Mr Stephen A Beggs
Mr Mark Dickson
Miss Katie Morris
Mr Phil Cartmill
The Geography curriculum extends pupils’ interests and knowledge beyond their immediate experience. This helps them to interpret the information about people and places which they acquire from television, books, magazines, the internet and other sources. It is an enjoyable and challenging subject which pupils should find relevant to their lives.
The Geography department is comprised of 3 general classrooms with additional bench space for displays and Ordnance Survey maps. Each classroom contains an interactive board and a USB mini-projector which is used to display pupil work to the class. The department also avails of resources, such as I-Pads, differentiated cubes and mini whiteboards in order to make lessons more interactive and engaging for pupils.
We have a large resource room which has desk space for senior pupils to undertake private study. The room also has a computer, laptop and exemplars of past papers and mark schemes in order to foster an independent study habit amongst pupils.
Our 10 megapixel camera is used to photograph pupil work, achievements and fieldwork events.
- Members of the department have experience in marking GCSE, AS and A2 examinations. This allows us to disseminate what we have learned to our pupils, thereby improving their examination technique in the process.
- The Geography department regularly has pupils attending the prestigious Villiers Park Course. Villiers Park Educational Trust helps able young people to develop a passion for learning and the study and life skills to ensure they reach their full academic potential. This allows gifted and talented students to gain places at leading universities.
- Conor Campbell (Year 14 in 2013-2014), was awarded a £4000 scholarship from the Royal Geographical Society. In the summer of 2015 he took a gap year working on an Australian sheep farm that would not have been possible otherwise.
- In the 2017 Summer AS examination series, 81.3% of our students achieved A*-B. This is significantly higher than the Northern Ireland statistic for boys in grammar schools of 56.9%. At GCSE level, 80.5% of our boys achieved A*-B. Only 66% of boys in grammar schools undertaking the CCEA GCSE Geography examination achieved this.
- In 2015, Curtis Irvine achieved 6th place in NICCEA A Level Geography.
- These results reflect our willingness to improvise and employ new teaching strategies, as well as encouraging students to become more independent with regards to their learning.
Key Stage 3
Topics taught at Key Stage 3:
What is Geography?
Latitude, longitude and location
Weather and climate
Rocks and fracking
Weathering and erosion
Rivers and flooding
Plate tectonics and plate boundaries
Weather and climate change
Earthquakes and volcanic activity
At Key Stage 3, the teaching of both Human and Physical Geography through issue-based learning allows pupils to:
1. Develop a deeper understanding of their own surroundings and extend their interest in and knowledge of, other places;
2. gain a perspective within which they can place local, national and international
3. learn about the different ways in which people have reacted to, modified and shaped environments, explaining the impact this has had on social and economic activities;
4. appreciate more fully the significance of the location of places and of the links between places;
5. develop a sensitive awareness of the contrasting opportunities and constraints facing different people living in different places;
6. develop an understanding of the nature of multicultural and multiethnic societies and a sensitivity to cultural and racial prejudice and injustice;
7. gain a fuller understanding of some controversial issues which have a geographical dimension, reflect on their own and other peoples’ attitudes to these issues, and make their own informed judgements;
8. develop a wide range of skills that are required for geographical enquiry and are widely applicable in other contexts;
9. act more effectively in their environment as individuals and as members of society.
Key Stage 4
In following the CCEA GCSE specification for Geography, we allow students the opportunity to develop an understanding and appreciation of the world they live in and its peoples. It encourages them to consider how they can contribute to a sustainable environment and provides them with opportunities to develop as effective and independent learners and as critical thinkers with enquiring minds. Physical Geography fieldwork, completed at the Colin Glen Forest Park and in conjunction with Colin Glen Trust also enables students to develop and apply their learning to the real world.
Key Stage 5
Pupils study 2 Assessment Units for AS Geography in Year 13 and 2 further Assessment Units for A2 Geography in Year 14. Classes are taught by more than one member of the Geography department in order to allow pupils to experience differing teaching styles and avail of their particular expertise in their area of the course. By studying A-Level Geography,(comma inserted) students will learn about geographical concepts and processes, interactions between people and their environment, the challenges of sustainability and the importance of attitudes and values. They will then be able to relate what they have studied to the world around them. Students will acquire and develop skills of data collection, observation, recording, presentation, discussion as well as interpersonal skills, ICT and practical skills gained through fieldwork investigation, in this case a study of the changing fluvial characteristics of the River Shimna in the Mourne Mountains.
Employers seek a mixture of skills, qualifications and experience when they recruit for a job. Upon studying Geography, pupils will be exposed to a variety of learning activities which will enable them to become:
- Good communicators with strong presentation skills
- Competent in using ICT
- Independent researchers
- More able to work effectively in a team in a variety of roles
- Effective at managing time and deadlines
- Good at combining information from a variety of sources through excellent writing skills
Statistics show that geographers are among the most employable compared with other disciplines. Some of the fields of work for which geographers have the necessary skills include marketing, leisure and tourism, environmental work, using Geographical Information Systems, management, urban and rural planning, surveying, the Armed Services, law and architecture.
The Russell Group, which represents 24 leading UK universities, lists Geography as a “facilitating subjects”. Facilitating subjects are the subjects most commonly required or preferred by universities to get on to a range of degree courses. They help you keep your options open when choosing a degree, and many of the top universities will ask you to have at least one A-level in a facilitating subject when you apply.