The Geography Department at Northampton High School uses a wide range of modern, innovative teaching methods to make learning the subject exciting and stimulating, providing excellent stretch for even the most gifted students. Within the Lower School the curriculum is organised around a scale based progression, beginning with local topics in Upper Third and developing a wide range of skills, including the detailed use of maps; specifically we cover the physical and human geography of the British Isles in detail. In the Lower Fourth there is a shift in emphasis to studying different parts of the world, particularly focusing on the study of Europe and South and East Asia, examining global population movements, high and low pressure weather systems and examining the periodic floods that devastate Bangladesh. Students also undertake an independent investigation into the use of Antarctica by people. In the Upper Fourth students explore topics of global significance, learning about global trade relationships through a game and working in small groups under time pressure to crisis manage the volcanic eruption of Montserrat. GCSE Geography is a popular option with students, where the AQA specification A is followed (from September 2016 this will change to Edexcel); units of work covered include Plate Tectonics, Population Change, Coasts and Tourism. Students achieve highly, with 73% achieving an A*/A grade in 2015. A Level Geography is similarly successful, with 76% of candidates achieving an A*/A grade in 2015.

The effective use of ICT is embedded throughout the Geography curriculum, with students learning to use GIS (using the AEGIS mapping software) to quickly analyse large volumes of data. The school weather station provides regular electronic updates of atmospheric conditions. IPads enable students to annotate field sketches electronically and produce high quality videos within Geography lessons.

Fieldwork is an integral part of studying Geography at Northampton High School; within the first few weeks Upper Third students undertake an investigation of the school site and complete an investigation into the effects of tourism in the Carding Mill valley. In the Upper Fourth students visit Northampton’s Central Business District and complete a challenging investigation linked to retail structure. Both GCSE and A Level Geography entail residential field trips; GCSE students travel to Somerset to study a range of factors linked to coastal environments, such as the impact of sea defences at Minehead. AS geographers travel to Shropshire and investigate river environments in the Long Mynd Hills and the impacts of flooding in Shrewsbury.

The Geography Department also offers a diverse range of trips to students to see some of the places and processes studied within the classroom. Upper Third students can participate in the summer Humanities residential, which is based in Shropshire and includes a visit to Cwm Idwal, Snowdonia, to examine a post glacial landscape. Upper Fourth students visit Cadbury’s World in Birmingham to learn about Fair Trade chocolate. In June 2013 the Geography Department went on a joint trip with Physics to Geneva, Switzerland to visit the CERN facility as well as examine a range of glacial landforms. In 2014 the department ran a trip to Iceland for geographers to study a vast range of different landforms, stand at the place where the North American and Eurasian plates are moving apart and to relax in the beautiful geothermal pool at the Blue Lagoon. In 2016 students will be undertaking a trek to Everest Base Camp.

geography field trip