With the threat of climate change and its impact on all aspects of life there has never been a more important time to study a subject that explains the dynamic interplay of humankind and the natural world. Geography at CAST is based on a balanced framework of physical and human geography and it allows students to investigate the link between the two themes. We encourage students to develop a problem-solving approach to contemporary geographical challenges so that they are inspired by the immediate relevance of the subject matter and empowered by knowledge that they can make a difference. Both the physical and human dimensions of the course come together with a common focus on mitigating the causes and adapting to the effects of climate change.
Geography opens doors to many careers and courses. Qualifications in Geography lead on to a wide range of university courses, apprenticeships and careers including teaching, town planning, land management, aid work and development, research, journalism, meteorology, air traffic control and aviation.
We follow the AQA Geography Specification 7037. Students are taught for a total of five periods a week building on many topics studied at GCSE. Students also undertake a 3-4000 word Independent Investigation, where they develop both fieldwork and academic skills that will prepare them for further research at a higher level. The course consists of 6 taught modules and includes four days of practical fieldwork in an urban and coastal area.
We begin Year 12 with Water and the Carbon Cycle. This core unit acts as a foundation for all other topics and is therefore referenced continuously throughout the two-year course.
In the spring term we build on what we have learned by studying Coastal Systems and Landscapes both in the UK and around the world looking particularly at how they are being impacted by climate change. This provides an ideal time to focus on field study skills that students may choose to adopt in their Independent Investigations.
In the second part of the spring term, we switch to Human Geography and study Contemporary Urban Environments examining topics such as the changing patterns of urbanisation, the growth of megacities, the impacts of multiculturalism and urban environmental issues. Some of the cities studied are Shanghai, Los Angeles, Bengaluru, London, Rio and Manila.
In the second part of the summer term, we build on our knowledge of Urban Geography by examining people’s sense of belonging in Changing Places where we will home in on Roald Dahl’s Great Missenden in the UK, and Eminem’s Detroit in the US.
During the summer of Year 12 students will research, plan, and carry out their own Independent Investigation based on a topic that they have found interesting. They will use fieldwork techniques to gather raw data and test a hypothesis that they have agreed with their teacher. The final report should be 3000-4000 words and presented according to academic conventions. It will be internally assessed and externally moderated.
In the autumn term of Year 13 we begin another core topic of Global Systems and Governance. This is a substantial topic covering topics such as International Trade, Global Food Systems and protecting the Global Commons where we examine the threats to Antarctica. In the spring term we examine Ecosystems Under Stress where we revisit the causes and consequences of the destruction of Tropical Rainforests, the impacts of climate change on Savanna Grasslands, threats to Marine Ecosystems and the growth of Urban Wasteland Ecosystems. For this part of the course our UK case studies will be Exmoor National Park and Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire.
Scheme of Learning
Click on the links below for reading, notes and articles on each topic.