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Geography illuminates the past, explains the present and prepares us for the future, what could be more important than that?! Michael Palin

In today’s globally interconnected society, it is more important than ever that students understand the world around them.

The aim of the St Columba’s College Geography Department is to develop students’ awareness of the complexity of interactions within and between societies, economies, cultures and environments, at scales from local to global. Geography is enjoyed by students throughout the school, with impressive results at GCSE and A level, and many of them go on to study Geography and related Earth Sciences at university.

At Key Stage 3, the Department aims to inspire a real understanding of the synopticity of Geography. The programme is designed to allow students to gain a deep appreciation of modern and traditional geographies. For example, in Form 1, students learn vital map work skills, which they then use in the study of Settlement. In Form 2, the students learn about the processes of Weather and Climate, which are then contextualised through further study of both Energy and Climate Change. By Form 3, the interconnectivity of this approach culminates in the study of Trade and Globalisation, Hazards and the Geography of Disease, all through the lens of varying degrees of Development.

The iGCSE specification aims to further the boys' knowledge and understanding of Human and Physical Geography and improve their geographical skills and enquiry. Areas of study include Plate Tectonics, Coastal Processes Weather, Urbanisations, Food Production, Tourism and Energy. At the start of Form 5, students take part in a UK-based residential field course, collecting data, which allows them to complete their first full Geographical Enquiry write-up.

A level students study benefit from specialist teaching in Human, Physical and Skills modules. The course requires the ability to apply, analyse, synthesise and evaluate multiple sources and concepts in order to develop a genuinely synoptic understanding. With such a skills set it is hardly surprising that Geography graduates continue to record the highest employment rates post study and that A’ Level Geography is a recognised facilitating subject by all Russell Group Universities.  Amongst the topics studied are Glaciation, Coasts, Space and Place, Global Migration, Power and Borders, Climate change and the Future of Food. The students are also required to carry out and independent fieldwork investigation as part of the A’ Level course. All AS and A2 students (and their parents) are encouraged to follow the Geography Department’s Twitter account (@StColumbasGeo), as a resource base and virtual space in which to keep up to date with the news that forms and informs the subject.

Geographers at St Columba’s College also have the chance to go on a range of trips at each Key Stage, varying from local fieldwork in St Albans and London, to residential fieldwork in the Lakes, North Yorkshire Moors and Snowdonia, and most recently international cross-curricular trips to Italy and Iceland. Initial stages of planning have begun for our proposed tour of Namibia in 2017.