About the Department
The Geography department consists of five full-time subject specialist teachers. The department is well resourced, and a wide range of the latest textbooks, online map and journal subscriptions, DVD titles and fieldwork equipment are used.
GCSE: In 2019, 57% of pupils achieved an 9-7
A Level: In 2019, 85% of pupils achieved an A*-B
Up to 50% of A Level students select to read the subject (or a derivative of) each year at university, including Oxbridge applications.
Subject Content & Syllabus
In Years 7, 8 and 9 Geography is a compulsory subject and the course is aligned with the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum. Pupils receive 4 periods per fortnight of Geography teaching plus approximately 1 hour of homework. Field trips focus on urban regeneration in Macclesfield town centre, coastal management in North Wales and overfishing at the Blue Planet Aquarium.
Typically 80 pupils opt to continue with the subject into Key Stage 4/GCSE, following the AQA GCSE Examination board, which is a linear course. Class sizes are 15 - 20 in Years 10 and 11 and pupils receive 6 periods per fortnight of Geography teaching with around 2 hours 30 minutes of homework. Themes such as Natural Hazards, Ecosystems and Urbanisation are studied along with visits to Snowdonia to study glaciation and the local River Dane for fluvial processes.
At A Level, the teaching of each set is divided between two members of the department (one for Physical Geography and one for Human Geography) who usually take the group for both years. On average, approximately 20 pupils select Geography at A Level, receiving 12 periods of teaching per fortnight. A range of extended homework assignments, amounting to 4/5 hours per week, are assigned. Class sizes range from 5-15 and the AQA Examination Board is followed at present with the course being linear. A week long residential trip to North Wales embellishes learning in the classroom and forms the basis of a coursework assignment.
The department fosters a strong commitment to fieldwork, with every year group enjoying at least one local day trip, thus enriching subject understanding. In addition, ‘wow and awe’ Geography tours to locations, such as the European Alps, West Coast of the USA, Iceland, New York and Naples/Sicily are arranged.
Geography workshops are open to all pupils at lunchtime one day per week in both Divisions, giving pupils one-to-one assistance with any Geography-related problems. A weekly Geography Club is held at both sites, with activities such as the National Worldwise Quiz and designing exploding volcanoes!
Monitoring & Assessment
At Key Stage 3, during each half-term, all pupils undertake end of unit assessments, ranging from traditional exams to group presentations, individual projects and extended written work.
At Key Stage 4, to replicate what pupils will face at the end of the course, all are monitored and assessed at the end of each half-term in the form of an end of unit mock exam paper based on past external exam questions.
At Key Stage 5, internal progress examinations are taken in January for Y12 and November for Y13, while weekly exam and essay tasks are set.
Finally, internal summer end of year examinations are taken at the end of Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12. Whole school mocks for Y11 in January, while public exams (GCSE, A Level examinations) are taken in the summer of Years 11 and 13.
Geography is a traditional and well-respected academic subject and as such there are numerous career avenues. For example; mineral exploration, town planning/regeneration, meteorology, tourism, survey- ing, GIS (Geographical Information Systems – computer mapping/model forecasting), architecture & property development, environmental & conservation roles (Environment Agency etc.), teaching/ education, alternative/renewable energy, transportation & logistics, government & political roles as well as journalism & foreign correspondents to name but a few!