About the Department
Our department has a shared vision as we aim to:
- Be the best Geography Department we can possibly be.
- Build a unique and exciting learning community that goes beyond the curriculum.
- Foster a spirit of enquiry and the 'need to know' amongst our students.
- Share good practice to support a coherent approach to teaching and learning.
- Nurture links with other departments within St Thomas More Catholic Academy through cross-curricular themes.
- Address the ECM agenda by delivering a high quality vibrant teaching and learning experience for every learner.
- Enable each person's continued personal and professional development
The department is suited on the ground floor in the Maria block. Each one has its own storeroom and plasma screen along with wireless internet connection and printer. There are two laptop trolleys, totalling 30 laptop computers. These can be booked out by staff and enable a far greater amount of internet research and ICT related activities in all key stages. There is a range of modern fieldwork equipment, extensive map collection and a broad selection of library books.
Curriculum aims of the Department
Geography is a diverse subject and there are many possible approaches to the teaching of Geography. The aim of the KS3 course is intended to introduce students to the full scope of the subject from the start. The programme of study in each year at KS3 incorporates a variety of places, scales and issues and is planned for progression of skills, knowledge and understanding. KS3 has also been planned as a solid foundation for KS4 and KS5 studies. The rationale for the KS4 and KS5 courses is based on the chosen specifications.
Learning and undertaking activities in Geography at STM contributes to achievement of the curriculum aims for all young people to become:
- Successful learners – who progress and achieve
- Confident individuals – who lead safe and healthy lives
- Responsible citizens – who make a positive contribution to society
The Geography Department endeavours to:
- Provide a rich curriculum for all years.
- Stimulate students by the work set to fulfil their potential.
- Emphasise student achievements.
- Prepare thoughtful schemes of work that demonstrate progression.
- Provide differentiated learning resources and situations.
- Provide creative and intellectually appealing lesson experiences for all.
- Provide opportunities for students to take responsibility for their own work and to work positively with others.
- Provide opportunities to learn about, discuss and reflect on moral issues and create an environment in which respect for others is evident in all conduct and relationships.
- Value each student and treat each as an individual.
- Have a clear equal opportunities policy.
About year 7 curriculum
Units in Year 7 are intended to build on and consolidate KS2 experiences and stimulate interest in enthusiasm for Geography thus local places and distant places are studied and skills are developed. Students come to STM with varying experiences of KS2 Geography and so in Year 7 courses are designed to establish their understanding through developing their awareness of the subject, competence in basic skills and their existing geographical knowledge and help them develop a 'personal Geography' and appreciation of place.
Autumn - Passport to the World (Local to global map skills).
Spring - Tomorrow's World (Environmental Sustainability)
Summer - Global Climate Chaos (Global Warming/Climate Change/Wild Weather), Future Earth Fieldwork (Newcastle town centre)
Homework is set on a regular basis – a mix of smaller tasks and larger projects are set and work is monitored every fortnight.
About year 8 curriculum
Units in yr8 focus on studies at national and international scales including a mix of human and physical themes.
Autumn - The Restless Earth (Plate Tectonics)
Spring - Born Survivor (Extreme Ecosystems)
Summer -Our Divided World (Development and Globalisation)
Homework is set on a regular basis – a mix of smaller tasks and larger projects are set set and work is monitored every fortnight.
About year 9 curriculum
In year 9, the first year of GCSE students are given the opportunity to develop their skills through a range of activities designed to stretch their ability and ease the transition from yr 8. This includes group enquiry projects based on a local piece of fieldwork. This varies year to year and has included destinations such as Alton Towers and Chester.
In the Spring term, students begin the GCSE course with Unit 1 of the AQA A Geography Syllabus.
Unit 1 includes:
- Physical Geography (1 exam of 1½ hours worth 37.5%)
- Plate Tectonics
UNIT 1: Living with the Physical Environment
Section A: The challenge of natural hazards
Section B: Physical landscapes in the UK
Section C: The living world
UNIT 2: Challenges in the Human Environment
Section A: Urban issues and challenges
Section B: The changing economic world
Section C: The challenge of resource management
UNIT 3: Geographical Applications
Section A: Issue evaluation (pre-release paper in March)
Section B: Fieldwork and Geographical skills
How am I assessed?
Unit 1 exam – 1.5 hours, worth 35% of GCSE (88 marks including 3SPAG)
Unit 2 exam – 1.5 hours, worth 35% of GCSE (88 marks including 3SPAG)
Unit 3 exam – 1 hour, worth 30% of GCSE (76 marks including 6 SPAG)
The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives:
AO1: Demonstrate knowledge of locations, places, processes, environments and different scales (15%).
AO2: Demonstrate geographical understanding of: concepts and how they are used in relation to places, environments and processes; the inter-relationship between places and processes (25%).
AO3: Apply knowledge and understanding to interpret, analyse and evaluate geographical information and issues to make judgements (35%, including 10% applied to fieldwork context(s)).
AO4: Select, adapt and use a variety of skills and techniques to investigate questions and issues and communicate findings (25%, including 5% used to respond to fieldwork data and context(s)).
About year 12 curriculum
- Physical and Human Geography (70% of AS and 30% of A level)
- 2 hour written examination (120 marks) Structured short and extended questions.
- Population and Energy
- Rivers and Coasts
- Geographical Skills (30% of AS and 15% of A level)
- 1 hour written examination (50marks) Structured skills and generic fieldwork questions.
- Based on 1 day fieldtrip to River Manifold
About year 13 curriculum
- Contemporary Geography Issues (30% of A level)
- 2½ hour written examination (90marks) Structured short and extended questions, plus an essay.
- Weather and Climate
- Plate Tectonics
- Geography Fieldwork Investigation (20% of A level)
- 1½ hours written examination (60 marks)
- Based on 3 day residential fieldtrip to Cornwall studying Coastal Processes and Tourism
Extra-curricular activities and clubs
- Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme – The award is run at 3 levels- Bronze, Silver and Gold. There are 4 categories of challenge: Expedition, Service to the Community, Skills and Service to the Community. Expeditions take place in the Peak District and Snowdonia.
- Model making – Year 7 make 3D contour models and year 8 participate in the annual model volcano competition.
- Project Geog clubs – in the summer term environmental projects take place over 4-6 week periods to cover a range if interesting environmental issues e.g. butterfly farm and building a renewable house.
The department has 3 full time, qualified geographers.
Head of Department – Mrs I Adams
Qualifications: BA (Hons) Environmental Studies (2:1)
PGCE Secondary Education, Keele University
A Levels: Geography B; English B, Music D
Experience: Geography Teacher (2002- present) to all key stages from 2004.
Assistant HoY to year 9 (2003-4);
Head of year 10-11 (2004-8). Subject leader in Geography (2008-present).
Favourite Place in the World: My favourite place in the World is Hawaii, USA. Some of my favourite memories include the helicopter ride over the eruption of Mt Kilauea into the Pacific Ocean, as well as our adventure to the summit of the tallest mountain on earth (measured from base), Mauna Kea at 4,207m high - watching the stars from the largest observatories on Earth. Once in a lifetime experiences - that will never be forgotten!
A dream destination for me would be to go to New Zealand to explore the real Middle Earth! The diverse coastlines, wildlife, mountains, glaciers and the culture... so much to see and do. What an adventure that would be.
My roles/responsibilities are as follows:
- To communicate a shared vision of the role of Geography in the school curriculum and its contribution to young peoples' lives and learning. To formulate and deliver departmental policy in line with College policy.
- To be responsible for Schemes of Work for Human geography topics at KS4 and 5.
- To ensure all administrative paperwork is in place for some fieldwork.
- To coordinate department staff in the organisation of residential/non-residential fieldwork activities.
- To take responsibility for exams and exam entries.
- To track student progress from year 7 – 13. To coordinate collection of data for termly grades.
- To chair/record regular departmental meetings and feedback from CDG.
- To support the professional development of the staff within the department.
- To act as mentor for ATs/NQTs.
- To manage and make effective and efficient use of resources. To allocate departmental capitation in order to move the department forward.
- To contribute to all newsletters in order to inform students, parents and Governors off all activities within the department.
- To reflect and evaluate by finding out what is good about teaching and learning in Geography and how it might be improved.
- To monitor implementation of the marking/assessment policy through sampling student exercise books each half term.
- To Line Manage members of the department.
Giles D Millington
Qualifications: BSC Human Ecology
Experience: Geography Teacher (2003- present) to all key stages from 2004.
History Teacher (2003- 2011) –yr7/11 and PE teacher (2003 -2007) – yr7/11
Assistant Head of the 6th form (2004 -2008) and Head of a KS4 year group ( 2008 -2011)
Director of the 6th form (2011 –present)
Favourite Places in the World: Yosemite National Park – unspoilt, wild, superb scenery, half dome mountain, giant redwoods. Fraser Island Australia – largest sand island in the world, wild with no humans except tourists and has amazing scenery.
A dream destination would be: The Maldives- the beaches, the gorgeous, the culture sea and very soon they will be underwater!
My roles/responsibilities are as follows:
- To be responsible for SoW for Physical geography topics at KS5. To update the schemes of work on an annual basis. To share new resources with staff.
- To assist SL in the organisation/participation of fieldwork activities. In particular being responsible for the Manifold fieldwork at KS5.
Mr Josh Ellis
Josh is our new geographer in the department – we wish him a warm welcome to STM!
My Favourite Place: My favourite place although not very exotic and sometimes very windy is the Isle of Man, stuck out in the middle of the Irish sea with its dramatic wind swept coastlines, mountains and glorious sandy beaches this is an idyllic place to get away, enjoy the quieter pace of life. As an added bonus the island boasts some of the best sea fishing in the UK and hosts the world’s most famous motorbike races once a year.
Dream Destination: My dream destination would be the USA from the city scapes of New York to the Wild West and Californian beaches this country has so much to offer! I would love nothing more than to tour this country in a classic VW camper van taking in all of the amazing sites and scenery…… in between breakdowns of course!!
1st Class Hons Degree in geography from Edge Hill University.
PGCE in Geography from Edge Hill University
Roles and responsibilities:
- To settle into the department and teach good/outstanding lessons to all classes.
- To follow departmental and whole school policies in teaching and learning.
- To keep records for all students in his care and set appropriate targets for learners.
- To meet NQT standards and complete the first academic year successfully.