Head of Department: Sarah Morley
"Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future. It is a living, breathing subject. It is dynamic and relevant.”
- Michael Palin
We are a large and enthusiastic team of Geography specialists who are passionate about sharing our love of the subject. We recognise that fieldwork is an integral part of Geography and we endeavour to give all students the opportunity to access learning outside of the classroom. Geography is a popular subject at Ivybridge with strong uptake at GCSE and A Level.
We aim to provide students with a geographical education which is up to date, relevant to their lives and encourages independent learning. The curriculum is designed to encourage achievement in all students of all abilities. The Department believes students should enjoy Geography and be exposed to a variety of teaching and learning styles. Through enjoyment of the subject they will be encouraged to aim for the highest standards in all that they do.
Geography provokes and answers questions about the natural and human worlds. Students encounter different societies and cultures. This should stimulate them to think about their own place in the world, their values, British values and their rights and responsibilities to other people and the environment. It develops knowledge of places and environments throughout the world, as well as key geographical skills such as an understanding of maps and a range of investigative and problem solving skills which will help prepare students for adult life. Geography is also a focus within the curriculum for understanding and resolving issues about the environment and future development.
“Learning about today’s world; looking after tomorrows”
Key Stage 3
The curriculum that we offer at KS3 is topical and relevant and gives the students a good understanding of the world around them. At Key Stage 3 the students receive 4 hours of Geography lessons a fortnight. During these lessons we ensure that the students cover a variety of topics.
- World geography
- Map skills
- Restless earth
- Granite landscapes
- Population and migration
- Rivers and flooding
We have also embedded a practical element into KS3 with fieldwork for all students in both Years 7 and 8. At present we take the Year 7 students onto Dartmoor and the Year 8 students to Dawlish Warren. These fieldtrips give the students the opportunity to see ideas discussed in the classroom come to life as well as develop their enquiry skills.
Key Stage 4
Geography is a popular option at GCSE, all the classes are taught by subject specialists. The course is taught over three years. As well as subject content the students are taught skills throughout the course such as map skills, enquiry skills and data handling. There is the opportunity for local fieldwork in each of the years. At present we also run an enrichment trip to Catalonia in Year 10.
The current Year 11 students are following the AQA A specification. The topics we study are:
- The Restless Earth
- Challenge of Weather and Climate
- Water on the Land
- The Coastal Zone
- Population Change
- Changing Urban Environments
The students sit 2 exams each worth 37.5% at the end of Year 11 and the remaining 25% is made up of their Controlled Assessment which they complete at the start of Year 11. The exams are 1 hour and 30 minutes each.
The current Year 9 and 10 students are following the AQA specification. The topics that we study are:
Paper 1: Living with the physical environment
- The challenge of natural hazards
- The living world
- Physical landscapes in the UK
Paper 2: Challenges in the human environment
- Urban issues and challenges
- The changing economic world
- The challenge of resource management
Paper 1 and 2 are each worth 35% and the exams are 1 hour 30 minutes.
Paper 3: Geographical applications
In this paper worth 30% of the overall grade the students will be assessed on their fieldwork and geographical skills. We will offer the students a day of fieldwork in each year. The paper will also include an issue evaluation exercise which is based on a pre-release booklet that we will have studied in class. The exam is 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Key Stage 5
Our uptake at A Level is strong for Geography with many students keen to build on their GCSE. We have chosen an exciting and contemporary course which deals with many current issues and helps the students to gain an understanding of the world around them and the issues that it faces.
Our current Year 13 are studying Edexcel geography.
In Year 13 they are studying for 2 exams:
- Contested Planet (60%, 2 hours 30 minutes). The aim of this unit is to help the students develop an understanding of geographical concepts and processes, to recognise the challenges of sustainability and the implications for their own and others’ lives.
For this they study 6 topics: Energy security, Water conflicts, Biodiversity under threat, Superpower geography, Bridging the development gap and Technological fix.
- Geographical Research (40%, 1 hour and 30 minutes). The aim of this unit is to encourage students to develop their research skills, a useful skill to develop before university. The unit gives them the opportunity to be exposed to a range of geographical information in a variety of forms, namely books, journals, video and the internet. They will learn to assimilate information and to evaluate different sources.
In Year 12 the students will be studying the new Edexcel A Level. The course recognises that we live in an ever changing world and so it focuses on fundamental processes, reflects on the world around us and encourages the students to foster an understanding of what could impact its future.
For the A level qualification the students will sit three exams and complete an individual investigation.
Paper 1 – 30%, 2 hours and 15 minutes
- Tectonic Processes and Hazards
- Landscape Systems, Processes and Change
- Water Cycle and Water Insecurity
- Carbon Cycle and Energy Security
Paper 2 – 30%, 2 hours and 15 minutes
- Shaping Places
- Global Development and Connections
Paper 3 -20%, 2 hours and 15 minutes
This paper will be based on a geographical issue within a place-based context. It will be rooted in two or more of the compulsory content areas.
Individual Investigation – 20%
For this the students will produce a 3000-4000 word written report. The students will be able to design a question which relates to any aspect of the content. They will need to show evidence of primary data collection as well as the use of secondary data. It will give the students the opportunity to develop their analytical, evaluative and written skills.
During their A Level course the students will complete at least 4 days of fieldwork. This will be made up of both day trips in the local area and also a residential trip to Dorset.
Geography and your future
Geography is valued by universities as an A Level choice as Geographers have had the chance to develop a wide range of skills throughout their course. If you choose to continue your Geography studies at university, Geography graduates have one of the highest rates of graduate employment (RGS). The broad skills base also means that Geography is looked favourably upon by employers.
‘Geographers enter a very wide range of career areas and put simply there is no such thing as a geography job, there are jobs that geographers do. Studying geography provides you with valuable skills and a firm base for life-long learning.’
- Royal Geographical Society