Geography

The subject of geography involves a wide range of issues that are always in the news, from immigration and the pensions crisis, to earthquakes and floods, planning problems in cities, poverty, globalisation, and climate change. We aim to encourage in our pupils a sense of curiosity, exploration and delight in the complex world in which they live.

Boys in Year 7 learn the basic tools and skills for successful geographical study. We focus on interpreting images, map skills, developing more extensive writing using geographical language, presenting and analysing data, and particularly explore the geography of Birmingham and the West Midlands, as well as weather and climate. In Year 8, boys are asked to explore themes arising from a comparison of the USA and India including contrasts in population, development and wealth, the economy and culture.

In Year 9, we begin the study of the Edexcel IGCSE Geography course, which provides opportunities to study both the physical world and human issues, using an exciting range of global examples. Topics covered through Years 9 to 11 include: river environments; earthquakes and volcanoes; urban environments; coastal environments; economic activity and energy; and globalisation and migration. Contemporary social and political issues, such as the causes and impacts of industrial change, migration, poverty, ethnic segregation, congestion, crime, pollution and poor housing are central to our teaching. Typically, around 90 boys opt to study geography at IGCSE.

  • Sixth Form

    The IB geography course enables boys to deepen their knowledge and understanding of some of the topics tackled at IGCSE whilst also exploring new areas of the subject.

    The Core, taken by both Standard and Higher Level pupils is based around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and explores the geographical foundations of the key global issues of our time: changing population; global climate; and global resource consumption and security. All pupils also complete a 2,500-word internal assessment, which is a piece of coursework presenting the findings of a fieldwork investigation.

    Supplementing the Core, all pupils study two additional topics: oceans and their coastal margins; and urban environments. In addition, Higher Level pupils also study extreme environments and a Higher Level extension course, global interactions (a detailed examination of the economic, socio-political and cultural causes and impacts of globalisation).

    Usually 30-40 boys per year study geography at IB. Geography has for many years been a popular choice of university course for KES leavers and the department has a proud record of sending students to excellent universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.

  • Fieldwork

    Fieldwork is a key part of our teaching programme and includes visits to the Shropshire Hills for river and landscape studies in Year 9, two IGCSE field days in Year 10 studying urban geography in Birmingham and coastal geography on the Somerset Coast, a four day IB1 field trip in Year 12 to North Yorkshire to study urban and coastal environments and an IB2 field day in Year 13 to Lyme Regis for internal assessment data collection. The Department also runs regular extra-curricular trips to Iceland.


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