Geography at Caterham School is a thriving academic subject aiming to engender a wide understanding of the world, where students can gain an insight into the ways in which humans and the environment interact, and hopefully gain some empathy with different cultural outlooks.
At Key Stage 3, the emphasis is on engaging and inspiring the students. The syllabus enables students to study physical and human aspects of the subject through an issues-based approach which emphasises the importance of the interaction of global, regional and local processes.
At GCSE we follow the Edexcel B Specification, which combines physical and human geography, and involves two subject knowledge-based papers – Dynamic Planet and People and the Planet, a Decision Making paper which involves the synoptic study of a piece of pre-released information and a Controlled Assessment Task which is based on data collected during a field trip at the start of the Fifth Year.
At A Level we follow the Edexcel Specification, a modern and innovative course that studies relevant current and future issues - Hazards, Globalisation, Crowded Coasts and Rebranding at AS Level, and Biodiversity Under Threat, Water Conflicts, Energy Security, Superpower Geographies and Bridging the Development Gap at A2 Level. This is followed by a research paper on either Cultural Geography or Rural Leisure and Tourism.
Field trips are an integral part of geography, and overseas trips to Le Touquet, Iceland and Morocco have occurred recently, as well South Wales, Dorset, Box Hill, The River Cuckmere, The River Darent and, a little closer to home, the Olympic Site in Stratford. We also encourage students to work wider than the syllabus, through visits to academic talks and our own Geographical Society, where students present their findings on aspects of geography they have researched themselves.
Geography is constantly changing, and we aim to follow these changes closely so the teaching content is very dynamic. It is also a very important subject in allowing students to understand the way the world works, and their role in it. You know where you are with Geography!
Stuart Terrell BA (Hons) MPhil Head of Department
Stuart graduated from Birmingham University in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Geography and Sport and Exercise Science. He enjoyed being a student so much that he continued for two years to complete an MPhil in Recreation and Environmental Management. His experience of lecturing and tutoring undergraduates convinced him to embark on a teaching career and has never looked back. Having taught at St. Albans School for eight years, he joined the Caterham School Geography Department in 2007. He believes the subjects importance cannot be overstated in light of the current global crises that we are facing poverty, environmental degradation, global warming and the increasing frequency of hazards to name but a few. It can offer insight into the way in which our children can benefit from our actions, rather than pay for our mistakes. His other passions include hockey, cricket, rugby, hiking and music particularly if allowed to perform.
Andion Van Niekerk BA, Teacher of English, Geography and Games. Head of Townsend House
Andion currently teaches Key Stage 3 geography and is Head of Townsend House. Andion holds a BA from the University of Pretoria (SA) and has previously taught in South Africa and Switzerland. A popular member of the department, his pupils enjoy his creative approach to the subject. Andion also teaches in the English Department. Outside the classroom he may be found in the Gym, running the school circus club or helping in the boarding house.
Vanessa Mesher BA (Hons) PGCE Teacher of Geography
Vanessa studied Geography at Robinson College, Cambridge University, specialising in Human and Historical Geography. She then worked in the oil industry for ten years before training as a Geography Teacher and teaching at Imberhorne School in East Grinstead, a mixed comprehensive. Following a career break raising a family and time as an expatriate in Stockholm, Vanessa chose to return to her teaching career and joined Caterham in 2009.
Miss Chloe Searl MSc MEd – Teacher of Geography
Chloë studied Geography at the University of Birmingham. She taught for four years at a London boys grammar school, during which time she completed her MEd. She left to complete an MSc and following this, Chloe lectured at the Université de Madagascar until a coup forced her to return to the UK. She worked in youth environmental education for a London based charity before returning to the more traditional classroom, at Caterham School, in 2011. She specialises in environmental education and development geographies.