Promoting a spirit of enquiry is central to Geography at Queen Elizabeth's School: we seek to get students asking questions about the world around them.
The Geography Department develops geographical skills through map work, photograph analysis and text work. ICT is employed throughout teaching, including use of the School's Geographical Information Systems (GIS). There are electronic whiteboards in all classrooms. We foster higher-level thinking skills such as synthesis, analysis and critical evaluation. We make the criteria for success very clear, and boys are expected to undertake frequent self-assessment and assessment by their peers.
At Key Stage 3 Geography is based on the National Curriculum, with key themes including place, space and environmental interaction. Each year has an overall theme - such as 'citizens of the world' and six half-term topics - sustainable living for environmental citizens, for example. In Key Stage 4, the excellent Edexcel GCSE Specification A course addresses a range of key issues facing society, such as ‘how can we deal with the problem of ageing populations?’ and ‘how can we solve the problem of global warming?’ The AQA A Level course explores issues such as the management of water resources in politically unstable regions.
There are many extra-curricular opportunities for young geographers. At Key Stage 3, our Geoexplorers weekly lunchtime club focuses on fun and creative Geography, such as making and exploding volcanoes. There are also lunchtime Geography clinics providing additional support.
The Geography Sixth Form Society invites speakers from leading universities on topics such as glaciation and GIS. Other Sixth Form opportunities include subscriptions to Geography Review, access to an independent study area and revision sessions before modular examinations. Pupils applying to universities are offered visits, discussion seminars based on university-level reading materials, guidance on where to apply and assistance with personal statements and preparing for interview.
As fieldwork is an essential part of Geography, opportunities exist at all ages, ranging from mapping land use in Barnet during Year 7 to a seven-day visit to the Cevennes National Park in France at AS/A2 Level.
Competitions are a popular aspect of Geography at QE. All Year 7 boys take part in our Geography through the Window competitions. Boys in Years 8-10 compete against other schools in the Geographical Association Worldwise Quiz. We also have a strong record in the Young Geographer of the Year Competition run by Geographical Magazine.