Geography is about understanding the world around us and how we interact with that world. Geographers explore both the physical properties of Earth’s surface, the human societies that inhabit and how they both change over time.
At Notre Dame students develop essential skills such as independent and group work, analysis and interpretation of a wide variety of data sources, whilst developing a sense of social and environmental responsibility.
The Geography Department is very well equipped with up to date textbooks and access to a wide range of digital resources. Within the department there are three enthusiastic specialist Geography teachers, who ensure each lesson is interesting and includes a variety of activities.
At all levels students are provided with frequent opportunities to understand and use Geographical Information Systems (GIS), in order to learn how digital mapping and geo-located data are creating a revolution in the way that geographers can find sustainable ways to improve people’s lives, economic activity and the environment.
Notre Dame geographers have a range of opportunities to extend and enrich their learning by conducting field work in the school grounds, in the local area and further afield including trips to the Henley Museum of Rivers and Rowing, Shrewsbury and the Long Mynd in Shropshire and also south Devon.
At Key Stage 3, we aim to inspire a love of Geography. The programme of study allows pupils to gain an appreciation of up-to-date geographical concepts and a development of geographical knowledge, with a renewed emphasis on places. Topics studied include Map Skills, Settlement, Population, Migration, Tectonics and Ecosystems.
At GCSE we study the AQA Specification. Students learn in depth about Tectonic and Meteorological Hazards, UK Landscapes, Ecosystems, Urbanisation, Development and The Economic World. Alongside the Human and Physical Examinations, there is a fieldwork assessment and the students are prepared for this by experiencing fieldwork in two contrasting environments – urban and rural.
The Edexcel A level specification that we follow represents an exciting mix of human and physical topics, including contemporary areas such as Health and Human Rights and more traditional ones such as Tectonics and Globalisation. The students’ learning is supported with a residential field trip to Devon and fieldwork days in the London Docklands and the Sussex coast.
Further learning opportunities include quizzes, lectures and visiting speakers. The department is an active member of the Geographical Association and the Royal Geographical Society. We are proud to have recently been awarded for the second time, both ‘Secondary Geography Quality Mark’ and ‘Centre of Excellence’ status, becoming the first of only two secondary schools in Surrey to achieve both awards. This recognised a range of achievements by the students and staff, effective feedback processes and the outward-facing approach we take to geographical learning by supporting other schools.