With the world becoming increasingly interconnected both economically, socially and environmentally, the study of Geography has become even more important. Whilst studying Geography at Kent College, students are able to learn important analytical skills, as well as being able to form opinions and develop understandings of both basic and complex concepts ranging from the study of coastal processes and natural hazards, to contemporary international relations such as the geopolitics of the South China Sea.
During their time at Kent College, students are able to accumulate a wealth of geographical knowledge, building on the topics studied at Key Stage 3 (Year 7 -9) and GCSE into A Level and IB so that they are able to become informed global citizens. During Geography lessons at Kent College across all Key Stages, students are given a valuable insight into how the physical and human environments in which they live are interconnected, and an understanding of how these are changing.
The enthusiasm of the teaching staff within the Geography department is infectious, with Geography being a popular subject choice at Key Stage 4 and 5. At GCSE the department follows the OCR Geography B course “Geography for an Enquiring Mind” which leads onto the OCR A Level course or IB Diploma course at Key Stage 5. All courses are packed with contemporary Geography and international links discussed in detail. All of the courses have a case study approach where concepts and issues explored are then examined within specific areas or locations. This allows the students to apply their knowledge and establish a deeper connection to the issues that are and will continue to affect their own lives.
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What skills will I learn?
The Geography Department keenly promotes the following aims throughout the school:
- The enjoyment of Geography.
- An understanding of the topicality of the subject, using current global events.
- The acquisition of basic skills in the subject including map reading, weather watching, statistical analysis and critical thinking.
- An awareness of the range of cultures and levels of economic development found in different countries.
What else will I get to do?
Experiencing Geography outside of the classroom is integral to the subject. Fieldwork features across all key stages, developing from smaller, local investigations in Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9), to residential fieldwork and individual student led research projects in Key Stage 5 (years 12-13).
Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)
Making good use of the local geographical environment close to the school, students experience a mixture of both physical and human based fieldwork. This includes the use of the school farm for development and decision making exercises, the North Kent coastline for coastal studies and Blean Woods for a study into how many trees need to be planted to offset the carbon emission from Kent College!
Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11)
A compulsory part of the OCR ‘Geography for an Enquiring Mind’ course is fieldwork of both physical and human elements which is then examined in the final examinations. Investigations into coastal processes along the North Kent Coastline and the urban process of distance decay within Canterbury are used as a part of this.
Key Stage 5 (Years 12 - 13)
Within the A Level and IB courses, fieldwork is a fundamental part of the learning of Geography. Students at this stage are able to apply their knowledge and understanding of the subject to an individually devised investigation which is student led. During the residential fieldwork week to Slapton, Devon, IB students are able to collect data for their Independent Investigation (worth between 20 - 25% of their total grade) and A Level students experience a wide range of fieldwork techniques which they are then able to apply to their own Non Examined Investigation (NEA) later on in the summer term of Year 12. Additionally, IB students are also able to work with staff to plan and execute their Extended Essay within Geography which can involve local or international research depending on the topic chosen.
Who are we?
A pupil led group which started in Jan 2019, it is a group of 30 strong, like minded, individuals representing all the year groups- Year 12 are key leaders (many are keen Geographers). There are also staff and governors, keen to offer their support. We are the Eco Warriors.
Aim: to make Kent College a more sustainable community by encouraging the best possible environmental practices in order to control and reduce the school’s direct impact on the environment.
Having already achieved the Bronze Award, and more recently the Silver Award, by focussing on three main areas from a list of ten topics:
- Waste- food waste is processed more efficiently, encouraging students to waste less, the waste is then used at the farm
- Biodiversity- this is encouraged at the farm with an eco pond, coppicing
- Energy- timers, reminders to conserve energy, Earth Hour
We are now set to go for the Green Flag award and be officially recognised as an Eco School...so much to do!
Here are just some of the specific things we have done this year:
- Green Day- a non uniform day- money raised adopted an orangutan- highlighting issues of deforestation, palm oil usage, climate change...this will now be an annual thing
- Earth Hour- the school switched off the power for one designated hour during the school day, this will be a regular event
- Beach clear up- Year 7 had a day in February clearing up the beach and then made a sculpture with what they had collected to highlight the issue to the wider school community
- Recycling art project at Lorenden Prep School
- Farm day- a group of ecologists ran the pond dipping activity to highlight the biodiversity that exists
The department has a strong tradition of leading international tours to explore some of the most exciting and interesting locations in the world. These have included trips to rainforests, deserts, mountains and volcanoes. The countries visited are varied such as Costa Rica, Nepal, New Zealand and Iceland. In recent years, conscious of the impact of such expeditions on the environment, these tours have become biennial and are developing a focus on Iceland such as the recent ‘Fire and Ice Tour’. All the tours include accessible, adventurous activities such as ice caving, hiking, zodiac boat trips on glacier lagoons and glacier hikes. Talks, lectures and detailed guides are included with an emphasis on geographical understanding and environmental appreciation. The aim of the tours is to provide an exciting and informative experience to enhance and stimulate the wider Geographical education in the school. Many students have pursued Geography further in the school in the IB / A Levels and indeed to degree level partly based on the time they spent on these trips.
The next step..
A qualification in Geography can take you far due to its multidisciplinary nature combining science, sociology, economics and politics. Recent Geography IB and A Level students have gone on to study a range of fields including:
- Geography and Planning
- Geography and Business Management
- International Relations
- International Development
- Neurological Sciences
Meet the Head of Geography
Ally Letley BA(Hons)
"After graduating from The University of Brighton I embarked on a career as a transport planner for Sussex County Council. This was an interesting application of my passion for Geography and the environment but ultimately my underlying desire to become a Geography Teacher meant a return to university to complete my PGCE. I have been a Head of Geography since 2005; it is literally the best job in the world as it allows me to engage with my favourite subject, enthuse another generation of Geographers and engage in the many extra curricular aspects of the subject for the pupils. I teach on the IB, A Level, GCSE and junior curricular and am very proud of the huge success seen by the Geography students of Kent College. Many have gone on to read Geography related degrees at leading universities as well as others that have pursued other courses, for instance Medicine, Law, Finance and Land Management.
I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively myself over recent years which has helped enrich the work of the department. I lead, with the department, international Geographical expeditions which have explored many different countries in far flung corners of the globe, again these trips are used to enrich the curriculum, enhance environmental understanding and be fun! It is difficult to single out one area of the subject that is a focus of mine as the subject is a holistic, contemporary examination of the world in which we live, the challenges we face and how they could be approached in the future. That said I am particularly keen on all aspects of demography and how this relates to the issues of economic development and climate change."
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