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Students in a geography lesson

We aim to excite, inspire curiosity and fascination about the world, and its people whilst developing an understanding of Human and Physical Geographical processes which shape our planet.

A high-quality geography education should inspire in students a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We aim to equip students with the knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.

Geography is not only up-to-date and relevant, it is one of the most exciting, adventurous and valuable subjects to study today. So many of the world's current problems boil down to geography, and need the geographers of the future to help us understand them.



Why study this subject? 

Geography is a pretty unique subject because it looks at both the physical structure of the planet and the social structure (i.e. how we affect our environment and how it affects us) in the past, present and future. Geography graduates have some of the highest rates of graduate employment. Whilst studying geography, you will not only improve your knowledge and understanding of our subject but develop a range of skills that can be applied to other subjects and careers. Geography is great for any kind of career that involves the environment, planning or collecting and interpreting data. Popular careers for people with geography qualifications include: town or transport planning, surveying, conservation, sustainability, waste and water management, environmental planning, tourism and weather forecasting. The Army, Police, Government, research organisations, law and business world also love the practical research skills that geographers develop. Because geographers learn about human and population development, geography can be useful for jobs in charity and international relations too.

Topics of Study and Assignments 

In Geography we study the following: 

Year 7

Becoming a Geographer, Developing as a Geographer, Ecosystems, Africa: A Continent, Rivers, Weather & Climate

Year 8

Fantastic Places, Our Restless Planet, Globalisation, Coasts, India & China

Year 9

Students start preparing for their GCSE. Glaciation, Skills, Megacities, Trade & Industry.

GCSE Geography

Students follow the new Edexcel B GCSE Geography 9-1 specification, covering the following topics: hazardous earth, development dynamics, challenges of an urbanising world, the UK's evolving physical landscape, the UK's evolving human landscape, geographical Investigations (which includes 2 statutory fieldwork investigations), people and the biosphere, forests under threat, consuming energy resources. 

The course is examined with three terminal examinations at the end of Year 11.

BTEC Travel and Tourism 

In Year 10 Students follow the BTEC First Travel and Tourism award and will focus on unit 1, the UK travel and tourism sector and unit 2, travel and tourism destinations.

Year 10 Newsletter 1st October 2017

In Year 11 students follow the BTEC First Travel and Tourism award and will focus on unit 4, international travel and tourism destinations and unit 6, the travel and tourism customer experience.

The course is examined with a mixture of both assignments and an examination.

Supporting your child through their Geography GCSE 

The Team

Paul White is Head of Geography and Travel & Tourism. He is qualified with a BA Honours in Geography and a PGCE. As a geographer Paul has a keen interest in the world we live in, locally, nationally and globally. He has a passion for travel; exploring new places both in the UK and around the world. Having studied Geography at university in Leeds he has spent most of his working career in Sussex. Paul believes Varndean is a great place for students to learn, and feels privileged to be leading and moving the Geography department forward as Head of Department.

Jane Burton is a Geography Teacher and is qualified with a BA Honours in Geography and a PGCE. Jane has always been interested in landscapes and geography as it has given her the background knowledge to understand the physical processes that formed them and how humans have interacted to change them further. Jane is particularly interested in how humans have changed landscapes locally, such as through the Wealden Iron Industry. She hopes that in teaching Geography she can help inspire students to be curious about the natural world around them and also about human impact on this world. And, to be able to read a map of course!

Lloyd Durbin is a Geography Teacher and is qualified with a BA in Geography and a PGCE. Having lived for most of his adult life in the East End of London, Lloyd has a particular interest in the changing urban and social geography of cities, however his childhood on the Devon coastline has also fostered within him a keen interest in physical landscapes. Lloyd is proud to teach Geography at Varndean, and hopes that he can inspire students to be curious about the human and physical world, and how they interact! 

Steve Howlett is a Geography Teacher and is qualified with a BSc Honours in Geography and a PGCE. Steve is very interested in local geography - both physical and human and tries to bring this into his teaching every day to foster a genuine interest in the fantastic area in which we live. He has now taught at Varndean for 30 years, and is now teaching the children of students he taught at the start of his career! The Geography department is going through a very exciting developmental stage which he finds is making it a great place to work in.

Jo Meloni is a Geography Teacher and is qualified with a BA Honours in Geography and an NPQH. There are not many subjects that you can say are around us wherever you go, that is one of the reasons why she finds Geography such an exciting subject to both learn about and teach. She is interested in both Human and Physical Geography and uses it as an excuse to travel and visit new places both within the UK as there is so much to explore right on our doorsteps, as well as abroad.

Jo Neville is a Geography teacher and Head of Learning and Progress and designated SENCO and is qualified with a BA Honours in Modern Studies majoring in Politics and Geography and has 3 post graduate qualifications including a PGCE. She studied in the Midlands but has always taught in Brighton and Hove. Jo has a real belief that all young people can learn through Geography as it is, fundamentally, about the world around them. Geography is continually changing which makes it such an engaging subject to have the privilege to teach. 

Jessica Karlsson is a Faculty Department Assistant. She trained to teach in Sweden and holds a Master of Education with a Social Sciences specialism. She has always had a keen interest in Geography and believes the great teachers in the Geography department are equipped to foster a similar passion in the next generation of students. 

Adam Michaels has been a Geography teacher for a number of years and is excited to begin his next chapter here at Varndean, having grown up and lived in and around Brighton for most of his life. A keen traveller, he has recently returned form an 8 month trip around South America. His other interests include a love of football and music.

Events and Activities 

Iceland Trip 2017 Again this year, we are pleased to have the chance to take students to Iceland to experience first hand areas they have been learning about in the classroom. Last years trip was fantastic and we are sure it will be again this year. Departure date is on 17th October.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Please see the link to the PowerPoint presentation that was shown on the information evening on the 28th September                                                                                                           2017 Iceland Trip PowerPoint                                                                                            



Twitter: @Varndean_Geog