Staff

Miss M Wright, Head of Geography
Miss L Wright
Miss H Atkinson

Key Stage 3

Geography is an exciting and dynamic subject that broadens student horizons and provides them with a global perspective that will equip them to influence the future, whether that be on a local or global scale.

To this end, geography at Millthorpe aims to equip our students with the skills, knowledge and understanding of those contemporary issues affecting our world today and our potential future: from environmental exploitation and climate change, superpowers and terrorism, inequality and the future of our food supply, to the physical processes that shape our environment and influence our life and leisure modern geography at Millthorpe is very much the study of the world today.

Year 7

Crime – We start by looking at the impacts of crime and ways of reducing crime on a local scale. Through this unit we re-introduce students to the use of map skills and other geographical tools that aid investigation and enquiry, skills that will be used later in the year when students research and present their journey from Pole to Pole. The crime unit ends with a look at the heroin trail and its impacts across the globe, starting in the Taliban controlled fields of Afganistan and ending on the streets of the UK.

People everywhere – examines the causes of the world’s runaway population growth and the cultural differences between places that influence birth rate (such as India & Italy). We discuss the controversy surrounding China’s attempt to stop its population explosion via a One Child Policy and we examine the ticking time bomb that is the UKs Ageing Population.

Moving Stories – Migration is hot topic. We look at the motivations for migrating between places and issues/viewpoints that arise from migration. What is the situation in Syria? Who should the UK allow across its borders?

Fragile Environments – The Tropical Rainforest Environment is an ecosystem that has long been exploited. We examine the threats to the rainforest and to the remaining tribes who live there…some of whom remain un-contacted by the modern world.

Rivers – We end the year with a fieldtrip to Bolton Abbey where a walk up the river Wharfe introduces students to the diversity of the UKs river landscape and the processes that shaped it. Flooding is an ever present threat to York; we finish by looking at ways of reducing this threat.

Year 8

The Energy Gap – With Nuclear Energy the politicians favourite for our energy future, we open the debate to students, Nuclear: Yes or No? Either way, what are the options for the UK to ensure we produce enough energy in the years to come?

Inequality – In a world where the richest 1% have half of all the world’s wealth we look at the impacts of the poverty this creates around the world: From the growth of slums in Kenya, wars over diamonds in Sierra Leone to the spread of piracy in the waters off Somalia, we link the terrible consequences to the underlying cause.

Fair Trade – Chocolate manufacturing is an important part of York’s history. We investigate the modern cocoa trade that keeps this industry going. We look the unique climate of Ghana that makes it one of a small number of countries able to grow cocoa, the corruption within the trade and the resultant child slavery, and we look at how the growth of Fair Trade is starting to make a real difference to reducing the poverty of African framers.

Climate Change – It’s here to stay! We look at the causes, evidence, impacts and solutions to an issue that unites every global citizen.

Coastal Environments – In the final term we visit the East Coast; Flamborough to investigate the processes that shape our coastal environment and Mappleton, where the problems created by coastal erosion and the issues surrounding methods of coastal management are clear to see.

Exploited People – We finish the year by touring the world looking for human injustice. From the people forced to live in tunnels beneath the streets of Budapest, the erosion of the peaceful Bhutanese culture, the clearance of Brazilian slums to make way for the 2014 world cup and 2016 Olympics, to the growth of Primark and its links with sweatshop labour.

Year 9

Hazardous World – Earthquakes, Tsumanis, Volcanoes, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Avalanche and Drought…..the world is a dangerous place. We look at the causes and consequences of these phenomena and at how people have managed to live with these threats and in some of the most hostile environments on the planet.

Future of Food – In a world where the population grows by 8000 people an hour food production is a serious modern issue. What will our future food look like? Is the end of McDonalds inevitable? Are insects the answer?

Superpowers – We look at what makes a country a Superpower, the tug-of-war over the middle east and it’s oil between Russia and the USA and the casualties of this conflict in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine. We visit Drax power station to investigate our attempts to become less reliant on foreign energy supplies and we discuss whether modern day terrorism was born out of our need for oil.

The Secret Life of Guns & Drugs – The USA has a gun problem. We look at its impacts on the people of the USA and how the free availability of guns is fuelling the cocaine trade and the drug wars between the Mexican government and the cartels.

Exploited World – A dumping ground for plastic waste the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean, fertilizers and the creation of Marine Dead Zones, the draining of the Aral Sea, and the growth of Fracking and super mines, we investigate the consequences of our exploitation of the planet.

Tourism – Glacial processes create some unique environments for tourism in the Alps and Antarctica. We look at the pros and cons of tourism in these fragile environments and in places like the rainforests of Laos and the savannah of Kenya where increased tourism and the poaching of Elephants for their ivory are inextricably linked.

Mysterious World – We finish the year and the key stage with a brief look at the some of the world’s geographical mysteries. Is there an explanation for the Bermuda Triangle? Has the Lost City of Atlantis been found? Where did the people of Easter Island go? Geography has the answers.

Key Stage 4

Our KS4 GCSE curriculum follows the new AQA specification. This exciting course is based on a balance between physical and human geography. It allows students to investigate the link between the two themes, and approach and examine the battles between the man-made and natural worlds. The content is relevant and engaging and has been chosen as it builds upon the skills, knowledge and understanding delivered at Millthorpe during key stage 3. The teaching of these units allows students to develop and enhance their geographical skills and will develop their communication and interpersonal skills through debate and discussion. Students who complete the course will have the skills and experience to progress onto A-level and beyond.

Living with the Physical Environment: This unit is concerned with the dynamic nature of physical processes and systems, and human interaction with them. The aims of this unit are to develop an understanding of the tectonic, geomorphological, biological and meteorological processes and the need for management strategies to deal with the consequences of human interference with these processes.

Topics include:

  • The Challenge of Natural Hazards
  • The Living World
  • UK Physical Landscapes

Paper 1 accounts for 35% of the GCSE qualification

Challenges in the Human Environment: This unit is concerned with human processes, systems and outcomes. They are studied in a variety of places in various states of development, such as higher income countries (HICs), lower income countries (LICs) and newly emerging economies (NEEs). The aims of this unit are to develop an understanding of the need for sustainable management of man-made environments and the areas of current and future challenge and opportunity for these environments.

Topics include:

  • Urban Issues and Challenges
  • The Changing Economic World
  • The Challenge of Resource Management

Paper 2 accounts for 35% of the GCSE qualification

Geographical Applications: In this unit students will be required to draw together knowledge, understanding and skills from the full course of study. The Issues Evaluation section contributes a critical thinking and problem-solving element to the assessment structure whilst the Fieldwork section requires students to undertake two geographical enquiries. Students’ understanding of the enquiry process will be assessed in a third exam paper with questions based on the use of fieldwork materials from an unfamiliar context and questions based on the students’ own enquiry work.

Paper 3 accounts for 30% of the GCSE qualification