Department Background

Geography has a unique view of the world. It is the only subject that looks at how all the elements of the earth interact and interconnect. Studying Geography will help you see clearly and understand accurately the environment that surrounds you. Our aim is to provide students with opportunities to evaluate and challenge the way in which their world operates.

The Department has enjoyed a wide range of academic and extra-curricular achievements over the last decade. At GCSE the proportion of students attaining 9-7 grades in 2018 was 88% whilst 91% of students at A-Level gained an A*/A/B grade. Aside from impressive examination results, the Department has also established Geography Society and Latymer Amnesty to provide opportunities for students to further their interest in issues relating to geography and human rights.

Year 7 - 9

Classes are taught in form groups of approximately 32 students. Year 7, 8 and 9 have four lessons (40 minutes) each in a two week cycle. There is no banding or setting in Geography. The Department has written its own course for KS3 and has schemes of work in place. They incorporate a wide range of teaching and learning styles. Topics covered during this key stage include:

  • Moving Masses
  • Glorious Glaciation
  • Tremendous Tectonics
  • Changing Coastlines
  • Going Global
  • Incredible India

Year 7 conduct an investigation into the existence of microclimates around the school site. Year 9 come off timetable in half-year groups to compete in the World Trade game in the Great Hall. The students are divided into groups and trade with each other within the ‘free’ market economy of tariffs, quotas and other sanctions!

Year 10 - 11

Geography is a popular option; currently 143 out of 192 year 10 students have selected to do GCSE Geography this year (2018). Students have seven 40 minute lessons each two-week cycle. GCSE Geography is taught in class sizes of approximately 27-30.

The AQA specification is taught at Latymer and there are programmes of study in place for GCSE. Topics covered during the GCSE course include:

  • Living World
  • UK Physical Landscapes
  • Natural Hazards
  • Resource Management
  • Urban Issues
  • Economic World

Students carry out two fieldwork investigations - one in human and another in physical geography - as part of their preparation for a Skills-based exam paper.

Year 12 - 13

The AQA syllabus is taught and we have approximately 100 students studying A-level Geography across Year 12 and Year 13 (2018). There are normally 3 - 4 classes in both cohorts. Students have fourteen 40 minute lessons each two-week cycle and are normally taught by two members of staff. A-level Geography is taught in class sizes of approximately 14 - 18.

The A-level Geography course units are:

  • Changing Places
  • Coastal Landscapes
  • Hazards
  • Water & Carbon Cycles
  • Population & the Environment
  • Global Systems & Governance

Students have two single day field trips in year 12. The first is to Camber Sands in the spring term to investigate changes in vegetation across this impressive sand dune system, and the second is a visit to Stratford to investigate the impact of the London 2012 Olympic Games on the changing character of the local area. In Year 13, students are afforded the opportunity to plan their own independent investigation based on either human or physical aspects of Geography (or a combination of both), which they do on a 3 day residential trip to Swanage in the Autumn term.

Activities and Recent Highlights

The Department runs an annual trip to Southern Iceland, offered to students studying Geography in Year 11. The purpose of the trip is principally to visit areas of tectonic, glacial and geothermal interest, all of which relate to and would enrich topics studied in GCSE and A-level Geography. Southern Iceland has a fascinating geography: it offers one of the few environments in the world where such dramatic landforms can be seen in close proximity and the expeditions have been of enormous interest to students who have been in the past.

Highlights include visits to Thingvellir National Park (the site of the mid-Atlantic plate boundary), the glacial lake at Jokullsarlon, spectacular waterfalls at Gullfoss and Skogafoss, the capital city Reykjavik, Geysir National Park and the Blue Lagoon. Previous trips have sometimes incorporated being driven on the Myrdalsjokull glacier in an off-road vehicle, and, depending on favourable weather conditions, the opportunity to see the ‘Northern Lights’. We also visit several of the naturally heated baths and outdoor swimming pools in Iceland.

University success

Each year approximately half of the Year 13 cohort go on to read Geography or Geology at Russell Group universities. Our extensive database of school leavers has allowed us to track former Latymer students who have entered a wide range of careers after completing university. Latymer alumni have forged successful careers in engineering, mineral exploration and more recently, working for the Olympic Delivery Authority in planning the 2012 London Games.