Geography

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Will the UK be facing energy blackouts by 2016? Why is climate change happening? What are the current patterns of migration within the EU? Is the earthquake hazard increasing in frequency?

Geography lessons at St. Paul’s inspire curiosity about the world. We pursue explanations for current global issues, whilst ensuring that all students have a secure understanding of the key concepts in physical and human geography. Students appreciate the dynamic and interconnected nature of our subject and the flexibility we have to study the most recent news events. Lessons at all levels employ a variety of teaching and learning strategies. Right from the start we encourage independent research, informed decision-making, debates and creative projects to help girls realise the complexities of the problems we face in the twenty-first century. In a digital age, Geography is becoming an ever more interactive subject with the increasing use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

At Key Stage 3, we have worked collaboratively to create a rigorous and innovative programme of study. Across these three formative years, students develop their geographical knowledge and skills within a structure of intellectual themes of diversity, change and challenges. We ask questions as varied as ‘how can we explain the changes in polar environments?’ to ‘what are the costs and benefits of globalisation?’

Our GCSE course follows the AQA specification, which engages students in a blend of traditional and contemporary geography. Up-to-date case studies are used throughout to exemplify the detailed processes and features.

In the Senior School, AS and A2 geography continues to stretch and stimulate the students’ geographical imaginations. The OCR specification promotes analytical and evaluative skills across a set of issue-based topics, such as ‘Ecosystems and Environments Under Threat’ and ‘Development and Inequalities’. This course gives students the confidence to challenge geographical stereotypes and identify synoptic links.

Geography comes even more alive outside of the classroom and we provide fieldwork opportunities for all age groups. Recent field trips have included the Yorkshire Dales, the Isle of Wight, and Iceland. We encourage our geographers to question and engage with these diverse environments, promoting the essential enquiry-related skills through fieldwork investigations.

Our own student-led Geography Society has hosted a number of speakers over the last few years, displaying to students the value of this subject in the workplace. We have enjoyed a talk by Stephen Darby, a Professor of Physical Geography from Southampton University this term and are looking forward to a visit from Danny Dorling, author of Population 10 Billion, early next academic year. Geography Society also offers weekly activities for the younger pupils that extend far beyond the curriculum. Many of our senior students also take advantage of our proximity to the Royal Geographical Society, where they actively attend events and lectures.