“Without Geography – You are Nowhere!”

“Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future” – Michael Palin

Geography helps you to make sense of the world around you. It is hands on, it is relevant and it is fun. It is very practical with opportunities to learn new skills such as modern computer based mapping (called GIS), map skills, interpreting photographs, fieldwork skills, presenting, role play and debating techniques. You will improve your literacy through your report writing and written work and make practical use of your numeracy skills when you interpret data and construct graphs. Fieldwork, or working outside the classroom is a really important part of geography. Whether you go locally or get the chance to travel further away it will be a brilliant opportunity to experience some of the things you have learnt about in class, see things differently and of course have fun. We take our local environment seriously and give time to exploring all its glory. We also run trips to inspire the geography in a wider context, these go to Iceland and Italy exploring the restless nature of our planet. Geography doesn’t only study what’s going on now, but we put this in context of where we’ve come from and where the world is going to. We don’t shy away from the tough questions, the moral obligations or the difference that YOU can make! In fact, we celebrate it!

In Form 1 we study our local geography here at Buckswood and learn how to navigate our way around with a map. We have strong links with the Ordnance Survey and have workshops to demonstrate the use of these skills in the world of work, and students use surveying equipment to plot part of the school on an OS map. Africa could be the world’s next super power with all its wealth of natural resources. We look at what is holding back Africa’s development. We also study the sustainability of the world’s resources with a focus on clean reliable drinking water, as well as how rivers cut their way from the mountain top to the sea. We finish the year with a section on UK geography, what is it that make us unique?

In Form 2, we explore the sustainability of urban living, and why towns are just so attractive to much of the world. We focus on Asia and the contrasts found within this vast continent. We spend time outside learning how to measure and predict (accurately!) the weather! This is a vital key to living successfully in any country, but particularly in the UK as it has one of the most changeable weather patterns in the world. We explore why and how we can manage this. We explore the myths around global warming, and what our part to play in this is. We do a local study of our spectacular coast line and explore the sheer power of the waves. And finally we use GIS (Geographical Information Systems) to analyse crime patterns in the London. Based on our computer based map work, we explore ways to effectively manage targeted areas.

In Form 3, we explore issues surrounding population growth and how countries can sustainably manage their population. We spend time learning about the current Syrian refugee crisis and talk with our local MP about our concerns. We investigate natural hazards with a focus on landslides, wildfires and avalanches; what, where, when, why, how! We look at how they can be sustainably managed. We study globalisation; how we link to the world around us with a particular focus on the food we eat, the clothes we buy, the water we use and our ecological footprints. We ask questions about what changes are we morally obligated to make in our lifestyle to help protect the earth? We learn how heat is moved around the planet and what impact this has on global biomes. We contrast the tundra with our local temperate forest and spend a day learning why our woodlands are so precious. We campaign for their protection and take on a personal investigation into our local area with the skills and knowledge we have gained thus far.

Across the GCSE years, we study a good mix of topics such as urban and population issues, energy and water, rivers and hazards to name but a few. We follow CIE Geography (0460) which includes a written project investigating our local coastline and the changes happening there. And we spend time testing hypotheses in our local environment. The course will give you the chance to get to grips with some of the big questions which affect our world and understand the social, economic and physical forces and processes which shape and change our world. We hope to introduce a residential fieldtrip next year to Barcelona to explore settlement issues in a different context combined with exploring our local area for a comparison.

In A Level we follow OCR and study coastal systems, changing spaces; making places and disease dilemmas in the AS year. We have a residential fieldtrip to the Isle of Cumbrae where we spend time out in the beautiful Scottish countryside exploring the coast and place creation. We make full use of fieldtrips in our local area as well, with trips down the coast to hone our investigative skills and to the places around us. This exam board focuses on enquiry led learning and we love that, and get out to investigate all we can! In the A2 year we broaden our study with units on human rights and governance, migration issues and earth hazards. Alongside these studies, students complete their own independent investigation which accounts for 20% of their final grade. This is an excellent opportunity to explore an area of the course that has caught their attention and investigate what it really means in a small defined context. It is superb preparation for writing a dissertation at university.