Geography is a broad-based subject. It is inherently multidisciplinary in a world that increasingly values people who have the skills needed to work across the physical and social sciences.
At QE, boys are provided with an expansive geographical education that is up-to-date and relevant; they thus learn to recognise the value of Geography in tackling many of the challenges the world currently faces.
We aim to engender a spirit of enquiry, nurturing in pupils an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of Earth’s physical and human environments, and the interrelationships between them. Geography thus teaches boys a particular way of viewing the world, enabling them to consider issues from a holistic perspective and to reflect upon their own place in society – on their values, their rights and their responsibilities towards other people and the environment.
In lessons, 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. A range of teaching methods is used, including debates, presentations, mystery tasks and group work. ICT is employed throughout teaching, including the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) such as Google Earth and ArcGIS.
Classroom learning is complemented by fieldtrips, which give pupils the opportunity to consolidate and extend their geographical understanding by relating their classroom learning to real-life experiences. In time, boys – particularly those who go on to study the subject at GCSE and A-level – become skilled at planning, undertaking and evaluating fieldwork. At A-level, fieldwork demands a high degree of responsibility from the pupils, which develops their independent research skills and report-writing.
QE geographers enjoy a very large number of extra-curricular opportunities. Fieldtrips include international visits, such as our annual tour for younger boys: destinations have included Iceland and Switzerland. Also for Years 7-9, there is the weekly GeoHeroes club as well as the lunchtime clinics providing additional academic support.
The Geography Sixth Form Society is frequently addressed by invited speakers from leading universities. Other Sixth Form opportunities include attendance at Royal Geographical Society lectures.
Competitions are a popular aspect of Geography at QE. 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 the Geographical Association.
Pupils applying to universities are offered visits, discussion seminars based on university-level reading materials, guidance on where to apply, assistance with personal statements and help in preparing for interviews.