Geography is an extremely important part of the school curriculum and is a very cross-curricular subject. The emphasis in lessons is on topicality and relevance.
The Geography Department’s aims are:
- Develop an understanding of the interactions between human and physical processes.
- Encourage a sense of community, responsibility and international understanding.
- Foster an understanding of interdependence and the commonality and diversity of human experience throughout the world.
- Encourage concern for, and a sense of stewardship of, the environment, and an understanding of the concept of sustainability.
- Develop skills in graphicacy, enquiry, creativity, analysis, evaluation and problem-solving.
- Encourage students to develop the ability to work both independently and as part of a group.
- Help students develop the ability to communicate their ideas and views effectively.
The OCR specifications at Al evel and GCSE were chosen with the aim of best preparing students for a lifelong interest in the world and university-level study. The KS3 curriculum was then constructed in the form of a spiral curriculum with sequencing designed to provide regular focus on five Key Concepts (Scale, Place, Interconnection, Environment & Space), as well as regularly revisiting important topics, concepts and skills to build a solid foundation of knowledge for students moving through the school. The Key Concepts were chosen after we reflected upon a number of Geographical Association articles which aimed to identify the “Big Ideas” in Geography.
The content of each Unit and when it is studied is designed to build up in Scale to allow students to learn the fundamentals in more familiar contexts initially before learning to apply this knowledge to other Environments and Places in later years. The Units in Year 8 allow students to learn about the geography of Places on three separate continents; whilst the Year 9 curriculum tests students’ ability to apply their prior learning to a Global context before starting the GCSE course. The topics that are currently studied are:
The topics that are currently studied on these journeys are:
- Urban UK
- UK Coasts
- UK Weather
- Viva Italia!
- The USA
- The Himalayas
- Providing for the World
- OCR B GCSE Global Hazards
- OCR B GCSE Climate Change
The Geography syllabus provides an approach to the subject that emphasises the relationships between people and their environments, both natural and man-made. The specification that we have chosen to study is OCR B – Geography for Enquiring Minds. There are three units; one exam paper each on physical (Our Natural World) and human geography (People and Society), and a geographical skills (Geographical Exploration) paper. The human and physical geography papers account for 35% of each of the total marks. The geographical exploration examination accounts for 30% of the marks. The following information outlines the content of the course:
Paper 1: Our Natural World (1 hour 15 minutes / 35%)
- Global hazards
- Changing climate
- Distinctive landscapes
- Sustaining ecosystems
- Geographical skill
Paper 2: People and Society (1 hour 15 minutes / 35%)
- Urban futures
- Dynamic development
- UK in the 21st Century
- Resource resilience
- Geographical skills
Geographical Exploration (1 hour 30 minutes / 30%)
- Geographical skills
- Decision making exercise
Geography provides an important link between the Humanities and the Sciences. It also helps to provide an understanding of current global issues such as sustainability, rainforest destruction, coastal and river management, the growth and impact of tourism, world population growth, resource management, pollution and conservation of the environment. Geography is also a valuable contributor to a broad and balanced curriculum. Employment opportunities where your geographical skills will be particularly valued include journalism and media, law, engineering, business management, teaching, economic planning, marketing, civil service, leisure, recreation, tourism and many more.
Geography is an optional subject from Year 10 upwards, yet there are many good reasons for taking the subject further – at least to GCSE level.
Students choosing Geography should have a genuine interest in, and enthusiasm for, the subject, as well as a willingness to research topics and take an interest in what is going on in the world. Its relevance in the context of global issues is obvious; it is concerned with current issues such as world population growth, problems of drought and famine, pollution, sustainable development, regional development, climate change and so on. As such, it can be seen as an important part of a person’s broad education – an important criterion when choosing four subjects to study at A level. Geography fits in well with most combinations of subjects, both Arts-related and Science-related.
Geographers will find the lesson activities varied, with innovative methods juxtaposed alongside important traditional skills. Some notable lessons include an ICT-based simulation entitled FloodSim, where students look at how changes they make to flood protection schemes impact on the UK; drama performances of river processes; Mars bar glaciation, where students can almost taste the processes involved!; Pop-up glacial valleys and World Cities video montages.
Paper 1 Physical Systems 1hr 30min exam (66 marks)
Topic 1.1 Landscape Systems including Option A: Coastal landscapes
Topic 1.2 Earth’s Life Support Systems
Paper 2 Geographical Skills 1hr 30min exam (66 marks)
Topic 2.1 Changing Spaces; Making Places
Topic 2.2 Global Connections
Paper 3 Geographical Debates 2hr 30mins exam (108 marks)
Two topics chosen are: Topic 3.1 Climate Change, Topic 3.5 Hazardous Earth
Geographers from Sutton Grammar have an outstanding record of examination success and are often later recognised by their universities as being exceptionally rounded students of the discipline. Seven of our students have recently gone to Oxbridge. With hard work, our students have a record of success; 2018’s A level group achieved 2A*s and 7As; 2010’s A2 group of 16 students achieved 6A*s and 10As! Geography graduates go into a vast range of different careers, not all of which are specifically related to the subject, such as meteorology, town planning, overseas development work, management, accountancy and banking, transport – the list is almost endless!