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Ivybridge Community College

Ivybridge Community College


Head of Department: Millie Harris

"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 all live our lives geographically.  Planet Earth is our home.  It is awesome, diverse, inspiring and ever changing.  As a Department, we are committed to encouraging students to participate fully in the excitement, enjoyment and challenge of this dynamic world.  We aim to draw on personal experience, to help students better understand the places they live in, why they matter and how they are connected to a globalised world.

We are committed to teaching students about the physical, cultural, economic and political spheres to illuminate key issues for the present and the future.  We aim for all our students to appreciate the diversity of landscapes, peoples and cultures so our students are 21st century responsible global citizens, enabling them to investigate and to think critically and creatively about the complexities of places, and different views and feelings relating to places.

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.

 “Learning about today’s world; looking after tomorrow’s”

Key Stage 3 

The curriculum that we offer at KS3 is diverse and inspiring.  It aims to engage students in their locality as well as giving them an understanding of national and global issues. We use a range of teaching and assessment strategies including report writing, newspaper articles, letter writing, role plays, decision making exercises and fieldwork enquiries.  Students study a range of human and physical units during their 4 hours of Geography a fortnight including - 

Year 7

  • Zombie Apocalypse
  • Weather and The Planet’s Future
  • How Sustainable is Our Planet?
  • One Planet, Many People?

Year 8

  • Interesting Indonesia – Tectonic Hazards
  • ‘Factfulness’ and Development
  • Pole to Pole – Our Global Biomes
  • Sea to Summit – Our Changing Landscape

We have embedded a practical element into KS3 with fieldwork for all students in both Years 7 and 8.  Students regularly have the opportunity to develop their learning outside of the classroom by conducting fieldwork enquiries on the school site.  In addition to this, students in Key Stage 3 have an annual fieldwork trip offsite to bring their learning to life.

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 enrichment trips to Iceland and Catalonia.

The students study the AQA specification.  The topics that are covered include:

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.

The students study the 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

  • Globalisation
  • Shaping Places
  • Superpowers
  • 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).  Furthermore, The Russell Group report (PDF) names Geography as one of the eight facilitating subjects. A facilitating subject is a subject most likely to be required or preferred for entry to degree courses and choosing facilitating subjects will keep more options open to you at university. 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