The Geography department is one of the most successful at Beaconsfield High School, combining a track record of consistently excellent exam results, with numerous fieldwork opportunities and an emphasis on a student’s wider role as a citizen.
As far as possible an enquiry based approach to learning is encouraged. Geography lessons throughout the school facilitate the development of a wide variety of transferable skills, including questioning, group work, decision making, listening, debating, empathy and problem solving. A variety of resources - including photographs, DVDs, music, Power Points and interactive whiteboard activities are used to enable students to develop their geographical skills and understanding. All lesson materials and resources can be accessed by students on the VLE.
Key Stage 3 - Years 7, 8 & 9
Students are taught in their tutor groups; in Year 7 students have three lessons per fortnight and in Years 8 and 9 they have one lesson per week.
Year 7 lessons begin with a presentation from two students that focuses on a recent global news event of geographical significance. Many provoke interesting discussions that reflect directly on the concept of citizenship, both from a local and global perspective.
Students study a wide range of physical and human Geography at a variety of local, national and international scales. Some of the most popular work includes an enquiry into the variations in microclimate around the school site (year 7), an enquiry into patterns of crime in the local area (year 8) and work on globalisation and fashion with a focus on India (year 9). We also teach a unit on Volcanoes and Earthquakes to GCSE standard to help students to make informed option choices during year 9.
Key Stage 4 - GCSE
We follow the AQA A syllabus with students being taught in mixed ability classes and having five lessons per fortnight. The aims of the GCSE course are as follows:
- To acquire knowledge and understanding of a range of places, environments and geographical patterns at the local, national and global scale.
- To develop a sense of place, an appreciation of the environment and an awareness of the ways in which people and their environment interact. To understand the importance of sustainable development as well as the opportunities, challenges and constraints that people face.
- To develop an understanding of global citizenship and the ways in which people and environments are interdependent.
- To understand how decisions are made about the use and management of environments in relation to geographical issues and questions.
- To acquire and apply the skills and techniques of mapwork, fieldwork and ICT which are needed to conduct a geographical enquiry or study.
Fieldwork: There is a four day fieldwork course in North Wales that enables students to collect data that can be used for their coursework and enable classroom learning to come alive.
Key Stage 5 - A Level
See also Sixth Form subjects.
We follow the AQA syllabus, which enables us to cover traditional A level topics such as Rivers, Volcanoes and Coasts with modern concepts such as the Geography of Global Health and Geographical Conflicts. Students have four hours of lessons per week. As a highly dynamic and academic subject A level Geography has students who are keen to understand how they interact with the world in which they live. We look at contemporary real-life issues from across the world, with a problem solving approach forming the basis of research-based enquiry. Students are encouraged to make informed decisions and are made aware of the need to justify their choices.
Fieldwork: There is a one week field work course in Swanage during year 12 which covers many aspects of physical and human geography and the fieldwork techniques students will need for exams at both AS and A2. Every A level student also has the opportunity to experience the glaciers and geysers of Iceland on our bi-annual visit there. We are based in Reykjavik but spend each day travelling around the island. The evenings provide an opportunity to relax in one of Iceland’s many geothermally heated swimming pools.
Careers: Geography is relevant to our everyday lives and includes important issues related to our future such as the impact of climate change. Every day there is at least one item on the news that is relevant to geography.
At AS/A2 Level, Geography can make a good combination with Science, Maths or Humanities subjects, bridging the gap between Arts and Sciences in a unique way and helping develop many transferable skills. Geography offers a good background for a wide variety of careers such as working in tourism, planning, environmental management, land surveying, the Civil Service, law and merchant banking.