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Geographers head to Wales

Our Year 13 geography students attended a five day residential fieldwork course. 

During the October half-term 23 of our Year 13 geography students attended a five-day fieldwork experience course run by the Field Studies Council to collect data for their geography NEA that counts towards 20% of their overall A Level grade.

The trip started with students meeting us at 7.00am in the Greenshaw car park, understandably a bit bleary-eyed, but full of excitement for what was many students’ first experience of a school residential trip. Accompanying the students on the 200-mile journey was Ms Maxwell (Head of Geography), Mr Barnes, Mr Booth, and Miss Frewin.

Crossing over the Prince of Wales bridge signified our arrival into Wales, and students quickly awoke from their slumber to take photos of the picturesque scenery provided by the estuary of the River Severn and the Welsh Valleys.

Upon arrival to Margam Discovery Centre (FSC) students were given time to acclimatise to their new surroundings and then were straight into their first workshop on how to conduct carbon and water cycle studies in varying types of woodland. After a roast dinner, students were then ushered into their evening classroom session that allowed them to explore the theory behind how to conduct fieldwork.

Day 2 started with an 8am breakfast, and students making their own packed lunch in the refectory. This was then followed by a 9:15am classroom session on how to conduct fieldwork in coastal environments and urban areas. We then travelled to the nearby coastal town of Porthcawl where students were given the opportunity to practice using a range of fieldwork equipment to see which techniques they may want to use in their own investigation.

Day 3 involved students having to focus on what particular aspect of geography they wanted their independent piece of research to be centred around. With provisional fieldwork titles approved by their geography teachers, students then headed to their chosen location and worked either solo or together to gather data needed to address their research question(s).

Day 4, with students having reflected on their methods from the previous day, was dedicated to them continuing to collect their respective data in the many locations around Porthcawl. We were consistently impressed with the ingenuity being shown by students and the teamwork that all groups represented. A particular shoutout goes to the students conducting soil analysis that worked late into the night in the FSC laboratories to analyse their samples.

Day 5 started with a statistical workshop where students ran calculations to determine the validity and reliability of their data. Students then said a bittersweet goodbye to Margam Discovery Centre, and we departed for the return 200-mile trip back to Greenshaw.

The geography department would like to extend its thanks to all the teachers who gave up their time to ensure the success of this trip, and especially to Miss Frewin from the science department, who provided her invaluable knowledge of the living world to assist students wishing to conduct biodiversity and species richness studies.

We would like to thank our students for representing both the geography department and Greenshaw High School in the most positive way, by demonstrating their commitment to excellence.

Further information about future fieldwork opportunities for current Year 12 students will be made available in due course.

Mr Barnes, Geography Teacher