Geography

The Geography Department aims to foster and develop an understanding of the world around us for students aged 11-18.  We are housed in a dedicated block of three newly refurbished classrooms with a Sixth Form study room containing its own library and resource materials.  Geography is taught to all students in Years 7-9 and covers a wide range of physical, human and environmental topics. We aim to engender enthusiasm for the subject through a wide range of learning activities in and out of the classroom. Geography offers a mix of theoretical and practical learning and the subject allows our students to develop excellent transferrable skills, including ICT, report-writing, completing enquiries, essay-writing, communication and presentation skills and personal skills such as time management and independent study. We are a thriving department with enthusiastic students and strong uptake in the option years, and we aim to create geographers of the future by making use of high-quality resources. We use fieldwork to enhance learning from the classroom and we are blessed with a wonderful site that lends itself to such activities as field sketching, microclimate studies, exploring weathering and erosion and sampling vegetation. We also aim to explore further afield through our varied fieldwork portfolio.

Academic Programme

Geography at Key Stage 3 is a diverse curriculum that covers Physical, Human and Environmental Geography. In Year 7, students develop skills that will equip them in future years, including map work, source interpretation and presenting ideas in different formats. Year 7 students also study Weather & Climate, Settlements and our local area. Year 8 students study Rivers & Coasts, Industry and Environmental Issues, including a focus on rainforests as changing ecosystems. Year 9 topics include Earthquakes & Volcanoes, Tourism, Fashion & Sport and Population Issues.

At GCSE, students follow the AQA Geography A specification. 75% of their final grade is split between two examinations for Human and Physical Geography. The remaining 25% is coursework, based on a piece of local fieldwork. Students study a variety of topics including Population, Tourism, Globalisation, Weather & Climate, The Coastal Zone and Restless Earth. Students are regularly assessed through past paper questions, end of topic assessments, mock and end of year examinations.

Students in the Sixth Form follow the OCR specification. In Year 12, there are two examinations, Human and Physical Environments. In Human Geography the topics are Urban Environments, Energy Issues and Tourism. In Physical Geography the topics are Rivers, Coasts and Arid Environments. In Year 13, there are two further units of study. Unit F763, Global Issues, is largely essay-based and topics studied include Earth Hazards, Population & Resources and Globalisation. Unit F764, Geographical Skills, is an enquiry-based unit that involves the practical application of geographical skills and techniques.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Geography comes to life outside the classroom and fieldwork is an integral part of the subject, whether it is on or off the school site. Our fantastic site and grounds provide opportunities for a rich diversity of on-site fieldwork. This includes live mapping exercises, field sketching and the study of microclimates around the school in Year 7. In Year 8 students can carry out investigations of weathering around the school site and explore the different ecosystems, from fields to woodland. Outside of school fieldwork opportunities are focused around the requirements of our examination groups. Our GCSE students conduct urban fieldwork in Leicester as part of their coursework and there is a Norfolk residential at the end of the summer term to further develop their geographical skills and understanding. Sixth Form geographers have a wide variety of opportunities including a residential to Snowdonia at the end of Year 12 and several local fieldwork days in Year 13. There is also a bi-annual international residential, with past destinations including the Bay of Naples, China and New York.

Lunchtime clubs provide support for students with coursework and preparing for examinations, along with support for students completing prep. The Geography and History departments also combine for the Model United Nations Society, an exciting initiative which culminates in an international schools conference at Kingswood School, Bath. Students have the opportunity to learn about and debate important, often controversial issues such as climate change, conflicts and trade.

Staff

Mr Michael Lambert, Head of Geography, – mlambert@ratcliffe.leics.sch.uk
Mr Andrzej Dziemianko - adziemianko@ratcliffe.leics.sch.uk
Mr Mark Balmbra - mbalmbra@ratcliffe.leics.sch.uk
Miss Chrissy Papadopoulou - cpapadopoulou@ratcliffe.leics.sch.uk