The academic identity of the Geography Department is firmly linked to the important themes of sustainability, diversity, environmentalism, globalisation, hazard management and internationalism. Geography is the integrated study of the planet’s places, people, environments and societies, with an emphasis on linkage and synthesis. The Department has a strong reputation for dynamic and interactive learning, with much in-class debate, presentation work and group work. Up to 600 pupils are studying Geography at any one time at the College.
The Shell course has three modules: wilderness environments, hazards and oceanography. Popular themes include Antarctica, Siberia, avalanches, tsunamis, super volcanoes and coral reefs.
The AQA GCSE has six modules: hazards, ecosystems, UK landscapes, development, urban studies and resource management. The AQA A level course also has six modules: water and carbon cycles, coasts, hazards, population and environment, global systems and global governance, and the study of place. Pupils 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 software, extensive internet research and infographical design opportunities in both project report publication and individual and team presentations. The Department has its own library, an extensive collection of audiovisual resources and an exceptional Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) 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 further trips to Swanage, Studland and Durlston on the Isle of Purbeck. Lower Sixth pupils visit 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 and to study coastal management along Christchurch Bay.
Speaker meetings include year group lectures and smaller focused academic presentations. Past events have included Shell lectures on Antarctica and dog sledging in the Arctic, a GCSE lecture on Bristol and Sixth Form academic presentations on water and energy resource security, Arctic geopolitics, Hawaiian tectonics, Antarctic governance and conservation futures. Pupil presentations on global issues are warmly encouraged.
The Department has a remarkable tradition of running inspiring and stimulating expeditions, exploring geographical and cultural diversity. Lower School destinations have included Jordan, the Azores and Iceland while the Upper School have visited Cuba, Rajasthan, India, Sichuan, China and Tenerife. Excursions range from purpose-designed academic field trips to all-embracing adventurous expeditions.