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Geography

Head of Department: S Powell.
Email: sam.powell@epsomcollege.org.uk

Geographers are charged with understanding the world through two lenses - from a geophysical perspective as well as a socio-economic one. We are concerned with understanding patterns and phenomena we observe in the world around us, be they physical or sociological. ‘Geography' means ‘Earth Story' and this is the story we seek to understand. A true grasp of this subject can help us to predict and prepare for an uncertain future.

Geography creates global citizens of us all; our students understand the issues facing the world now and in their future, and appreciate the complex relationships between people and place which shape our lives and our world.

The Geography Department at Epsom College is excellent. Our teachers are experts in their fields, and integrate a wide variety of teaching strategies in all lessons. We use contemporary technologies like Geographical Information Systems (GIS), weather data from our own weather station, and smart technologies found on every smart phone to enrich both classroom and outside learning. Our curriculum is built at every stage around opportunities to take our learning into the outdoors and apply what we have learned to real-world situations.

At Epsom, geography will take you to a new level of understanding of the world around you, and will equip you for whatever uncertainties the future may hold.

Fieldwork and Enrichment

Geography is a subject which requires outside study. At all levels we integrate fieldwork into our courses both as a compulsory element and as enrichment; compulsory work is local to ensure everyone is able to attend, but we look to enthuse our students with a love of the world as well, so our enrichment opportunities stretch further afield.

 In the M4 Year we visit Box Hill to conduct a microclimate study, collecting data using iPads, students' smart phones and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) before mapping the effect the landscape has on local climates using the advanced GIS software, ArcGIS.

At IGCSE in the U4 we plan to conduct coastal fieldwork in the Summer Term, as well as other local and virtual fieldwork opportunities throughout the year. In the 5th year we plan to conduct fieldwork in London examining the impact of regeneration and variations in socio-economic characteristics across the city. We also aim to have one trip in the two years which takes us further afield; in 2016 this will be a visit to the volcanoes of Sicily.

At A Level, fieldwork is a compulsory element of the course once again, and we take a 4-day field course to the Jurassic Coast and Bournemouth. There are also several opportunities to conduct other day trips throughout the year to enrich studies and to help with the individual research project. We also aim to have a trip once over the course of the two years of A Level which allows further exploration; in summer 2015 this took us to Iceland, in autumn 2016 to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, and we plan another trip to Iceland for the U6 in the October Half term of 2017.

Follow the links below to learn more about Geography at Epsom College.  

Courses

At Key Stage 3, which encompasses the Lower School and our M4 year, we follow our own course which explores all areas of the subject from a contemporary and exciting perspective.

Year 7/Third Form

  • A rough guide to Epsom - integrating a variety of essential geographical skills including mapping skills, census interpretation and fieldwork, we conduct a thorough investigation into our local area.

  • Water Works - recognising that understanding one of the most precious resources on the planet is important to our future, we explore how water shapes landscapes and civilisations and what the threats are to our future water supply.

Year 8/L4

  • Populations in Crisis - exploring the reasons for population growth, the rates of change in different parts of the world and the challenges and opportunities posed by population change.

  • Hazardous Planet - an investigation into the variety of hazards that we face here on Earth and how humankind can adapt to overcome vulnerability and even harness the power of hazards.

Year 9/M4

  • The geography of conflict

  • Role of Rocks

  • Development Dilemmas

  • Globalisation Enquiry

IGCSE

Examination Board: Edexcel. 

U4: Hazardous Environments, Economic Activity and Energy, Coastal Environments.

5th Form: Urban Environments, Globalisation and Migration.

We conduct at least four fieldwork investigations throughout the course, which can involve virtual fieldwork, local fieldwork, or trips further afield.

A2 (Last examination Summer 2017) Examination Board: AQA.

Globalisation, World Cities, Tectonic and weather hazards.

A Level (from 2016)

Examination Board: OCR

Paper 1. Physical Systems

We study the core unit; Earth's Life Support Systems (Water and Carbon Cycles) and Landscape Systems (Coastal Environments)

Paper 2. Human Interactions

The core unit is Changing Spaces; Making Places, and our two chosen options in the Global Connections unit are Global Migration and Human Rights.

Paper 3. Geographical Debates

In this paper we study two options. The first will be Disease Dilemmas and the second - to be confirmed - is likely to be Hazardous Earth.

Independent Investigation

Coursework is in the form of an independent investigation over which students have complete control of topic. We conduct a 4 day field course in the summer term in which we teach the skills through both coastal and urban fieldwork, and students define their title and conduct individual investigations on the basis of this experience.

Department Staff

Head of Department
S Powell BSc (Dunelm) MEd (Cantab) FRGS

 

Department Teaching Staff

Miss A Furlong BA (Sussex)

Mrs A Venables BSc (Bristol)

R I Whiteley MA (Cantab)

Facilities

The Geography department has some of the most up-to-date teaching facilities in the College. Laptops, iPads, personal mobile devices and other technology are regularly integrated into lessons which take place in purpose-built, airy classrooms. In the sixth form we are fortunate enough to have our own Harkness Table in the seminar room, which we use to encourage independent thought, discussion and evaluation.

Further Education and Career Prospects

Geography, as a subject which requires you to develop a wide skill-set, is a subject highly sought after by employers. The balance between intellectual skills, research skills and transferrable skills which are gained through study at A level and degree level mean that a wide variety of career options are also open to you. The list of careers is endless but includes financial risk analysis, development, research scientists, environmental analysts, oil exploration, government, planning and surveying and conservation to name but a few.

Geography was identified by The Telegraph as one of ten ‘recession-proof' degree subjects and regularly appears as one of the most employable degree subjects worldwide in post-graduation employment reviews. This is reflective of the value placed on graduates who are attuned to the world around them but have also proven ability to research, project-manage, communicate and present a wide variety of ideas effectively.