Geography

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

Monmouth School for Boys geography

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 Year 7 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 field trip to the Wye Valley early in the Michaelmas term.  The Year 8 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 Year 9 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

Why study geography?

The Edexcel course is designed to engage students critically with real world issues and places. Current world issues linked to North Korea and the USA, global trade and Brexit, the carbon cycle and climate change are integral to A level geography. The course has a contemporary issues-based approach with an emphasis on geo-political issues linked to global trade, political institutions, global environmental issues linked to energy and water resources. Students also learn a wide range of geographical skills and fieldwork.
Being a social science geography has links with many subjects including: biology, business, chemistry, economics, ethics, history and mathematics. There has never been a more important time to study geography with growing interest in issues such as resource use, climate change, migration and environmental degradation.
As a facilitating subject an A level in geography opens doors. You will find that studying geography is an excellent step towards a wide range of university courses and/or employment opportunities. Geographers are highly employable, possessing a wide range of transferable skills (problem solving, decision making, report writing and team work) essential to the modern work place. Geography graduates have one of the highest rates of graduate employment, pursuing a wide range of career paths.

Monmouth School for Boys and Monmouth School for Girls follow the same specification.

Head of Department: Mr G.F. Stentiford


Course content

Board: Edexcel   A level Syllabus Code: 9 GEO

The course is broadly split between human and physical topics, however there is a constant interdependence between the two that is reinforced throughout the course.  The topics include:

Tectonics processes and hazards Landscape systems, processes and change Water cycle and water insecurity
Carbon Cycle and Energy Security Globalisation Shaping Places – Regenerating places
Superpowers Global Development and Connections, Health, human rights and Intervention Migration, Identity and Sovereignty

Fieldwork

All students will attend a residential fieldtrip to meet the exam board requirement of 4 days of fieldwork, where they will investigate a range of locations and differing geographical techniques.  The data they will collect will be used to develop an independent geographical investigation of 4-5,000 words.


Method of assessment

Unit 1 – Physical World 9GEO/01

You will be examined on all physical topics studied over the two year course. Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes. 30% of the A level qualification.

Unit 2 – Dynamic Places 9GEO/02

You will be examined on all human topics studied over the two year course. Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes. 30% of the A level qualification.

Unit 3 – Geographical Issues 9GEO/03

A synoptic style written examination supported by a resource booklet: 2 hours 15 minutes. 20% of the A level qualification.

Unit 4 – Independent Investigation 9GEO/04

4000-5000 word fieldwork investigation report. 20% of the A level qualification.

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.