Geography

The Geography Department provides students at Watford Boys with the knowledge and skills that they need to explore, interpret and understand the natural and human worlds around them. The department is headed by Miss Edmonds and comprises a team of specialist teachers with expertise in both physical and human geographies. In this way, we teach a balanced curriculum that places both natural earth systems and associated human interactions at its core.

Above: Year 7 using ArcGIS software to track hurricanes

Geography is a compulsory subject in years 7 and 8. Students have two hours of Geography a week and will explore a range of topics throughout these years. Geography is an optional GCSE subject (year 9 to year 11) but all students must opt to study either Geography or History. Geography is a very popular option for GCSE students and we regularly have 5 allocated sets with 2 hours teaching a week. Geography is also a favourable option at A-level where students are taught by two teachers: one who specialises in physical geography and the other human geography. Students have 4 contact hours and 2 allocated study hours at Advanced Level. We are fortunate to be a wide-reaching department in the school and we are proud of our ability to support students in achieving the top grades.

 

ICT, technology and Geographical Information Systems are at the heart of what we do in Geography. Our three dedicated classrooms are situated next to the Library computer facilities and we also have a set of department Chromebook devices which we use regularly in lessons. Opportunities for ICT include student research and presentations, video projects and using state of the art mapping software to explore a range of geographical data.

 

Learning outside of the classroom through fieldwork is essential to the study of Geography. All students have the opportunity to take part in field work at all key stages. In years 7 and 8, local area fieldwork takes place in Watford to investigate themes such as urban regeneration and crime patterns. At GCSE level students take part in a week-long residential course at a Field Studies Centre in the UK; recent locations include Norfolk and South Wales. At A-level students will undertake a further week-long residential course at an alternative centre in the UK, most recently in Somerset. Moreover, we offer various day trips throughout all year groups including lectures at the Royal Geographical Society and the ‘Around the World in Five Case Studies’ event. We also take learning Geography overseas – the Iceland trip runs every other year during the October half-term and is one of the most popular and exciting trips in the school calendar.

Above: Iceland trip

The student-run Geography Society is led by the Geography Prefects and other A-level Geography students. The Society is open to students of all ages and meets regularly to explore a range of geographical issues as well as hearing from a unique set of speakers. We also run the RGS Young Geographer of the Year competition every year and receive impressive entries in to this national competition. Moreover, we enter a team in to the World Wide Quiz which is run alongside other local schools.

 

The following summaries will provide an overview of the geographical topics and issues that are explored in Geography in the various year groups.

Year 7:

  • An Introduction to Geography
  • Students’ Personal Geographies
  • Map Skills
  • The Geography of Watford
  • Africa: The Continent
  • The Geography of Health

Year 8:

  • Brazil and the BRICS Nations
  • Impossible Places
  • The Geography of Crime
  • Hazards & Wildfires
  • Global Cities

 

Year 9 - 11:

Students start the GCSE Geography course in year 9. We follow the AQA specification that can be found here: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/geography/gcse/geography-8035

 

Topics covered in year 9 include:

  • Development Indicators
  • Tectonic Hazards
  • Weather Hazards
  • Climate Change
  • Ecosystems
  • Tropical Rainforests
  • Hot Deserts

 

Topics covered in year 10 include:

  • UK Coastal Landscapes
  • UK River Landscapes
  • Urban Issues & Challenges
    • Opportunities & Challenges in a UK City
    • Urban Regeneration
  • Fieldwork Trip & Skills

 

Topics covered in year 11 include:

  • The Changing Economic World
    • Nigeria as a Newly Emerging Economy
    • The Economic Future of the UK
  • The Challenge of Resource Management
    • Food
    • Water
    • Energy

 

 

 

 

 

Above: GCSE Geography Field Trip to Wales

Year 12 – 13:

Students follow a linear A-level course in the sixth form. We study the AQA specification which can be found here: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/geography/as-and-a-level/geography-7037

 

Physical Geography topics covered include:

  • Water and Carbon Cycles
  • Hazards
  • Coastal Systems and Landscapes

 

Human Geography topics covered include:

  • Global Systems and Global Governance
  • Changing Places
  • Changing Urban Envrionments

 

Students also undertake an independent investigation at A-level which is officially a Non-Examined Assessment and comprises 20% of their A-level grade. Students can choose whether to base this on physical or human geography, or a combination of the two.