Studying Geography involves dealing with a wide range of issues that are always in the news, from immigration and the pensions crisis, to earthquakes and floods, planning problems in cities, poverty, globalisation, resources and environmental change. We aim to encourage in our students a sense of curiosity, exploration and delight in the complex world in which they live. Geography occupies a special place as a bridge between the arts and sciences helping our students to draw upon diverse skills and connect together different areas of knowledge in seeking understanding.
Fieldwork is a key part of our teaching programme and includes visits to the Shropshire Hills for river and landscape studies in Year 9, a three day GCSE field course in Wales for Controlled Assessment data collection in Year 10, a four day IB1 field trip in Year 12 to North Yorkshire to study urban and coastal environments and a three day IB2 field trip in Year 13 to Lyme Regis for Internal Assessment data collection. The Department also runs regular extra-curricular trips to Iceland.
The Year 7 course provides our students with the basic tools and skills for successful geographical study and focuses on interpreting images, map skills, developing more extensive writing using geographical language and presenting and analysing data. There is particular focus in Year 7 on the geography of Birmingham and the West Midlands.
In Year 8, students are asked to explore themes arising from the comparison of the USA with India including contrasts in population, development and wealth, the economy and culture.
The following year we begin study of topics from the AQA GCSE Specification A, dealing firstly with Water on the Land and the Restless Earth in Year 9, then, after geography becomes optional, Changing Urban Environments and the Coastal Zone and some Globalisation in Year 10. In Year 11, the GCSE course is completed with Controlled Assessment, the remainder of the study of Globalisation and Population Change. Typically 80 to 90 boys opt to study geography at GCSE.
The IB Geography Course offers exciting opportunities for students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of some topics tackled at GCSE combined with the chance to explore new areas of the subject.
The Core, taken by both SL and HL students is based around the UN's Millennium Development Goals and explores the geographical foundations of the key global issues of our time. The Core involves the study of: Populations in Transition; Disparities in Wealth and Development; Patterns of Environmental Quality and Sustainability; Patterns in Resource Consumption. Both SL and HL students also complete a 2500 word Internal Assessment which is a piece of coursework presenting the findings of a fieldwork investigation.
Supplementing the Core, SL students study two Optional Themes: Oceans and Their Coastal Margins; Urban Environments. In addition to those topics studied by SL students, HL students study a further Optional Theme, Extreme Environments and a HL Extension course, Global Interactions, a detailed examination of the economic, socio-political and cultural causes and impacts of globalisation.
Usually 30-40 students opt to continue to study Geography post-GCSE. Geography has for many years been a popular choice of university course for KES leavers and the Department has a proud record of sending students to excellent universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.