Geography - it’s a world thing!
Geography at Bootham is quite rightly a popular and vibrant subject that is a common choice for both GCSE and A-level. We believe that Geography is a crucial subject for the new millennium and support the views held by QCA in their document on the new programme of study for KS3 published in March 2007.
The study of Geography stimulates an interest in and a sense of wonder about places. It helps young people to make sense of a complex and dynamically changing world. It explains where places are, how places and landscapes are formed, how people and their environments are interconnected. It builds on pupil’s own experiences to investigate places at all scales, from personal to the global.
Geographical enquiry encourages questioning, investigation and critical thinking about issues affecting the world and people’s lives, now and in the future. Fieldwork is an essential element of this. Pupils learn to think spatially and use maps, visual images and new technologies to obtain, present and analyse information. Geography inspires pupils to become global citizens by exploring their own place in the world, their values and their responsibilities to other people, to the environment and to the sustainability of the planet.
We are lucky enough to have 5 excellent members of teaching staff in the Department: Liz Brown (Head of Department), Rob Graham, Rob Tribe, Angela Woods and Alison Moreland. The Department is housed in two spacious and well-equipped class rooms.
At Bootham we have a strong commitment to making Geography fun and relevant wherever possible. We have students from many different countries and cultures and we aim to harness this excellent resource in our classroom for the benefit of all. We always aim to keep our teaching topical and use the news, newspapers and teaching journals to enhance our lessons and keep them fresh and exciting.
We also encourage students to share their experiences of geography with us. Recent examples of this kind of sharing include College students returning from the summer holiday with a book about flooding in Lynmouth. We want geography to become part of every student’s conscience so that what we do in the classroom really comes alive for them. We aim to raise their awareness of their environment, whatever it might be.
Field Work at Catbells, Blencathra 2011
Lower Schoolrooms enjoying the Wolds field trip
Lower Seniors in the Lake District, 2012
Geography should never be boring and our commitment to quality teaching as a Department and to the access to fieldwork for all year groups ensures that our students both value and enjoy this amazing subject.
The Department which is housed in two spacious and well-equipped class rooms. Both rooms have interactive white boards, DVD, video recorders and computer terminals for student use and a wide selection of textbooks, maps and periodicals.
We also have an interactive area in both classrooms allowing students to observe and handle rock and mineral samples as well as fossils and other geographical artefacts. In 2013 we hope to take delivery of our new geology cabinet which will live in Room L.
As a department we are committed to taking students on field trips in all years. We truly believe that the best geography is ‘learnt through the soles of the feet’ and there is a strong tradition of field trips at Bootham.
Health and safety of pupils is paramount in our planning of trips and risk assessments are usually carried out by Bootham staff for local trips but for trips to field centres we have not visited we usually ask them to provide us with their own up to date risk assessment paper work. We have our own procedures for travel risk assessments and staff have received training via whole school inset on their responsibilities to children on trips.
Current field trips include visits within the city of York to study Crime, shopping and changing urban geographies, whilst trips further afield include Lower Schoolroom visiting the Wolds, GCSE students visiting the Lake District and AS level students visiting the Drapers Field Centre in Snowdonia or the Eagles Nest in the Cevennes National Park in France.
Currently the schemes of work loosely follow the National curriculum in line with the changes to the Geography Curriculum published in March 2007. Whilst we see the need to keep abreast of the national changes in the curriculum so that we do not disadvantage students at GCSE level (or higher) we also value the opportunity to teach away from the nationally prescribed materials.
Topic areas include:
- map work skills
- volcanoes and earthquakes
- weather, climate and global warming
- the geography of crime
- USA and Mexico
- African savanna
- The local area
Seniors follow the AQA course (Specification B). This course is designed to stimulate the students to take a real interest in the wider world whilst allowing them to consider more local issues too. The subject areas will include natural hazards (fire, earthquake, volcanoes and tropical storms) and their management; coastal environments, global tourism and water as a precious resource. There are two Controlled Assessments for this course, worth in total 25% of the final GCSE grade. One will be undertaken in the summer term of Lower Senior after a field trip to either the Holderness Coast or the Lake District and the second will be undertaken in the November of Upper Senior.
We follow the AQA syllabus.
The course is assessed by four module examinations, two taken at the end of College One leading to AS Geography. These with the other two modules taken at the end of College Two complete the full A-level course.
- Rivers, floods and management
- Global population change
Students will also study two further units, one physical geography option and one human geography option from the following choices:
Physical Geography options:
- Cold environments
- Coastal environments
- Hot desert environments and their margins
Human Geography options:
- Food supply issues
- Energy issues
- Health issues
Assessment at AS level will take the form of a 2 hour examination on Physical and Human Geography (GEOG1) and a 1 hour examination (GEOG2) based on geographical skills and generic field work questions.
Students will study a total of four units, two from the Physical options and two from the Human options.
Assessment at A2 level will consist of a 2½ hour examination (GEOG3) consisting of both short answer and essay questions and a 1½ hour examination (GEOG4B) based on an Advance Information Booklet evaluating a geographical issue.
Physical Geography options:
- Plate tectonics and associated hazards
- Weather and climate and associated hazards
- Challenges facing ecosystems
Human Geography options:
- World cities – evolution or revolution?
- Development and globalisation
- Contemporary conflicts and challenges
Bootham is used as a lecture venue for both the Royal Geographical Society and the York Branch of the Geographical Association. The programme of lectures is extensive and topical. Recent subjects have been earthquake and landslide hazard in mountainous areas, the link between devlopment and security and a look at how climate change is set to cause an increase in tectonic hazards. Every March we host an A level or GCSE conference run by specialists who deal with important geographical issues on a daily basis giving students a chance to work collaboratively as well as giving them an expert view onto topics on the curriculum.
Geography is a challenging and vibrant subject that helps equip our young citizens for the future. If you have any queries about Geography please contact the Department and we will be happy to help you.
Always remember - Geography rocks!!
GA Lectures & Events
Throughout the year there are a number of prestigious GA events. Click here for the 2012/13 programme.
All of these events are held at Bootham in the main hall starting at 7.15pm.
In February 2011 Dr Samarthia Thankappan delivered a wonderfully enthusiastic lecture on the concept of sustainable development. She focused on over consumption of food and energy in more economically developed countries. Click here to view the presentation.
In November 2011,Dr Adrian Leftwich from the Department of Politics at York University gave a fascinating lecture for the York Branch of the Geographical Association. He talked about institutions (both formal and informal) and their link to development. Click here to view the lecture.
In January 2012, Professor David Petley from the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience at Durham University gave a lecture on earthquake induced landslides in mountainous areas. Click here to view the lecture.
Click here to view Bill McGuire's lecture on "Waking the Giant" - how a changing climate triggers earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes.
In October 2012, Dr David Rippin gave a lecture on The Future of Glaciers as Climate Changes. Click here to view the lecture.
Click here to view to view a presentation from Dave Oglethorpe, Professor of Environmental Sustainability from Sheffield University on environmental anamolies of food supply.
Pioneers of Social Reform
Read more about the early reformers who influenced Government thinking.
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