Welcome to the Geography Department. This is a dynamic and thriving department within the school, consisting of five committed and enthusiastic members of staff.
Geography at Burford School offers an exciting opportunity to study both the natural and human worlds using contemporary issues and case studies. The subject content provokes and answers questions about people, place and the environment, through the use of enquiry processes. It inspires our students to think about their own place in the world and encourages a sense of empathy with the opinions, values, rights and responsibilities of other people in the world. Geography also develops a wide range of transferable, interpersonal skills, such as problem solving, report writing, ICT, presentation and mapping. These skills are useful in future study and careers, as Geography qualifications are well respected and geographers are increasingly sought after in the workplace.
A mixed ability teaching approach is used to achieve success with carefully researched and differentiated materials. A wide variety of teaching methods, materials and ICT resources are used. Students are actively involved in the learning process, through a strong focus on reflection and evaluation as well as showing great resourcefulness, resilience and responsiveness.
The subject has an extremely high uptake of students for the GCSE course, with up to 70% of the year group opting to study Geography each year. This success continues into ‘A’ Level, with over 50 students currently undertaking AS and A2 exams. Geography is one of the most successful departments in the school and we are proud of the impressive results that our students achieve.
Staff and facilities
The Geography Department is led by Mr Todd-Jones and supported by four further teachers and an experienced teaching assistant We are well resourced within the department in terms of resources and geographical expertise.
The Department runs a number of field trips both locally and further afield. Examples include Year 7 field work in Burford, Year 8 Tectonics trip to the Natural History Museum, GCSE trips along the River Windrush and in Bourton-on-the-Water, as well as a residential week to Slapton Field Study Centre, in Devon, and an overseas field trip [Iceland or the Bay of Naples] for A Level students.
At Key Stage 3, all students undertake fieldwork in the local area. In line with our curriculum, students are encouraged to develop their geographical understanding of local scale issues before progressing to more national and international issues. At KS5, we also run an optional, biennial overseas trip. In 2017, we explored tectonic activity in the Bay of Naples.
As part of our commitment to enhancing the learning of more able, enthusiastic, and Gifted and Talented students, we also run Enrichment Days for KS3 students annually. These day courses, located in the school library, provide challenging situations and tasks for students to solve.
Finding out more through Twitter
At AS and ‘A’ level, students are encouraged to peruse current geographical news by following our departmental Twitter account @burfordgeog. The account is regularly updated with links to the course and stimulates discussion amongst students.
Each academic year, we also run a number of House Competitions, including photography competitions, quizzes and creative writing tasks. We have also introduced a competition to find Burford School’s Young Geographer of the Year, linking up with a national competition run by the Royal Geographical Society.
Key Stage 3
Geography is a compulsory subject at Key Stage 3 with three lessons over a fortnight taught in Year 7 and Year 9 and two lessons a week in Year 8. The department has prepared challenging work booklets for Key Stage 3 including a range of differentiated tasks, supplemented by ICT and other additional resources.
In Year 7 students cover:
- an introduction to mapping skills.
- environmental issues within the school environment and National Parks.
- approaches to the improvement of areas and the likely impacts of such changes.
- the formation of different landscapes.
- the formation of settlements focusing on Burford and the local area.
In Year 8, students cover
- further development of map skills and improved atlas skills.
- industry, its location and the impacts of industrial change and globalisation.
- tectonic hazards, including their impact on Japan.
- causes of settlement growth and the benefits and drawbacks of city living.
In Year 9 students begin to look more globally through:
- global population and migration issues.
- social, cultural, environmental and economic aspects of China.
- coastal erosion, landforms and management schemes.
Key Stage 4: Eduqas GCSE Geography B
At GCSE, the subject is taught according to the Eduqas GCSE Geography specification B. The course promotes fieldwork enquiry techniques and mathematical analysis through the 30% Applied Fieldwork element, while also considering a number of geographical issues through in-depth case study and problem solving investigations.
The following topics are covered:
Theme 1: Changing Places – Changing Economies
Theme 2: Changing Environments
Theme 3: Environmental Challenges
Following a course in GCSE Geography enables students to develop a number of key skills which not only makes them successful geographers but are transferrable to other subjects across the curriculum and to life. They become effective and independent learners, critical, reflective thinkers with enquiring minds, and acquire an understanding of their role and responsibilities as global citizens.
Key Stage 5: Edexcel ‘A’ Level Geography
At A2 level the subject is taught to the Edexcel specification and consists of four examinations.
Area of Study 1: Dynamic Landscapes [Tectonic Hazards and Coastal Landscapes]
Area of Study 3: Physical Systems and Sustainability [Water Insecurity and Energy Security]
Area of Study 2: Dynamic Places [Globalisation and Regenerating Places]
Area of Study 4: Human Systems and Geopolitics [Superpowers and Migration]
A synoptic investigation based on a geographical issue within a place-based context. The theme will link to the three synoptic themes of Players, Attitudes and Actions, and Futures and Uncertainties.
Coursework: Independent Investigation
This enables students to carry out their own independent investigation into a topic of interest relating to the compulsory content. Students will be required to collect and interpret fieldwork data using statistical analysis, and produce a written report of 3000-4000 words.
There are a variety of teaching methods used throughout the course including opportunities for research, role play, essay writing, displays, decision making exercises, GIS analysis and fieldwork investigations. There are also fieldwork exercises and local opportunities as well as access to our ‘A’ level Twitter account for staying up-to-date with current geographical news stories.