The Perse School


Independent thinking and confidence in fieldwork

Our aim

We engage students in learning geography by encouraging them to work and think independently and by ensuring our teaching is contemporary, relevant, interesting and creative. We strongly believe that fieldwork is an essential component of the subject and students have an opportunity to take part in a fieldwork activity in almost every year at The Perse.

In studying geography, students investigate the links between people and their environment on both local and international scales. The subject encompasses the natural processes that shape the planet, the cultural diversity of its inhabitants, and issues of environment and development.

See the Geographical Association for more detail about the role of geography and our ‘what’s on‘ guide for a one page overview of the opportunities we provide to enthuse students about the subject.

Learning journey - Years 7 and 8

In Years 7 and 8 we seek to capture and nurture the enthusiasm of our younger students with a range of classic and contemporary topics drawing from all corners of the subject. Year 7 students learn map skills and explore the East Anglian coastline, plate tectonics and rainforest ecosystems. In Year 8 we study geographical issues under the title of Contemporary Geographical Challenge, including the use of nuclear power, the disappearing Arctic and global inequalities.

We firmly believe that geography should not only be studied in the classroom and that students must experience places and environments first-hand. We therefore run fieldtrips in almost every year. Year 7 students travel to the North Norfolk coast to investigate coastal erosion and deposition. Year 8s visit a power plant.


Learning journey - GCSE

Students start Year 9 with ‘Geography in the News’ – an innovative scheme of learning presented at national conferences – which allows allows them to investigate the contemporary geography that interests them. It highlights how contemporary and important the subject is – from hurricane and disaster management, to immigration policies and anthropogenic climate change.  Students are given the freedom to follow their own geographical inquisitiveness.

The GCSE course is exciting and contemporary whilst also being rigorous and challenging, and provides an excellent platform for A level studies. The GCSE has both human and physical geography elements and there are fieldwork skills built into the schemes of learning. Topics include Landscapes of the UK, People of the UK, Ecosystems of the Planet, People of the Planet and Environmental Threats to out Planet. We firmly believe that Geography cannot only be studied in the classroom and that students must experience places and environments first-hand. Local fieldwork has included travel to the Olympics site in Stratford to explore the impact of the games and visits to Epping Forest.

Providing stretch

Each term we provide options for students who would like to go beyond the syllabus, from exploring Milankovitch cycles to considering arguments for and against deforestation.

In addition to the fieldtrips that are directly linked to the curriculum we also run a biennial fieldtrip in August to Iceland which is open to pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11, as well as the Lower Sixth. Iceland is a fascinating country for all geographers and the trip gives pupils the opportunity to get up close to volcanoes, hot springs and major fault lines.

The department launched its support for the international Missing Maps programme.  This involves students in all age groups contributing to open source mapping software and helping map previously unmapped parts of the planet.  In turn NGO’s such as Medecins Sans Frontieres and the Clinton Health Foundation use these maps to facilitate getting aid supplies to people in need on the ground.  This can be in the form of emergency aid to areas suffering in the aftermath of natural hazards or those that where mapping will increase future resilience.  Missing Maps will be running in the school’s ICT suites after school and students can continue contributing at home.  Older and keener students have been trained to assist new mappers.  The School will be the first in the country to undergo such a programme.

Beyond the classroom

Our ‘what’s on’ guide provides a helpful overview of all the exciting ways to experience geography at The Perse.

The Department enters a team of Year 9 and Year 10 pupils into the Geographical Association’s Worldwize Quiz, where they compete against students from other schools.

We run an annual Geography Photography Competition for all students to enter. See the gallery below for some of the most recent winners. A full display can be found at the back of one of the geography classrooms, showcasing images of the local area as well as from more exotic locations.

The Perse Geography Debating Challenge is a knock-out competition to claim the Crabtree Shield.

Eminent geographers give lunchtime lectures as part of our 42 society programme of inspiring lunchtime talks. For example volcanologist Dr Mel Rogers gave a fascinating lecture on the on endlessly complex reasons why volcanoes erupt: ‘’Volcano – will it blow or will it flow: why volcanoes behave in such different ways’. Read former student Izzy Picton-Turbervill’s report.

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