• to develop a sense of place and an understanding of relative location
• to develop an awareness of the characteristics of a range of contrasting physical and human environments
• to promote an interest in and understanding of the ways in which people interact with each other and manage their environments
• to encourage pupils to form opinions on local, national and global issues
• to support pupils moving towards informed action on contemporary issues
At Key Stage Three all pupils study Geography for three periods per fortnight. During this time, pupils are introduced to a wide range of geographical knowledge and skills. Textbooks provide the background while use of information and communication technology helps to encourage research skills. In Form 1 we investigate the geography and weather of the BRA site. Pupils analyse the temperature and wind speed on the school grounds and produce a short summary on their findings.
In Form 2 the pupils visit the coastline at Holywood, County Down. They examine coastal defence measures including gabions, sea walls and rock armour. Each defence measure is sketched and an explanation offered for how it functions. This work is then submitted to their class teachers as a completed report.
At Key Stage Four we follow the CCEA Geography specification. Again, fieldwork plays a significant role in the curriculum. Pupils use the ICT suite to help analyse the data collected from the rivers fieldtrip to Tollymore Forest Park. This Fieldwork paper is valued at 20% of the GCSE award and allows for collection, analysis and presentation of information.
A-level builds on the knowledge and skills acquired at Key Stages Three and Four. At A2 level decision-making is introduced. Fieldwork includes gathering data for their AS examination based on the Urban Heat Island effect and in M6 we examine coastal protection at Dundrum Bay and Newcastle in Co. Down.
The three geography classrooms are situated within the Bruce building. Each classroom contains an interactive whiteboard with video/DVD projection. A set of atlases are available in each room. There are also networked PCs in each classroom.
A number of our pupils are selected by the Trustees of Villiers Park for participation in the Reading Parties at Foxton, Cambridge. Many of our pupils go on to study Geography at University. In addition, lecturers from Queen’s University may speak to the Sixth Form geography students on topics which are relevant to the course they are following.