GCSE/A Level Geography
Compulsory at Phase 1, optional at Phase 2 and Advanced Academy
Geography at Newquay Tretherras
The Geography department consists of 5 full-time and 1 part time specialist Geography teachers. The department is based in the humanities corridor with Geography specific teaching rooms, equipment and displays. We hope to instil the ‘Wonder of Geography’ in our students and inspire them to know, understand and appreciate the world around them.
There is a strong emphasis on learning outside the classroom, with local and/or residential fieldwork opportunities taking place in every year group. Year 5/6 students from feeder primary schools undertake map skills and GIS fieldwork on site, Year 7 students practise their map skills on a treasure trail around the local area, Year 8 visit Porth Beach as part of their coasts investigation and Year 9 carry out a local fieldwork on processes and management of either Porth River or Towan Beach. At Phase 2, controlled assessment data collection takes place in Plymouth CBD and there is the option to visit London/Dorset as part of a weekend residential. At Advanced Academy, local fieldwork is carried out on the River Kenwyn and Sand Dunes at Perranporth, and students have the opportunity to visit Iceland on an international residential.
Challenges and competitions are set in Year 7 and 8 alongside homework tasks, such as our annual volcano model competition. The department use online platforms such as Moodle and Kerboodle to support and stretch learning. The department also have a programme of support for students in exam classes to secure exam skills and revision through after school and weekend activities. Homework is set fortnightly at Phase 1 and 2 and weekly at Advanced Academy, these range from individual assignments to creative and group work activities.
Uptake of GCSE Geography is particularly high, with the department being the largest foundation subject after the core.
Phase 1 Curriculum
Years 7 and 8 have 3 one hour lessons per fortnight following the new National Curriculum 2014. In Year 7 they begin with a baseline assessment of map skills and look at Atlas and Ordnance Survey Map skills in the first half term. Students complete 6 units per year with regular formative and summative assessments for each unit test. Homework activities reinforce and develop their understanding through a variety of tasks and forms a sound platform for moving on to GCSE level work in Year 9.
Students who opt for GCSE Geography in Years 10 and 11 have 5 one hour lessons a fortnight. The GCSE Geography course is 12 taught units over two years: 6 units of Physical Geography – Unit 1 Dynamic Planet (25%) and 6 of Human Geography – Unit 2 People and the Planet (25%), there is also a Decision Making Paper which is a skills based exam covering elements of the core units from Unit 1 and 2 – Unit 3 Making Geographical Decisions (25%), and students undertake a local fieldwork investigation ‘controlled assessment’ in Year 10 (previously to Plymouth CBD) for Unit 4 Researching Geography (25%). Lessons are complimented by course specific revision guides and workbooks, and online materials on Moodle, as well as through revision and exam skills sessions after school and on some Saturdays in Year 11. Homework is set as a minimum fortnightly, and students are regularly assessed during and at the end of each unit of work, as well as through mid-year exams and Pre-Public Examinations.
A Level Curriculum
In Year 12 and 13, students have 9 hours per fortnight of Geography, shared by two members of the department. Their learning is supported through online resources in Moodle and Kerboodle, extensive opportunities for wider reading and through targeted intervention at an individual level. Enrichment opportunities have included university seminar days for A-Level students at local universities and the international residential to Iceland.
At AS level (Year 12) students learn two core topics and two optional topics for their content exam:
Unit Geog1 Physical and Human Geography (2 hour 70% of AS level – 35% of A-Level)
Students also develop a range of geographical, ICT, graphical, cartographic and statistical skills throughout the teaching of the core topics, as well as undertaking a local fieldwork investigation of the River Kenwyn in Truro for their skills exam.
Unit Geog2 Geographical Skills (1 hour 30% – 15% of A-Level)
Question 1 will be set on one of the two compulsory core sections of the physical and human geography from unit 1. This first part of the paper will be based on a variety of resources relating to the topic selected.
Question 2 will relate specifically to candidates’ own fieldwork and investigative research skills. The fieldwork undertaken by candidates can relate to any part of the content of Unit 1.
At A-Level (Year 13), students study 3 units as an issues-based approach to contemporary geographical themes; Plate tectonics and associated hazards, Ecosystems: change and challenge and Development and globalisation (30% of A-Level)
Unit Geog3 – 2 hour 30 minutes written examination 90 mark – Structured short and extended questions, plus a synoptic essay.
Students undertake a local fieldwork investigation at Perranporth Sand Dunes for Unit Geog4A Geography Fieldwork Investigation. This unit gives candidates the opportunity to extend an area of the subject content into a more detailed fieldwork study. Candidates analyse and evaluate their fieldwork in response to the questions set. In addition, candidates will be assessed on fieldwork skills. 20% of A Level – 1 hour 30 minutes written examination, 60 marks – structured short and extended questions based on candidates’ fieldwork investigation and fieldwork skills.
Many of our A-Level Geography students have gone on to study Geography or Geology at University.
For more information, go to http://tretherras.net/a-level-geography/
Links to exam board/specification