The academic identity of the Geography Department is firmly linked to the important themes of sustainability, diversity, environmentalism, globalization, hazard management and internationalism. Geography is the integrated study of the earth’s places, peoples, environments and societies, with an emphasis on linkage and synthesis. The Department has a strong reputation for teaching both physical and human geography and for emphasising dynamic and interactive learning, with much in-class debate, presentation work and group work. Some 450-500 pupils study Geography at any one time at the College. The Department has a remarkable tradition of running inspiring and stimulating expeditions, exploring geographical and cultural diversity. Lower School destinations since 2013 have included Jordan, the Azores and Iceland. Upper School destinations since 2013 have included Cuba, Rajasthan, India, Sichuan, China, and Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Trips range from purpose-designed academic field trips through to more all-embracing adventurous expeditions.
The Shell course has three modules: wilderness environments, hazards and global issues. Popular themes include Antarctica, Rainforest, Siberia, Coral Reefs, Tsunamis, Super Volcanoes, Avalanches, and Resource Management (water, energy, food). The AQA GCSE has six modules: Hazards, Ecosystems, UK landscapes, Development, Urban Studies and Resource Management (studied in the Shell year). The AQA A level course also has six modules: Water and Carbon Cycles, Coasts, Hazards, Resource Security, Global Systems and Global Governance and the Study of Place. Pupils also complete a project based on a three-day field trip to Bournemouth and the Isle of Purbeck. Information technology has a high profile in our subject; the digital revolution provides significant exposure to powerful and inspiring software, rewarding internet research and to infographical design opportunities through both project report publication and individual and team presentations. The department has its own library, an extensive collection of AV (Audio Visual) resources and an exceptional VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) resource (Firefly) available to pupils at all times.
Fieldwork is at the heart of our enrichment programme. Remove pupils enjoy a challenging field day in Bristol and a further one in Swanage, Studland and Durlston on the Isle of Purbeck. Lower Sixth pupils make a visit to Boscombe, Bournemouth, Swanage and Studland to make a preliminary choice for their A level project. This is followed by a three-day residential stay in Bournemouth to collect data for their project but also to study coastal management along Christchurch Bay. Speaker meetings include year group lectures and smaller focused academic presentations. The 2017-18 programme has included a Shell lecture on Antarctica and one on Dog Sledging in the Arctic, a GCSE lecture on Bristol: City of the Future, and Sixth Form academic presentations on Water Resource Security, Arctic Geopolitics, Hawaiian tectonics, Antarctic Governance, Energy Resource Security and Conservation Futures. Pupil presentations are encouraged, with one this year on engineering responses to the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake.
K J D Richards MA (Head of Department)
J Hodgson BSc
Mrs J A Hodgson MA
Miss A C Langdale BSc MSc
Miss HL Meehan BSc
B H Miller BSc
Mrs C N Pembroke BA
Miss S Bingham BA
S D Vaux (Technician)