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 smartphone 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.
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. 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. They appreciate the complex relationships between people and place which shape our lives and our world.
Follow the links below to learn more about Geography at Epsom College.
At Key Stage 3, which encompasses the Lower School and our Year 9, we follow our own course which explores all areas of the subject from a contemporary and exciting perspective.
- A rough guide to Geography – introducing Geography as a discipline including an understanding of place and space; integrating a variety of essential geographical skills such as mapping skills; census interpretation; and fieldwork. Our fieldwork puts their mapping skills into practise.
- 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.
- 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. We spend a day investigating reasons for changes on the River Tillingbourne.
- 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.
- Weather and Climate – an investigation into weather systems in the UK and further afield, from depressions to tropical storms. Students gain an understanding of the physical processes behind our weather. Pupils take part in fieldwork onsite, studying microclimates at Epsom College.
- Development Dilemmas – we explore different ways to view and classify countries and debate the best way to do so. We think about how development is measured and presented and how this can distort the way in which a place is perceived.
- The Geography of Globalisation – we explore this important geographical concept through an enquiry into the iPhone. We investigate the human cost of the iPhone and question the costs and benefits that Globalisation has brought to our modern world.
IGCSE geographers will appreciate the different viewpoints held by different groups of people on a variety of contemporary and challenging issues facing the world today.
Through the multiple opportunities for fieldwork, we will develop and apply practical geographical enquiry skills by undertaking geographical investigations from conceptualisation through data collection and analysis.
We explore the complex nature of Hazardous Environments; developing a detailed understanding of the nature of hazards, risk, and vulnerability. This involves the exploration of coral reefs, tropical storms and tectonic hazards; the reasons for their occurrence and the factors which affect our ability to cope.
We also investigate Coastal Environments; the processes and systems at work and the landscapes and ecosystems which are found on global coasts. Coasts are also considered as a resource and conflicts over their use are an integral part of their study. Pupils are engaged in fieldwork in Seaford and Cuckmere Haven, examining coastal management.
Urban Environments are studied; the significance of the world’s increasingly urban population, through to the challenges faced in cities in countries at all levels of development.
We also explore economic change and energy dependency and the implications that economic development and resource exploitation have on the planet. This involves fieldwork to Stratford in East London to examine the impact the Olympic Park development has had on the local environment.
Finally we study development and human welfare – a synoptic unit in which both physical and human factors are developed to help us understand the complex interrelationship between people and the land they occupy.
Russell Group universities identify Geography as one of the eight facilitating subjects.
This means it is a subject most likely to be required or preferred for entry to degree courses. Choosing facilitating subjects will keep more options open to you at university.
Geography A-level also offers opportunities to learn outside the classroom through field trips overseas and throughout the UK, plus to attend lectures at the Royal Geographical Society.
We follow the OCR syllabus which contains four separate units, three of which are assessed in exams at the end of Upper Sixth, and one which is assessed as coursework.
- Physical Systems – the physical geography component in which students study Earth’s Life Support Systems, including the carbon cycle and the water cycle. We also study a physical landscape and plan to conduct fieldwork in all areas of this unit.
- Human Interactions – this is the ‘human geography’ component, although it is likely that this will look very different from anything you have studied in geography before. Students examine concepts more akin to those taught at university, meaning that your A-level will be extremely contemporary and exciting.
- Geographical Debates – this unit takes some of the most dynamic issues the planet faces and encourages us to engage with, reflect on and think critically about them. In Year 12 students explore disease dillemas. In Year 13, they focus on hazardous earth.
- Personal Investigation – while coursework is now a part of A-level geography, it is very different from anything you will have experienced at GCSE. Students have a great deal of flexibility over what they choose to investigate, and how to go about this. Each student must complete four days of fieldwork in order to fulfil their personal investigation.
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 recent years, we have been on expeditions to Sicily and to Iceland. These trips are repeated every two years, next taking place in 2020.
In Year 9 we conduct a microclimate study, collecting data using iPads, students’ smartphones and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) before mapping the effect the landscape has on local climates using the advanced GIS software, ArcGIS.
At IGCSE in Year 10, we conduct coastal fieldwork at Seaford and Cuckmere Haven, as well as other local and virtual fieldwork opportunities throughout the year.
We also aim to have one trip in the two years that takes us further afield; in 2020 this will include a visit to the volcanoes of Sicily.
At A-level, fieldwork is a compulsory element of the course once again, and we take a two-day field course to the Jurassic Coast and Bournemouth, and a further two days of local fieldwork.
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 that allows further exploration. In October 2020 the Upper Sixth group visited the enchanting and exciting country of Iceland.