Geography Curriculum

GCSE
a) Physical Geography

  1. Restless Earth - plate margins, volcanoes, supervolcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis.
  2. Living World - ecosystems, temperate deciduous woodlands, tropical rainforests, sustainable management, hot deserts.
  3. Coastal Zone - processes, landforms, rising sea levels, management, land use conflicts.

b) Human Geography

  1. Population Change - population growth, China’s population policy, population structure, migration.
  2. Changing Urban Environments - urbanisation, Central Business Districts, traffic issues, squatter settlements, resource management, sustainable urban living.
  3. Tourism - global growth of tourism, National Parks, mass tourism, extreme environments, stewardship, conservation, ecotourism.

c) Local Fieldwork Investigation / Controlled Assessment
Data is collected in the local environment by the group visiting the chosen sites during school time, based upon the topics covered on the course.
The final submission consists of a single piece of work (of about 2000 words) written up in lessons, to be completed by half-term of the Michaelmas term of the Fifth Year. Topics therefore include:

  1. urban study;
  2. coastal study;
  3. ecosystem study;
  4. tourism study;
  5. population study.

Examination Details
The overall grade will be determined by the candidate's performance in:

  1. A written paper of 90 mins based on Physical Geography (37.5% of total marks)
  2. A written paper of 90 mins based on Human Geography (37.5% of total marks)
  3. Local Fieldwork Investigation/Controlled Assessment (25% of total marks)

A Level Geography

As of October 2015, the new A Level Geography specifications for first teaching in September 2016 have not been formally finalised and accredited by Ofqual. Therefore, the information provided here is subject to change. The course information outlined here refers to the AQA specification, which is likely to be adopted by the Geography Department at Brentwood School.

Content
From September 2016, A Level Geography will consist of four components.

  • Two core physical themes
  • Two core human themes
  • Non-core content to address people-environment questions and issues
  • Geographical skills, including a minimum of four days of fieldwork

How the course is taught
Each course is normally taught by two subject teachers. A heavy emphasis is placed on student participation, presentation, research and independent learning. The School Library is well resourced for all courses. Further learning resources are available through the Geography Department Virtual Learning Environment.  Students are supervised through the process of completing their coursework.

Expectations/Homework
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep-up-to date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning.

Preparatory Work
It is recommended that all students read introductory texts to familiarise themselves with the areas of study before they embark upon the course. All students complete summer work before entering the Lower Sixth and this provides them with an excellent introduction to the topics that we study at A Level.

International Baccalaureate
Geography within the IB course seeks to develop international understanding and foster a concern for global issues, as well as to raise students’ awareness of their own responsibility at a local level. It aims to develop values and attitudes that will help students reach a degree of personal commitment in trying to resolve these issues, appreciating our shared responsibility as citizens of an increasingly connected world.

IB Geography (Higher & Standard Level)
Content

Three papers are covered over the two-year course:

1. The core syllabus which includes four sections:

  • Populations
  • Wealth and development
  • Environmental quality and sustainability
  • Resource consumption.

2. Option topics. Students undertake these topics:

  • Extreme environments
  • The geography of food and health
  • Urban environments.

3. (HL Only) Global interactions.

How the course is taught
Each course is normally taught by two subject teachers. A heavy emphasis is placed on student participation, presentation, research and independent learning. The School Library is well resourced for all courses. Further learning resources are available through the Geography Department Virtual Learning Environment.  Students are supervised through the process of completing their Internal Assessment and Extended Essay (if chosen). 

Expectations/Homework
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up-to-date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning. IB students are expected to be resourceful and committed to intellectual enquiry. 

The Extended Essay
Higher Level pupils may wish to consider Geography as the focus for their Extended Essay, particularly if they intend to study Geography or a closely-related discipline at university. Students are free to select any topic that lends itself to an enquiry focus, requires assessment of conflicting evidence and has a holistic worth. The essay must be completed within 4000 words. Up to five hours of staff supervision are available to assist with the planning, research and execution of the Extended Essay.

Preparatory Work
It is recommended that all students read introductory texts to familiarise themselves with the areas of study before they embark on the course.   

IB Environmental Systems & Societies (Standard Level)

Content
Core topics include:

  1. Foundations of environmental systems and societies
  2. Ecosystems and ecology
  3. Biodiversity and conservation
  4. Water and aquatic food production systems and societies
  5. Soil systems and terrestrial food production systems and societies
  6. Atmospheric systems and societies
  7. Climate change and energy production
  8. Human systems and resource use

How the course is taught
The Standard Level course is normally taught by one subject teacher. Students will have a balance between theory and practical, in which they will complete a minimum of 30 hours practical work. Students are supervised through the process of completing their Internal Assessment.

Expectations/Homework
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up-to-date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning. IB students are expected to be resourceful and committed to intellectual enquiry.

The Extended Essay
Standard Level Students may wish to consider Environmental Systems & Societies as the focus for their Extended Essay, particularly if they intend to study Ecology or a closely-related discipline at university. It is important that the extended essay has a clear biological emphasis and is not more closely related to another subject. Students are free to select any topic but it should be noted that the assessment criteria require students to either collect their own data, which will require a large allocation of their time to laboratory work or find access to secondary data (in which they will have to have a clear understanding of which method was employed to collect the data). The essay must be completed within 4000 words. Up to five hours of staff supervision are available to assist with the planning, research and execution of the Extended Essay.

Preparatory Work
Students are provided with introductory material to study before embarking on the course. This is handed in at the very first lesson for assessment. Students are then tested on this material within the first week of term.