The transferable skills learnt in geography enable students to consider questions about people, society, the environment and the planet. All geography lessons require students to identify, assimilate, analyse and communicate data of various kinds. This often entails manipulating maps, diagrams, numbers, graphs or images, using information technology, contributing to structured talk and debate and writing for a variety of audiences.
Key Stage 3
The main focus is on human interaction with the physical environment.
In Year 7 students learn about the local environment in High Wycombe. They then progress to learn about global issues. The weather in High Wycombe is measured and studied, which leads to investigating different climate zones around the world, and how humans adapt to living in them.
Year 8 starts with a fieldwork investigation where students compare their local parks with Booker Recreation Area. This enquiry based learning allows students to investigate the interactions in greater depth and more independently. The second investigation involves students studying shopping habits in High Wycombe by conducting questionnaires and other surveys to gather data. Collecting primary data from their local community is an essential transferable skill, which helps students understand concepts and interactions. The philosophy of starting local to enable understanding continues in the topic of plate tectonics. A hypothetical volcanic eruption in High Wycombe allows students to understand possible effects and responses, which is then built on when studying actual natural disasters. Students also have the opportunity to take part in a trip to The Bay of Naples to study an active volcano, Vesuvius. This trip is open to both year 8 and year 9 students.
In year 9 students are given the opportunity to develop their understanding of physical and human environments further by looking at glaciation through various geological periods and studying climate change. The impacts and consequences of human activity on glacial cycles are evaluated. In addition, the sustainability of resource use, water and population growth are analysed. The impact of tourism on natural environments is investigated first hand on a visit to Wendover Woods.
Key Stage 4
Year 10 students focus initially on Unit 1, which is the physical geography component of the final exam. The emphasis remains on the human interaction with the physical environment. Restless Earth is the first topic, which allows students to study volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in detail. Coasts are also studied and students have opportunities throughout KS4 to visit the coast at Eastbourne, Lulworth Cove, Devon and Wales. Water on the Land covers rivers and how we use water. We look in detail at High Wycombe’s solutions to past problems with water and also focus the controlled assessment on The River Chess, near Chesham. The year ends by starting the Unit 2 part of the syllabus and studying Global Tourism.
Year 11 starts with the controlled assessment, focussing on the changes in the River Chess. This involves preparing the investigation, visiting the river to collect data, analysis of the data and, finally, writing conclusions. Students then study Population Change and Changing Urban Environments.