Through the study of Geography at SAIntS, we aim to stimulate an interest in and a sense of wonder about places. Geography helps young people make sense of a complex and dynamically changing world. It explains where places are, how places and landscapes are formed, how people and their environment interact, and how a diverse range of economies, societies and environments are interconnected. It builds on students’ own experiences to investigate places at all scales, from the personal to the global. Geography helps students to understand and resolve issues about the environment and sustainable development. It is also an important link between the natural and social sciences.
Students learn to think spatially and use maps, visual images and new technologies, including geographical information systems (GIS), to obtain, present and analyse information. Students develop a range of investigative and problem-solving skills both inside and outside the classroom which will prepare them for adult life and employment. As a department we believe strongly in giving students the opportunity to experience fieldwork and currently organise trips to Zomba (Year 12 River Studies), Chichiri Shopping Mall (Year 11 Urban Studies), Cape Maclear (Year 10 Impacts of Tourism), Chikala Rainforest (Year 9 Rainforest Ecology) and Kapichira Falls HEP Station (Year 8 Energy and Resources). The Geography team endeavour to help the students to feel secure within their learning environment while enjoying a variety of teaching and learning styles. This will help the students to aim for the highest standards in all that they do.
Geography has three dedicated classrooms equipped with networked computers and projectors as well as an office and stockroom; all accommodated on one floor. The department is staffed by three subject specialists who collectively have more than 60 years of teaching experience. The department is well resourced with plenty of fieldwork equipment including our most recent acquisition; a fully equipped weather station. The course books used at all key stages are recently published and are constantly updated as specifications change.
At SAIntS every student has three lessons of Geography per two week cycle in Years 7, 8 and 9. The curriculum at Key Stage 3 covers one unit per term with the aim of giving students a broad and balanced exposure to all major disciplines within the subject.
The curriculum is as follows:
Weather and Climate
Population & Migration
Rivers and Coasts
Energy and Resources
Earthquakes & Volcanoes
Students’ geographical skills, knowledge and understanding are assessed through a series of research-based investigations, in addition to tests and regular homework.
In Years 10 and 11 we follow the Cambridge IGCSE Geography course which is broadly split into three themes: Population and Settlement
The Natural Environment
The examination has three papers which not only assess a students’ knowledge and understanding of course content, but also a variety of skills including investigative fieldwork and cartographic skills. There are four lessons of IGCSE Geography across the two week timetable in both Years 10 and 11.
In Years 12 and 13 we presently follow the Cambridge International AS and A2 Geography specification. At AS Level students study three core human units (Population, Migration and Settlement Dynamics) and three core physical units (Hydrology & Fluvial Geomorphology, Atmosphere & Weather and Rocks & Weathering). The course is then assessed through two 90 minute written papers.
At A Level they study four advanced optional units (currently Hazardous Environments, Hot Arid & Semi-arid Environments, Environmental Management and Global Interdependence). Assessment is through two written papers, while there are eight lessons of Geography across the two week timetable in both Years 12 and 13.