Geography

“Geography illuminates the past, explains the present and prepares us for the future, what could be more important than that!” (Michael Palin CBE)

Geography is about the world in which we live and on which we depend. It seeks to explain how landscapes, people, places and the fragile environment are all interwoven. Geography aims to foster a curiosity, awareness and understanding of our changing world.

Lower School

The Key Stage 3 course follows a thematic approach in a number of topics.  Within Form 1 the students are given an introduction to the key Geographical skills and then investigate a number of topics on a variety of scales.  To support their understanding of the local area they undertake a fieldtrip to the Wye Valley early in the Michaelmas term.  The Form 2 students investigate a balance of physical and human topics ranging population to glaciation which is supported by a field course to the Brecon Beacons in the Michaelmas term.  In Form 3 the students take the opportunity to study further broad suite of topics including Natural Hazards, Globalisation and Development.  The year is finished with a trip to Cardiff Bay which allows them to assess the success of the urban redevelopment within the city.

GCSE

Students who opt to continue studying geography at GCSE follow the OCR ‘B’ GCSE Geography syllabus. The syllabus consists of one terminal exam paper, one decision making exam and a piece of fieldwork assessed through controlled assessment.  The final exam carries 50% of the total mark, the decision making exam 25%, and the controlled assessment 25%.  In 2013 55% of students studying Geography at Monmouth School gained an A* or and A, and 95% of students gained A*-C.

The main part of the syllabus covers work for the final ‘Geography Themes’ exam, and includes the following themes:

  • Population & Settlement (including the population explosion, population controls, migration, world mega-cities and urban regeneration)
  • Natural Hazards (including earthquakes, volcanoes, tropical storms and drought)
  • Economic Development (including world development differences, world trade, industrial location, changing employment structures, and aid)

A Level

Geography at A-level gives an insight into some of the most significant issues that are currently shaping our world. We will develop your knowledge and understanding of how China’s geo-political rise is affecting the traditional superpowers, of how climate change is really impacting everyone on the planet or of how rebranding strategies around Taunton have changed the area over the past ten years. Furthermore the course will develop a number of highly useful skills including group work, , independent data collection, writing reports, presenting to your peers and developing synthesis skills. There will be a four day residential trip during the Lent Term to North Somerset. Whilst there, you will be collecting valuable data on Rebranding and Crowded Coasts in preparation for the Unit 2 exam.

Geography A-level allows students to keep open a large percentage of higher education options. It will equip you with a lot of valuable transferable skills (ICT, group work, oral presentations, report writing and project management) that will be a real benefit to most degrees. These skills are also ones that employers are looking for in graduates from university. Since geographers are both literate and numerate many careers are open to them, such as the Financial Services, Retailing, Human Resource Management, Engineering and Journalism.  In 2013 91% of A Level Monmouth Geographers gained an A*- C grade and 55% gained an A*-B grade.

Extra-curricular

The department is a member of the Royal Geographical Society and Geographical Association. The local branch of the Geographical Association provides quizzes for lower school pupils as well regular opportunities for sixth formers to attend lectures at the University of Bristol and Cardiff Geography Departments.