Geography - St Edward's College, Liverpool - Winner of the 2024 Bernice McCabe Award

The Geography department at St Edward's College won the award for their programme of activity to promote a geographical identity to students and staff at the College. This has been achieved by a diverse array of activities which contribute to a cumulative geographical ethos, collaborating with a range of external agencies.

The Geography department rolled out an inclusive GCSE revision programme covering concepts and case studies through a series of carousel activities. 65% of the Year 11 cohort attended these inaugural opportunities. There was a direct correlation between attendance and examination results. However, the real magic of these sessions was the downtime between activities where students socialised, ate pizza and discussed everyday geographies. This really helped to create a culture where Geography is a discipline to be celebrated where learning is not restricted to the classroom.

The department then repaired a trail on the school’s grounds that is now a 250m stretch of forest that is now fit for purpose for study. The trail has been road-tested with fieldwork experiences integrated into all year groups at Key Stage 3 and 4. Then, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool’s sustainability department, the woodland facility was developed with some forward-thinking initiatives such as bug boxes, hedgehog friendly spaces and birdwatching.

The School supports and endorses enrolment for postgraduate study; for example the Head of Geography is studying for a PhD in sea level change. Colleagues in the department have used their postgraduate study experiences to enrich students’ coursework on the Isle of Arran using advanced data collection, presentation and analytical techniques and strategies increasing percentages of As / A*s at A-Level.

Finally, the Geography department launched the St Edwards College Mountaineering Society to promote staff well-being across the College. The main objective this academic year is to take on the challenge of the Yorkshire Three Peaks in the summer term to raise money for charity – this will be promoted explicitly to students to improve the respect-rapport relationship between learners and educators opening up the awe and wonder of Geography.

The department’s ultimate objective is to cultivate a community of Geographers who enjoy and engage with the discipline in everyday situations ensuring they are responsible citizens thinking globally, acting locally and living sustainably operating as role models for society through a diverse range of activities both outside of the classroom and outside of the school day.