People think of Geography as a purely factual subject, but the curriculum studied by children today is far broader. From an early age they are taught to understand how people, places and cultures vary from their own in our multinational world, how environments and ecosystems affect lifestyles, and how globalisation and technological advances are changing our working, trading and leisure experiences.
Elements of both physical (natural) and human (social and political) Geography are incorporated into the syllabus from an early age, as well as discussions about the need for stewardship and sustainable development to preserve our planet for future generations. This takes place on a range of scales, from the school playground to the Sahara desert and the world’s vast oceans.
Although Geography is not one of the core subjects it is hugely cross-curricular, incorporating strands of Science, Maths, Literacy and ICT. It is instrumental in developing boys’ thinking skills and critical analysis and through map reading, graphical representations and annotated diagrams, their spatial awareness and presentational skills are significantly enhanced.
Geography at Tower House is taught as a discrete subject with timetabled weekly lessons throughout the school year. Boys in the Junior School alternate their Geography topics with History studies on a half-termly basis while in the Senior School every year group is allocated two to three lessons and one homework period each week.
In the lower years the syllabus largely follows the National Curriculum, but expands on and broadens the scope of the themes. In year 6, the emphasis changes as preparation for Common Entrance begins and the ISEB (Independent Schools Exam Board) syllabus commences. Currently the Common Entrance syllabus involves: OS map-work; global location knowledge; themes and case studies including geomorphological processes; tectonic activity, weather and climate; population and settlement, transport and industry, and environmental issues. Throughout the course opportunity is given to assess how sustainability can bolster the way we link these topics to the future.
The Year 7 Geography Field Trip
In Year 7 the boys also must complete an individual fieldwork project which comprises 20% of the total Common Entrance grade. Currently, we visit Calshot near the New Forest for a week long field trip to complete the boys' rivers enquiry, alongside other Geographical study.
It's not all work though, the Geography field trip is very much a highlight in the Tower House calendar with plenty of opportunity for the boys to have fun and experience a range of exciting extra-curricular activities each day!
"Geography illuminates the present and prepares us for the future. What could be more important than that?"