“We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T.S. Eliot
The Geography Department at Camp Hill provides a wide range of opportunities for the boys here at Camp Hill. In studying Geography, they develop a stronger understanding of the world around them and an ability to understand, appreciate and empathise with the issues facing both our local area and the wider world today.
The department boasts a class set of laptops and a set of 16 iPads, along with interactive whiteboards in both rooms, a wide screen plasma TV and a fully digitised media library which can be accessed through a dedicated server. In addition to this the department also has its own library and subscribes to a range of journals. Boys learn through a varied and diverse curriculum covering all aspects of physical and human Geography.
We have a wide range of field work opportunities throughout the school, with local studies in Kings Heath and Aston Villa football ground in lower school, as well as microclimate study (Year 8) and a water cycle investigation (Year 7) around the school grounds. We also have three orienteering courses around the school campus which students make use of in the summer. Boys study the Edexcel specification B at GCSE and conduct field work in Birmingham City Centre and the Carding Mill Valley, Shropshire. At A-level boys also study the Edexcel two year course and we conduct a residential field trip at the end of Year 12 with opportunities to study coastal geomorphology and sociodemographic change.
The department has run a number of highly successful foreign trips in recent years to China, Japan and New York and most recently to Iceland.
Enrichment in Geography
Enrichment is the opportunities we provide for our boys beyond the regular curriculum which enable them to excel and develop a stronger interest in the subject. At GCSE many boys subscribe to the WideWorld magazine and similarly at A-level boys subscribe to Geography Review magazine. The Geographical Association run a number of talks and events throughout the year from academics and experts in their field (see below), and the department has hosted the WorldWise Quiz for lower school students over the last two years with 14 teams from 8 schools taking part. We also take our A-level students to the Lapworth Museum of Geology at Birmingham University for some hands-on experience to support their study of tectonics. Students in Year 7 have the chance to enter the model volcano competition each autumn and in the summer the top students from each form are selected to compete in the Geography Form Challenge event. We also offer students the chance to enter national competitions such as the RGS Young Geographer of the Year.
The Geographical Association
This year’s calendar of talks and events by the local GA branch is as follows:
How will I study?
Geography is very much a research based subject and boys will learn a range of skills through their school career which develop their ability to study independently. Field work is of course key and the boys develop their confidence using a broad range of fieldwork equipment such as soundmeters, clinometers, calipers, flowmeters and handheld GPS units. They also develop a range of data collection skills from questionnaire design to field sketching and the ability to plan, analyse and evaluate field data. In class they develop research skills as a core part of their study. Other core skills include statistical analysis, cartography, graphicacy and data analysis.
Why should I study Geography?
The Russell Group Universities (the top 24 academic institutions in the UK) recommend the study of Geography as one of their ‘facilitating subject’ which will enable you to gain access to the most competitive courses at the UK’s most prestigious universities. Each year several of our A-level Geographers go on to study Geography and closely related subjects at universities such as Durham, Leeds, Oxford, Exeter, Southampton and Manchester. Each year we welcome a group of RGS Ambassadors (current undergraduates) to talk at the Higher Education Day. Geography develops an understanding and appreciate of the world around you and the new GCSE and A-level curricula enable you to understand topics such as geopolitics, economics, climate change, natural hazards and urbanisation in an even more current and relevant way. Sixth form students often opt to complete an EPQ on a relevant geographical topic of their choosing and those who go on to study Geography at university find it an engaging subject and an excellent springboard into a very diverse choice of careers.
Key Stage 3
Students study a wide range of topics which help develop the skills and understanding needed for further study at GCSE and beyond. As they progress through KS3 their study of the world widens from the national (UK in Year 7) to the regional (Europe in Year 8) to the global (Global geography in Year 9).
The restless Earth (volcanoes)
Population change and distribution
Geography of the UK and OS map skills
Water cycle and flooding in the UK (inc. infiltration field study)
The Geography of sport (inc. Aston Villa trip)
Retail Geography (inc. trip to Kings Heath high street)
The Geography of crime
Weather and climate (inc. Geography of Europe)
Can the Earth cope?
Microclimate of the school (inc. field study on school grounds)
River study at Aber Falls during Conway residential trip.
Global development and inequality
Globalisation and the fashion industry
Country Study: India
The global tourism industry
Antarctica – a wilderness under threat
Key Stage 4 (GCSE)
Students study the new Edexcel GCSE specification B in Years 10 and 11. Topics include:
Hazardous Earth (weather and tectonics hazards, and climate change)
Challenges of an urbanising world
The UK’s evolving physical landscape (rivers and coasts)
Dynamic UK cities
People and the biosphere
Field trips are run to the Carding Mill Valley in Shropshire in Year 10 and Birmingham City Centre in Year 11.
Key Stage 5 (A Level)
Students will continue to develop analytical and research skills in the two-year A-level course. We study the Edexcel A-level specification which includes a range of human and physical geography topics. Boys are expected to develop their independence and wider reading throughout the course and towards the end of Year 12 they begin their Independent Investigation on a topic of their choosing in the local area or beyond. To prepare them for this we run a residential field work trip in the summer of Year 12 which helps them learn a wider range of field work and statistical skills than they will have done at GCSE.
Staff in the department:
Mr D Eckley
Mr C Butcher
Mr A Caves
Mr T Burgess