“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 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 with over 100 books aimed at GCSE and A-level students, along with subscribtion 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 visits to Aston Villa football ground in Year 7 and Cadbury World in Year 9. This will be supplemented by new trips relating to the 2022 Commonwealth Games over the next couple of years. We also conduct small-scale geography fieldwork on the school campus and local area, including a water cycle investigation in Year 7, microclimate study in Year 8 and questionnaire fieldwork in Year 9 in Kings Heath. In addition to this 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 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 socio-demographic 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. A return trip to Iceland is planned for October 2020.
Enrichment in Geography
Enrichment is about 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 university academics and experts in their field (see below), and the department has hosted the WorldWise Quiz for lower school students over the last three years with 14 teams from 8 schools taking part last year. 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.
In 2019-20 we are applying for the Eco-Schools Award (www.eco-schools.org.uk), which Mr Butcher is leading along with a group of students. This will involve students from across all key stages working together to make the school a more environmentally-friendly place of work and study.
The Geographical Association
This year’s calendar of talks and events by the local GA branch is as follows:
- Tuesday 24th September 2019 – “Our Sustainable Water Futures: A Tale from many Continents”, Mark Mulcahy, Principal Hydrogeologist, Discipline Lead, Stantec & WaterAid Ambassador
- Tuesday 19th November – “Sea-Level Changes: Past, Present and Future” Dr Timothy Shaw, Research Fellow, Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
- Tuesday 26th November – “Community resilience in Hazard Management”, Dr Yung-Fang Chen, Senior Lecturer in Disaster Management and Emergency Planning at Coventry University
- Monday 2nd December 2019 – “Mitigate, Adapt, or Suffer: Connecting Global Change to Local Impacts”, Professor Katherine Hayhoe, Texas Tech. University
- Monday 13th January 2020 – “Development in Malawi”, Dr Dr Alan Dixon, Principal Lecturer in Geography, Institute of Science and the Environment, University of Worcester, with Albert Mvula, PhD Researcher, University of Worcester
- Monday 3rd February 2020 – “Mobile Malaria Project”, Dr George Busby FRGS, Senior Research Scientist, Big Data Institute, Oxford University
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 sound meters, clinometers, callipers, 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 subjects’ 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.
Geography develops an understanding and appreciation 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)
Climate change and the future
River basins and the flood hazard inc. OS map skills
Geography of the UK (inc. atlas skills)
Infiltration investigation (fieldwork)
The Geography of sport (inc. Aston Villa trip)
School microclimate investigation (fieldwork)
Global geographical issues
Weather and climate (inc. Geography of Europe)
Global biomes and ecology
Glaciation and UK National Parks
Global development and inequality
Globalisation and TNCs (inc. Cadbury World trip)
The science of earthquakes and tsunamis
India: an evolving superpower
Commonwealth Games study (inc. questionnaire fieldwork)
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)
- Development dynamics
- 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