Geography is not only up-to-date and relevant, it is one of the most exciting, adventurous and valuable subjects to study today. So many of the world's current problems boil down to geography, and need the geographers of the future to help us understand them.
Global warming, sustainable food production, natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, the spread of disease, the reasons for migration and the future of energy resources are just some of the great challenges facing the next generation of geographers.
Choosing geography at school can open the doors to a university degree, either specifically in geography or by combining geography with other A Levels to gain a place on a degree programme in another subject. Geography, as an EBacc subject, is recognised for its academic ‘robustness’ and, most importantly, it also helps young people into the world of work.
Geography at Vyners is flourishing with over 180 students currently sitting the subject at Key Stage 4. An enquiry based learning and active approach along with regular fieldtrips to places which have in the last 5 years included Arsenal Stadium, The Greenwich Peninsula, Devon, Iceland, Sicily, Costa Rica and Uganda ensure that its study captures the imagination of our students’ and helps them to contextualises issues within the real world. Groups are taught in mixed ability sets and lessons are differentiated to maximise the progress of all students. The overall aim of KS3 Geography is to enable students to understand and interpret their world whilst laying a solid foundation for the upcoming themes at GCSE.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3 we study a variety of physical and human topics. In Year 7 students develop their fundamental map skills and locational knowledge before studying the Geography of the UK in detail. This is split into the study of Human Geography and Physical Geography within the United Kingdom. Within the human topics we cover areas such as population, industry and settlements within the context of the UK and for the physical topics we study weather, weathering, rivers and drainage basins, ecosystems and microclimates, again contextualising these within the UK. Finally, we end the year studying the various Geographies of Africa with some project work on either the Horn of Africa or Kenya. In Year 8 we study Earth’s geology, natural hazards, energy and sustainability, Asia and Glaciation.
Key Stage 4
We begin the GCSE syllabus in Year 9 following the OCR B Geography specification. As part of this we complete two days compulsory fieldwork in Year 10, one day studying an urban issue in the Shepherds Bush area and another studying fluvial processes on the River Chess in Buckinghamshire (cost approx. £30). These days are crucial in preparing the students for the three terminal examinations, taken at the end of Year 11, which include fieldwork and geographical skills questions which sit alongside the core course content questions.
Key Stage 5
At Key Stage 5 students follow the Edexcel B course at A Level. In the first year of the course we study Coastal Landscapes and Change, Tectonic Processes and Hazards, Regenerating Places and Globalisation. This includes a residential fieldtrip to the Slapton Ley Field Studies Centre in October (approx. cost £300) to study Coastal processes, whilst urban fieldwork takes place at various times of the year looking at urban regeneration at a number of sites in London.
In the second year of the course we cover the A Level topics of the Carbon Cycle and Energy Security, the Water Cycle and Security, Superpower Geographies and Health, Human Rights & Intervention.
The course is assessed through three terminal examinations at the end of Year 13 and provides students with an in-depth holistic understanding of the dynamic world of today and the challenges we face this coming century. Furthermore, the extended writing and analytical skills learnt throughout the course embed many skills sought for by employers and universities.
Subject Leader: Alex Coulter