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Over recent years Geography has become increasingly relevant to young people.

The numbers studying the subject across the country are rapidly growing and it is popular in every year group at Downside. Geography at GCSE and A-level is a subject that is both an art and a science, and it gives pupils the chance to develop their skill set in both areas. It is sought after by employers and universities and can count as a science for UCAS applications.

Geography is a bridging subject that gives pupils a knowledge of the wider world, through both human and physical geography. The subject teaches pupils about issues facing the planet as well as those facing humanity at all levels of development. In all year groups geography is taught by enthusiastic and specialist staff and utilises current examples and case studies to enliven the subject. Geography encompasses topical subject areas such as natural hazards, geopolitics and economic geography which remain highly relevant to all our lives.

Field trips and the collection of data through investigation remain fundamental and unique to the subject at Downside. In the Second Form the Department takes pupils to complete a local rivers investigation, in the Fourth Form pupils spend a day in Bristol exploring the impacts of regeneration and, as pupils progress into the Fifth Form, they spend a day studying hydrology in the Quantock Hills. Then, in the Lower Sixth, pupils attend an exciting residential trip to Nettlecombe Court, in Exmoor National Park, where they undertake a fieldwork investigation, which forms part of their final A-level grade. This trip is excellent preparation for those wishing to study Geography at university, through its focus on independent work and on personal discipline. It is considered the highlight of the A-Level course.

Many pupils go on to study Geography at undergraduate degree level at many ‘redbrick’ universities. The department has had recent success in qualifying pupils to study Earth Sciences at Cambridge. The multifaceted nature of Geography makes studying the subject an excellent choice in today’s multicultural and interconnected world.

Head of Humanities & Teacher of Geography


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