Developing geographical skills and knowledge of the world in which we live
The Geography Department aims to give pupils a broad knowledge and understanding of the world they live in and help them to develop an awareness of some of the problems, both natural and human, which affect life on our planet. The geography curriculum blends studies of place at global, national and local scale with a wide range of themes suited to each age range. Basic Geographical Skills such as map reading and data handling are developed at all levels. The use of ICT is now an integral part of the curriculum and is widely used by staff in the teaching of lessons as well as by pupils for research and the presentation of information. Fieldwork is an important part of the course for each year group and pupils learn to develop observation, collection and presentation skills through a variety of outside visits within the local area.
Learning a range of skills and themes
In Year 3, pupils learn Mapping Skills and Atlas Skills, and also learn about life in the Amazon Rain Forest. In year 4, pupils learn about rivers, including the Water Cycle, a field trip to the Quantocks, and a study of the River Rhine. They also learn about weather, and in the final term carry out a case study comparing Britain and Bangladesh. In year 5 pupils build on their knowledge of maps and journeys, study the major world climate zones (polar, desert, tropical and temperate), and conduct a study of the Somerset Levels, which includes many stimulating trips to local industries such as dairy farms, the Willows and Wetlands Centre, peat farms, the cider factory and nature reserves.
In Year 6, pupils learn about National Parks in Britain, with a special focus on Dartmoor, which includes a residential visit to the area. National Parks in Kenya are also studied, with a comparison drawn between the two countries. Pupils also learn how to read Ordnance Survey maps, are taught about Environmental Issues (which includes a visit to Carymoor Environmental Centre), learn about Coastlines, and work independently on a project on Australia. In year 7, pupils look at Earthquakes and Volcanoes, build on their map reading skills, studying flooding, learn about different settlements, and carry out a study of the local town of Glastonbury. Study of settlements continues in Year 8, along with a study of Living in Britain, which looks at physical and political maps of the British Isles, Britain’s climate, and cities and employment in Britain. Pupils also learn about Renewable Energy and Life in Brazil.
Learning about the world and the people in it
Environmental issues are an important element in the curriculum and pupils learn to appreciate the Earth’s natural beauty and how it can be preserved. The department plays a key role in promoting environmental awareness within the school. The department has close links with the Green Group which has been established within the school. This is a team of staff and interested pupils who are working to promote and maintain good practice in working towards a more sustainable school. The school has achieved eco-school status.
At each stage in the Geography curriculum there are opportunities for pupils to learn about life in other parts of the world, not only to broaden their knowledge but to deepen their understanding of other cultures. They learn about the difficulties faced by people in LEDCs and how their lives can be improved. Year 7 take part in a cross-curricular day based on a different part of the world each year to deepen pupils’ understanding of other cultures. This usually centres around a visiting musical, art or drama group or visiting speaker, with other subjects providing complementary workshops. In the past these days have included India day with the Kathakali dancers, Africa day with an Afro-Celtic band called Baka Beyond and Indonesia day with Gamalan drummers.