Geography can actively contribute to the key elements of education for citizenship through developing understanding and concern for the wider world. Pupils are also encouraged to become active and responsible members of their communities at local, national and international level.

Four examples in the geography department exemplify this.

The Gambia Link

Since a successful British Council teacher exchange programme in 2007, Students and staff have forged geographical ties with John Pickering High School in The Gambia, West Africa. Shared topics of study have given a global dimension to lessons and wider understanding of issues that affect us all.

  • Farming Systems. Comparing Scottish and Gambian Agriculture.
  • Trade Balance. Comparing exports and imports and volume of trade.
  • Water; A Valuable Resource.
  • Impact of Tourism on the development of the economy.
  • Disease, including AIDS and Malaria, and local ‘cures’.

School trips have been run every second year to The Gambia for senior pupils, organised by Mrs Cowieson (Guidance, Modern Languages), with support from Mr Low. Pupils return with a fresh outlook on life and are instilled with a keen sense of global citizenship.

Duke of Edinburgh Award

The Award is offered at Bronze, Silver and Gold level.

Not exclusive to the Geography Department, and run by various QAHS staff,

The Dof E leans strongly on Geographic principles of navigating, exploring and having concern for the environment. Activities are encouraged to fulfill the required categories of a Skill, Physical and Volunteering task. The final requirement, the Expedition, is run using different modes of travel:

  • Bronze level: Walking around Fife Coast
  • Silver Level: Canoeing River Tay / Spey
  • Gold Level: Dog Sledding in Canada took place in 2011. Canoeing and walking routes are also possible.

Increasingly employers are very interested in applicants who possess a D of E Award, as it is a clear sign of initiative and determination and involvement in community projects.

ZooLab and Sustainable Education

Zoolab is an educational organisation that brings life and excitement to a wide range of science and environmental geography topics.

S2 pupils from geography and science were recently given the opportunity to attend interactive presentations as part of their S2 Challenge Day. The presentations are directly related to the geography curriculum and make interdisciplinary links between geography and science topics.

Pupils (and staff!) thoroughly enjoy the Zoo lab presentations. It is a great opportunity to develop the environmental aspects of citizenship addressing concepts such as sustainability, globalisation and the environment.

The department also occasionally invites in environmental speakers related to environmental issues.

Links with China

  • The geography department has been actively involved in links with China through the interactive website ChinaClub HQ. The first project was linked to a  SCEN global classroom event at Edinburgh Zoo – Animals of Scotland and China. S2 Pupils from the geography department did a presentation about Pandas and Puffins after a linked project with Changshu Xiaoyou High School in Changshu.
  • In September 2011 we took part in a further project: SCEN at The Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh – Plants in China and Scotland. S2 pupils presenting about Plant Diversity and Conservation supported by the Senior Eco Team. This Project again linked with Changshu Xiaoyou High School in Changshu.