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St Gabriel’s

St Gabriel’s

Head of Geography

Interview with Mrs Rebecca Harvey, Head of Geography

Can you tell us a little about your education?
I grew up locally and attended a small primary school called Inhurst House School.  I have very fond memories of it and think this is where my love of learning started.  As many pupils know, I am a member of the alumnae and spent seven happy years at St Gabriel's. I was proud to be House Captain of Chad and loved organising the younger pupils for House events such as netball tournaments, the swimming gala, sports day, debating and music. Perhaps this is where the skills for my future career started to emerge! After sixth form I went straight to Cardiff University to read Environmental Geoscience and following graduation I completed my PGCE at the University of Gloucestershire.

How did your interest in Geography develop?
I have always had a natural interest in the world around me and have enjoyed geography since school.  I am fascinated by the connections between humans and the physical world. I love to travel, have new experiences and explore interesting places.

Why did you choose a career in teaching?
Following university, I knew I wanted to pursue a career with a geography focus but was unsure of which direction to take.  Before taking a year out to travel, I decided to complete my PGCE as it would enable me to work on my return from travelling.  Little did I know how much I would enjoy teaching and 14 years later I am still doing the best job.

Can you tell us about students, do they impress and/or challenge you?
I often get asked this question by students ‘Don’t you get bored teaching the same thing?’

The answer is always no and it’s because of them, they ask interesting questions and challenge me to think about things in different ways.  No lesson is ever the same and I love the enthusiasm and energy they bring with them.

What are the key skills students learn in Geography?
Geography enables students to develop a variety of skills both subject specific and more general.  Fieldwork allows students to plan and carry out their own investigations in which they must manage their time effectively, create a hypothesis to test, collect data and analyse their findings.  Students also learn to interpret a wide range of maps, graphs and statistical data.  

Where have students gone on to study Geography at university?
Since I joined St Gabriel’s three years ago, a number of pupils have gone on to read geography at universities including Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham and Aberystwyth. 

What careers can Geography typically lead to?
Geography can lead into a wide range of careers in areas such as hazard management, the environment, policy and government, travel and tourism and international charities.

Is there a key message you want to share with students interested in pursuing Geography?
As Michael Palin said, “Geography illustrates the past, explains the present and prepares us for the future … what could be more important than that?”