Fieldwork Courses – Geography

At Birch Hall we have a strong commitment to learning outdoors. We also have a fabulous site with 1.5 miles of salt-marsh coastline and 400 acres of farmland and woodland. In addition, we are in close proximity to areas of tourism, rural communities, beaches and cliffs. All of these provide great opportunities for conducting field work. We’re therefore introducing some special fieldwork courses aimed at home educated student as well as mainstream student who may need to complete additional studies.

Each of the Birch Hall fieldwork masterclasses will give the students the opportunity to plan and carry out a fieldwork investigation; the day will include the use of appropriate equipment and investigation sheets and will be written to cover aspects of both GCSE and A-level Geography specifications, and will ensure that students are fully prepared for either designing their own independent investigations or answering specific questions within the examination papers. All sessions will be taught by a fully qualified secondary Geography Teacher who has experience of teaching both in a fieldwork centre and school and college setting.

The Birch Hall Fieldwork masterclasses would be ideal for home educated students who are undertaking their GCSE or A-level Geography, students who need to build up their fieldwork portfolio at A-level or those just excited to get out and experience more practical days in the field! Teaching will be age appropriate but please be aware that this will be GCSE level upwards depending on the group profile; differentiation will be used if mixed group.

Coastal processes and management

This day will include an introduction to the fieldwork location before commencing on collecting data on the beach at Walton on the Naze. This fieldwork location is ideal for showing students how management techniques impact the coastal processes and rates of erosion. The day will ensure that students understand how the underpinning geographical theory impacts these processes, as well as learning about the local lithology. The coasts day will be fully practical with students using equipment to build a reliable and significant data set to take away with them.

Rural Geography

This fieldwork day will help students to understand the theory of rural Geography and how this impacts the quality of life of residents within the local community in Essex. Students will explore what it means to be connected, to be part of a community and to assess what services are available. Students will have an opportunity to design fieldwork as well as completing prepared worksheets. This study can be a used as a stand-alone case study or can be used in conjunction with our urban geography day to complete a comparative study.

Urban/Coastalisation Geography

This fieldwork day will help students to investigate the quality of life within the urban conurbation of Clacton-on-Sea. Students will use underpinning urban theory as well as considering the impacts of coastalisation to investigate the patterns that exist. Students will also explore how Clacton’s origin has impacted what it is like today, as well as tying in elements of regeneration whilst studying the seafront and Clacton Shopping Village. This study can be a used as a stand-alone case study or can be used in conjunction with our rural geography day to complete a comparative study.

Saltmarshes and Succession

Students will access the saltmarshes of Hamford Water to investigate the theory of succession. They will undertake data collation to further understand how abiotic factors affect the abundance and type of plants found there. This day is also ideal for students studying Biology GCSE or A-level and differentiation can ensure that it matches the appropriate specification.

Data presentation and analysis write up

This is a follow up classroom session; for each fieldwork data collection day. Within these sessions students will learn how to present their data appropriately including the use of Geographical Information Systems, how to analyse their data to a high level including (if appropriate) the use of a statistical analysis technique. Students who are undertaking their A-level Geography will be given tips on how to improve their independent investigations (NEA) and GCSE students will be guided on how their fieldwork will be examined.

Our Tutor

Rachel Hurst works part-time teaching A’ Level Geography. She gained a BA (hons) at the University of Wales in Bangor in 2006 and went on to complete a PGCE at UEA in Secondary Geography. Throughout her degree she worked with both Medina Valley Centre on the Isle of Wight (field studies and sailing instructor) and also Whitlingham Outdoor Centre in Norwich (Senior Instructor). Having completed her NQT year she moved Flatford Mill (a Field Studies Council centre) where, for 6 years she was Senior Geography Tutor. She has loads of experience of teaching at A-level, especially interpretation of the specification and its application in fieldwork. She is able to deliver from KS1 to A-level in both Geography and Ecology and will work alongside visiting teachers, as well as tailoring fieldwork towards their requirements, including developing relevant worksheets, use of GIS etc.


Contact us, if you wish to organise a school group fieldwork visit, to discuss your requirements

Our sessions for individual students are as follows:

13 December 2018 – Coastal processes and management (10:00-13:00 meet at Naze Tower Carpark. Cost per student £25)

31 January 2019 – Rural Geography (10:00-13:00 meet TBC. Cost per student £25)

28 February 2019 – Urban/Coastalisation Geography (10:00-13:00 meet TBC. Cost per student £25)

28 March 2019 – Saltmarshes and Succession (10:00-13:00 meet at Birch Hall Adventures. Cost per student £25)

3 October 2019 – Coastal Processes and Management (10:00-13:00 meet at Naze Tower Carpark. Cost per student £25)

31 October 2019 – Rural Geography (10:00-13:00 meet TBC. Cost per student £25)