units include; ‘Changing Spaces, Making Places’ and ‘Water and Carbon Cycles’. Students also study units covering plate tectonics, glaciation, human rights, global migration and finally the geography of disease. Our Year 12 students complete a fieldtrip to Blencathra field centre near Keswick where they experience a variety of human, physical and statistical techniques. This develops their ability to devise, plan and carry out fieldwork investigations in preparation for their Non Examined Assessment (coursework) which is worth 20% of the final A level marks and is completed by Christmas of Year 13
As this subject is so relevant to today’s world we encourage girls to keep in touch with current affairs either through watching the news, reading newspapers or online sources. We participate in residential trips abroad such as West Coast USA in 2011 and 2015 and Iceland in 2013 and 2017.