Geography

Geography at Sutton Valence continues to go from strength to strength and has been, in most years, the single largest option block at GCSE. 

Staff

I have been Head of Department since January 2003. I adore Geography, but my other two passions are fishing and cricket. I wrote most of the world’s first Geography CD-Rom Revision Aid and have published recently an award-nominated cricket book: Fifty Finest.  I am also Housemaster of Clothworkers’. 

Mr David Sansom has been at Sutton Valence since 2007 having worked in Marketing for seven years. Mr Sansom has shared the teaching of A2 classes that have achieved 18 A* grades at A level in the last four years, and led School expeditions to Peru and Nepal.

Mathew Jones arrived from a teaching post in Kenya as a new recruit in September 2016. He is an established Geography teacher and overcame a strong field on interview day. A Human Geographer with some worldly experience, Mr Jones is proving to be a strong addition to the department.

Mr Mark Howell is Head of Rugby, but also teaches some Junior Geography. Mr Howell gained Qualified Teacher Status as an outstanding trainee teacher at Canterbury Christchurch University.

Our highly successful Head of Hockey, Mr David Mathews, also teaches some junior Geography, when time allows.

Junior curriculum

The ethos in the first two years is to develop a curiosity for the planet through the teaching of a wide range of topics, many of which will be revisited at greater depth in later years.  Emphasis is on developing the independent learner.  Use of ICT complements the work here. 

The Third Form study a dynamic curriculum to bridge Key Stages 3 and 4.  The syllabus changes year by year as the emphasis is on topicality, extended answers, development of skills and techniques and, in the Summer Term, the start of the GCSE syllabus.  The aim is for the pupil to be in as informative a position on their prospects at Geography GCSE as it is possible to be at this stage.

GCSE curriculum

At GCSE the AQA specification A syllabus is currently taught to three and sometimes four sets; where possible, these are set according to the Third Form end of term examination results.  Class sizes are small and topics covered are Population Change, the Restless Earth, Coastal Environments, Globalisation, Water on the Land and Tourism.  Fieldwork and the writing up of a Coasts-based project comprises 25% of the final GCSE.

A Level curriculum

AQA A Level Geography Specification 7057. This is a linear examination which means it is examined in its entirety at the end of the two year course. This is a broad knowledge-based A Level providing a perfect platform for continuing to study Geography at university. There are three components: a 2½ hour paper on Physical Geography (Component 1, worth 40%); a 2½ hour paper on Human Geography (Component 2, worth 40%), and Fieldwork (Component 3).

In Lower Sixth, topics covered in Physical Geography are the Water and Carbon cycles, Coastal Systems and Landscapes.  In Human Geography the topics are Global Systems and Governance and Changing Places.  Questions range from multiple choice to extended prose.

In Upper Sixth, it is intended that every student undertakes four days ‘in the field’ to capture sufficient data for Component 3. Analysis, interpretation and evaluations will all be guided by a specialist teacher but driven by the student. This is marked internally, but moderated externally and constitutes 20% of the overall mark.
The topics covered in Physical Geography are Hazards (geophysical, hydrological and meteorological) whilst in Human Geography the students will study Contemporary Urban environments. Questions once again range from multiple choice to extended prose.

Further opportunities

School expeditions since the Millennium have gone to places as far flung as the Himalayas, the summit of Kilimanjaro, Peru and Iceland.  Academic field trips include a study of the micro-climate in the Afon Berwyn valley of mid-Wales, as well as days to the North Kent coast to study coastal processes. Our lessons benefit from geographical information systems including www.digimaps for schools, an invaluable resource.

Mr Andy Bee
Head of Department

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