The study of geography is about more than just memorizing places on a map. It's about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exists across continents. And in the end, it's about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together.’ Barak Obama, 2012

What is Geography and Why is it Important?

Geography is the study of Earth’s landscapes, peoples, places and environments. It is, quite simply, about the world in which we live (Royal Geographical Society, 2014).

Do you want to understand the world? Are you therefore interested in studying Geography further?

You should be, because Geography tackles current issues of major importance to your generation:   

∙ Environmental responsibility – global warming, extinction of species, pollution and other issues relating to human impacts on the environment.

∙ Our global interdependence-such as debates around migration, pandemics, globalisation and the increasing links between different parts of the world.

 ∙ Cultural understanding and tolerance-the differences between countries and different societies.

 ∙ Commerce, trade and industry-we especially focus on the issue of poverty and how it can be reduced.   

 The world in which we live is likely to change more in the next 50 years than it has ever done before. Geography explains why this is and helps to prepare you for those changes

What is Geography like at St Catherine’s?

Geography at St Catherine’s aims to stay relevant and cover the issues that affect young people today. We look at all of the issues related above and link them to relevant examples, for example in Year 9 we study the impact of migration on the UK and the movement of refugees into and around the EU.

The Year 7-9 Curriculum includes a balance between Human and Physical Geography allowing students to see how natural processes and features can effect human activities. There is wide range of teaching techniques used from group work to more individually focused tasks such as project work.

What about GCSE?

GCSE Geography is a very popular option subject at St Catherine’s with and uptake of around 60% of Year 9 students and we run two classes each year. Grades have been consistently excellent with a 100% of students achieving A*-C and 50% achieving an A*-A (both 2014 and 2015).

We follow the AQA curriculum which is changing in 2016/17, we plan to cover the following concepts:

-The challenges created by natural hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes, hurricanes and global warming,

                -Ecosystems such as Rainforests and Deserts,

                -The impacts of rivers and coastal processes on the UK,

                -Urban challenges such the issues posed by shanty towns in less developed countries,

                -Issues surrounding development and poverty.

Students enjoy the subject and a large number go to take the subject at A-Level.            

What about Field Trips?

The department runs a range of trips each year, for example in Year 9 students undertake an enquiry into the effect of human activity on Box Hill in Surrey. Year 11 students enjoy a weekend of Geographical learning in Swanage, Dorset and A-Level students carry out an enquiry into the effect of tourism on fragile habitats in Rye on the South Coast.

The Geography Department also runs trips abroad that are open to students from Years 9-13, in 2015 we visited Naples in Italy and in 2016 we are visiting Iceland.


Mr D Rock  -  Head of Department

Mr C Cox