Geography

ALL COURSES

Climate is changing, the population is growing and resources are becoming depleted; there has never been a more important time to study geography

WHAT DO WE STUDY

The OCR A level course enables exploration of twenty-first-century challenges facing our planet. Understanding of space and place is developed, through studying the creation of global villages and the regeneration of the London Docklands. By examining contrasting places, you will learn how their demographic, socio-economic and cultural profiles have been shaped. We teach how global systems and governance influence the lives of people across the globe.

Through the study of glacial landscapes we explore the long-term changes of earth’s landscape and climate. We also learn about the major systems (carbon and hydrological) that support all life on earth and are key in shaping our planet. The depth of knowledge will allow you to really appreciate how earth ‘works’, and importantly, in our changing world, will let you hypothesise about future changes. Finally, you will also consider some of the most debatable topics in geography. Is the world becoming more hazardous? Is there enough food to support everyone?

In addition, students complete an independent investigation. Geographical research is a highly exciting area with technological developments enabling further research; whether considering the geo-spatial trends seen in Twitter data or investigating the relationship between infiltration rates and flood risk. A residential fieldtrip will help develop the practical skills necessary to pursue individual research interests and classroom time will be set for learning analytical skills and report writing. The skills involved in this project help bridge the gap between school and university and add to your employability.

BEYOND THE CURRICULUM

The Geography Society is traditionally run by students in the VII, guiding lower years in creative projects, for instance a school monopoly board or modelling geographical landscapes. The society also organises external speakers; Danny Dorling has talked on inequality and London and the charity Thames 21 have discussed pressures on the River Thames.  There is the opportunity to edit or contribute articles to Atlas, the student webzine.

As well as the compulsory fieldtrips which take place as part of the course, on occasion we offer opportunities to travel further afield. Most recently was the trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands in July 2014. Furthermore, on a number of occasions senior girls have been involved in data collection and river clean-up activities with Thames 21 to support the local environment and community.

The Royal Geographical Society is based in Kensington and offers a number of wonderful opportunities to students. As well as their annual essay competitions, through our school membership you can attend the Monday night lecture series. These lectures are presented by people at the forefront of geographical research.

WHERE MIGHT IT LEAD

Geography can be studied in many forms. Most often students continue to a general geography degree which covers both physical and human topics, but some students choose to apply to a specific human or physical geography course.  Increasingly, universities are offering courses in environmental science or even more specific courses such as sustainable development.  Geographers are often cited as some of the most employable graduates because of the range of skills they develop. More information on future career paths can be found on the RGS website.

‘Geography has stimulated my mind and given me the attitude to go out and see for myself, rather than be told by others’
Michael Palin

Qualification: A level

Board: OCR

Mode of Assessment: 80% examinations and 20% independent investigation