Geography is the study of where places are, what they are like, what life is like in them, how and why they are changing, and why there are arguments about how we use them. As a subject it helps to give pupils a greater awareness of major issues of importance which affect our daily life; eg. population growth and distribution, energy supplies, farming and the European Community, industrial development, environmental pollution, Developing World issues and natural disasters.

The emphasis in the Geography Department is on both enjoyment and academic achievement. This is reflected in the department attracting a large number of students at both GCSE and A Level, with a high proportion gaining top grades. Every year girls go on to study the subject at university.

Years 7 to 9

In Geography at Key Stage Three the Department works from the 'known' environment of the home region, Dorset, leading to studies of countries further afield in Europe, Africa and Asia, with particular reference to Italy, the UK, Kenya, Brazil, Japan and China.

Fieldwork is introduced at the earliest opportunity, using our beautiful grounds, then progressing to a farm visit, an excursion to the Dorset coast, Glastonbury Tor or a city visit. More exotic locations are visited by ICT research, DVD presentations or school visits to Italy or France.

Pupils are introduced to Google Earth and other geographical website to research and produce their own projects and presentations. They become efficient and discerning users of the Internet at a very early stage in their education. This background provides girls in Years 7-9 with a thorough, skills-based geographical education and it is always a popular choice when GCSE options are chosen at the end of Year 9.

Geography GCSE

The GCSE Geography syllabus is divided into a number of components: tectonic activity, rocks and landscapes, coasts, population, industry, managing resources and tourism and skills related to map work.

The syllabus is ‘skills-based' which means that pupils learn how to collect, use and interpret geographical facts and figures (data) from a wide range of sources. They will gain confidence ‘in the field' by a number of fieldwork excursions and will also use atlases, texts, O.S. maps, video material, rock samples, and reference books to build up a picture of the dynamic geographical landscape. Much of the work is enquiry based using individual resources; students are encouraged to work as individuals and think for themselves.

There are two written papers which are set at two tiers (Foundation and Higher). Each tier examines broadly similar issues and resources. The Foundation Tier utilises short structured questions. The Higher Tier includes opportunities for some more extended answers. In addition students carry out an Individual Study completed by the end of the Spring Term Year 11 and based on personal research of a topic chosen by the student, in consultation with the teacher.

Geography A level

Geography at A Level is concerned with the analysis of environmental and spatial systems at all levels from global concerns down to local issues. It straddles the traditional sciences and social sciences, combining equally well with Science or Arts A Level subjects and is therefore consistently one of the most popular subjects in the School.

The AS Level consists of the study of the following: the Physical environment includes earth systems, coastal environments and fluvial environments; the human environment includes population characteristics and movement and settlement patterns and a geographical investigation centred around fieldwork or an applied geographical skills examination.

These AS modules lead onto A2 modules which cover aspects of both physical and human geography, but in greater depth - students can chose options within physical geography from atmospheric systems, glacial systems and ecosystems; economic systems, rural-urban inter-relationships and development processes. There is also a synoptic unit which involves assessment of a student's ability to understand the impact of human activity on global environments.

Geography Fieldwork

Leweston is lucky enough to be close to some of the finest fieldwork sites in the UK, and regular coastal, fluvial and urban studies are undertaken in such locations as Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door, the River Frome and Piddle. Residential fieldwork has also been carried out at Slapton Sands and Dartmoor in Devon, the Lake District, the Brecon Beacons as well as international study visits to Holland, France and Iceland.