Welcome to the Geography Department

The vision of the Geography department at Harrow Way is to inspire pupils to develop a lifelong love of geography and be curious and compassionate about the world around them. The four strands of knowledge are recognised as locational, place, human/physical and geographical skills.

Geography was first systematically studied by the ancient Greeks and encompasses almost every other discipline. From enquiries such as ‘Why is Antarctica considered the greatest desert?’ to ‘How might advanced countries contribute to the poverty of others?’ Geography has great depth and breath. At Harrow Way we have spent considerable time carefully selecting when and what to teach our budding geographers.

Our department is working towards equipping students to have environmental stewardship of the world around them and develop the geographic skills needed to thrive in the 21st century and overcome the challenges which we are facing as a global community.

Geographers have long been recognised as very employable, with the skills, knowledge and understanding gained during a geography course held in high regard by employers.

Geography is not a subject which is standing still and through a students’ time at Harrow Way there are multiple fieldwork opportunities. These include international and local trips such as the Jurassic Coast and New Forest. This is fundamental in students gaining a passion for Geography as they are able to experience the living world outside the classroom.

Curriculum Content

Key Stage 3

Year 7

Students begin with the familiar local area in Year 7 and progress to regional, national and global scale increasing the depth and precision of study. Emphasis is placed on the acquisition of geographical skills and map-reading techniques, use of aerial photographs and satellite imagery as well as data handling and GIS are all incorporated into the course.

  • Wonders of the World – including world countries and key physical and human characteristics.
  • Africa – focusing on the diversity of this amazing continent.
  • China – where we focus on the physical geography of the country and it’s population.
  • Global Habitats – where we compare diverse locations whilst looking at soils and biomes of each.
  • The Geography of the UK – where we learn about our natural landscape and how humans have changed the UK to as we know it today.
  • Rivers – allows us to look at the features of rivers and the changing landscapes that they create.

Year 8

  • Megacities – investigating the challenges and opportunities created by these megacities.
  • Wild weather – we look at weather and climate around the world and how it affects people and places.
  • Volcanoes – we investigate the location and distribution as well as the potential for disaster!
  • Natural resources – asking the question and what will we do if we ever run out?
  • Coasts – allows us to look at the different rock types and weathering which change the landscape.
  • Rain forests – we investigate the challenges facing our tropical rain forests today and assess what the future holds.

Year 9

Fieldwork is an integral part of the subject and students undertake several local studies in Years 7 and 8, including to the New Forest and Lulworth Cove. In Year 9 students have the opportunity to attend a residential trip to Osmington Bay to collect fieldwork data.

  • Development – we investigate how the geography of where we live affects our quality of life.
  • Polar Environments – we investigating the coldest places on Earth and the threats they are currently facing.
  • Climate Change – research how the climate is changing from ice age to the present.
  • Earthquakes – we look at geological timescales and plate tectonics.
  • Population and Migration – we investigate the patterns of migration around the world and study the challenges and opportunities created as a result of this.
  • GCSE Geography Bootcamp – A country study preparing pupils for the skills needed in years 10 and 11.

Key Stage 4

Year 10 & 11

In Years 10 and 11 students follow the OCR GCSE Geography B syllabus.
Assessment comprises 100% written examination including a decision making exercise and assessment of fieldwork. Fieldwork in Year 10 includes a visit to Southampton to study the regeneration of West Quay Watermark; Fieldwork in Year 11 includes a visit to Swanage to study the impacts of coastal management on the natural coastal processes. We also offer a residential field trip to Naples, Italy to investigate the impacts of tourism, coastal processes and landforms, and the impacts of tectonic activity.

The topics studied in Year 10 are:

  • Global Hazards

  • Urban Futures

  • Sustaining Ecosystems

  • Resource Reliance

  • Distinctive Landscapes

The topics covered in Year 11 are:

  • UK in the 21st Century

  • Changing Climate

  • Dynamic Development