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. 

Geography is the study of all of the physical and human processes that take place simultaneously above, across and under the earth’s surface - an extraordinarily complex subject that changes continuously. Only by generalising the patterns can we begin to unravel the mysteries.

Junior curriculum

The Junior curriculum begins with the planet’s geological history to appreciate the dimensions of time in its true scale and its space in the universe. This if followed by the development of map skills, a study of the British Isles, Glaciation, Africa and Rivers. In the First Form the pupils are exposed to a full range of geographical topics and skills. This is followed by the study of Demography, Climate and Weather, Urbanisation and Coasts in the Second Form – once more oscillating between human and physical topics and so allowing for the pupil to advance along both strands at the same rate.

Third Form

During the Discovery Term in the Third Form, the pupils analyse the Central England Temperature (CET) record going back to AD 1659 to determine whether global warming has taken place over the last few centuries. This develops the skill of analysing quantitative data, number crunching, and displaying the data into appropriate graphic forms. The pupils research one phenomenon of their choice related to climate change and test its significance. This is an essential part of the CoPe Qualification, first introduced in 2017.

GCSE

Board: AQA

From January of the Third Form, the pupils become GCSE Geography students.. Topics initially covered are Food Provision, Glacial Landscapes in the UK and Cold Environments. Most students continue the GCSE in the Fourth and Fifth Forms. The AQA syllabus provides a broad curriculum, content rich, one that delves into the physical geography of the British Isles, the changing global economy, the growth of megacities, global environmental issues (such as tropical rain forest destruction) and indicators of development. There is an urban field day that evaluates the success of two urban regeneration schemes in Canterbury and Maidstone, as well as a physical field day on the North Kent coastline investigating whether Swalecliffe has a spit from clast-size variations.

A Level

Board: AQA

The AQA syllabus is continued at A Level. A new and challenging topic, that reflects the evolution of Human Geography since 1990, studies the concept of ‘place’ in Changing Places. Students study Tregaron in Ceredigion and compare it with their home settlement for variations in culture, identity, demography, religion, landscape, geology, flows of capital, services, goods and people. Changing Places as a topic extends geographical thinking by exploring the ways in which locals connect with their local area and the levels of their emotional attachment to it. The topic offers the exploration of any far place on the planet. Case studies in the first year include: Totnes in Devon; Pond Inlet in the Canadian Arctic; the Calais Jungle; the Temple of Baarlshamin in Syria and so forth. It is highly topical so the content is fluid. Global Systems and Governance, the second Human Geography topic, explores trade blocs, Brexit, changing global economies, the ‘global commons’, tensions around the world including the USA with China, the pros and cons of globalisation and local dilution. Both topics intertwine superbly.

In the Upper Sixth, the students study Population and the Environment. This topic delves into the spatial variation of human populations, their structure, social indicators and their vulnerability to disease. The topic explores the impacts of increasing populations on local, finite resources and examines successful sustainable techniques used to combat them in the modern world. Perhaps the greatest tribute to the new human geography is the manner in which it informs young people about the dynamic world around them; in so doing - it prepares them for the future.

The Physical Geography topics are based around a ‘systems approach’, one that finds order in complex natural patterns. The Carbon and Water Cycles provide the scientific background to resource depletion, especially of fossil fuels, timber and clean drinking water. Whilst Coastal Systems and Landscapes allows students the chance of study some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and shorelines and appreciate the battleground between natural forces and human intervention. The Hazards topic, covered in the Upper Sixth, increases awareness to the dangers of natural forces and techniques to overcome them. Volcanoes, earthquakes, tropical revolving storms and bush fires provide the flesh around which this traditionally popular branch of Geography is studied.

A Level Geographers also write a 4,000-word individual investigation worth 20% of the syllabus. In 2017 students chose topics as far ranging as: the study of Tregaron’s UHI; the impacts of the River Teifi pollution incident from December 2016; the long-term impacts of river dredging on the River Brenig; the impacts of immigration on the community of Llandewi-Brefi; infiltration rate variations in the Afon Brefi valley; the impact of sheep-farming on the environment of the Afon Berwyn valley; the impact of a coniferous plantation of the water cycle; the socio-economic changes in Tregaron; the impact of aspect on stream discharge and so on.

Department Staff

Andy Bee BSc                 Head of Geography

David Sansom BA          Assistant Headteacher

Matthew Jones BA        Housemaster of Clothworkers’

William Clapp BSc         Head of Key Stage 3 Geography

Seth Waterworth BSc   Deputy Head of Key Stage 3 GeographyGeography

 

Mr Andy Bee
Head of Department

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