The King's School in Macclesfield

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      Geography

      About the Department

      The Geography department consists of five full-time subject specialist teachers. The department is well resourced, and a wide range of the latest textbooks, maps, online journal subscriptions, DVD titles and fieldwork equipment are used.

      Examination Results

      GCSE: In 2017, 69% of pupils achieved an A*-B

      A Level: In 2017, 95% of pupils achieved an A*-B

      The Good Schools Guide rated King’s Geography as the highest achieving nationally for boys at AS Level Geography in 2014. Up to 50% of A Level students select to read the subject (or a derivative of) each year at university, including Oxbridge applications.

      Subject Content & Syllabus

      In Years 7, 8 and 9 Geography is a compulsory subject and the course is aligned with the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum. Pupils receive 4 periods per fortnight of Geography teaching plus approximately 1 hour of homework. Field trips focus on the local climate of east Cheshire, urban regeneration in Macclesfield town centre and overfishing at the Blue Planet Aquarium.

      Typically 80 pupils opt to continue with the subject into Key Stage 4/GCSE, following the AQA Examina- tion board, which is a linear course. Class sizes are 15 - 20 in Years 10 and 11 and pupils receive 6 peri- ods per fortnight of Geography teaching with around 2hr 40m of homework.  Themes such as Natural Hazards, Ecosystems and Managing Resources are studied along with visits to Snowdonia to study glacia- tion and the local river Dane for fluvial processes.

      At A Level, the teaching of each set is divided between two members of the department (one for Physi- cal Geography and one for Human Geography) who usually take the group for both years. A large num- ber, typically 20 pupils, select Geography at A Level, receiving 12 periods of teaching per fortnight. A range of extended homework assignments surmounting to 4/5 hours per week, are assigned. Class sizes range from 5-15 and the AQA examination board is followed at present with the course being linear. A week long residential trip to North Wales embellishes learning in the classroom and forms the basis of a coursework assignment.

      The department fosters a strong commitment to fieldwork, with every year group enjoying at least one local day trip, thus enriching subject understanding. In addition, ‘wow and awe’ Geography tours to locations, such as the European Alps, West Coast of the USA, Iceland and Naples/Sicily are arranged.

      Geography workshops are open to all pupils at lunchtime one day per week in both Divisions, giving pu- pils one-to-one assistance with any Geography-related problems. A weekly Geography Club is held at both sites, with activities such as the National Worldwise Quiz and designing exploding volcanoes!

      Monitoring & Assessment

      At Key Stage 3, during each half-term, all pupils undertake end of unit assessments, ranging from traditional exams to group presentations, individual projects and extended written work.

      At Key Stage 4, to replicate what pupils will face at the end of the course, all are monitored and assessed at the end of each half-term in the form of an end of unit mock exam paper based on past external exam questions.

      At Key Stage 5, internal progress examinations are taken in January for Y12 and November for Y13, while weekly exam and essay tasks are set.

      Finally, internal summer end of year examinations are taken at the end of Years 7, 8, 9 and 10.  Whole school mocks for Y11 in January, while public exams (GCSE, A Level examinations) are taken in the summer of Years 11, 12 and 13.

      Enrichment Opportunities

      • ‘Geographer of the Year’ Competition Royal Geographical Society (won in 2016 by a King’s stu- dent).
      • Geographical Association’s Worldwise Quiz NW England – internal rounds and inter-school final (third place in 2015).
      • Geographical Associations’ World Geography Olympiad Competition (Winners 2013, George Wood represented the UK in Kyoto, Japan).
      • Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge Land Economy Competition.
      • Institute of Royal Town Planning Competition.
      • Geographical Association Manchester Branch – evening twice termly lectures at Manchester Uni.
      • Geographical Association’s UN Debating Competition, Manchester Branch (KS5, winners 2014).
      • Liverpool University lectures day – ran by research staff on population and energy.
      • Pupils can subscribe to academic journals (KS4&5) including; Worldwide, Geographical Review, Geographical, National Geographic, Topic eye and there are reading lists for each and every year group.

      Careers

      Geography is a traditional and well-respected academic subject and as such there are numerous career avenues. For example; mineral exploration, town planning/regeneration, meteorology, tourism, survey- ing, GIS (Geographical Information Systems – computer mapping/model forecasting), architecture & property development, environmental & conservation roles (Environment Agency etc.), teaching/ education, alternative/renewable energy, transportation & logistics, government & political roles as well as journalism & foreign correspondents to name but a few!

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