Sandbach School Young Geographer of the Year

The Royal Geological Society runs a national competition every year to find budding young geographers.  The topic this year is all about ‘Why does Antarctica matter?’ in recognition of it being 100 years since Sir Ernest Shakleton’s brave attempt at being the first to cross Antarctica. We had outstanding entries from over 50 students – well done to all that submitted posters that explored why Antarctica still matters today.


  • Angus Walker 8E
  • Harvey Finnegan 8E
  • Macauley Taylor 8E
  • Tom Smyth 8E
  • Alex Withenshaw 8N
  • Isaac Christian 8N
  • David Naylor 8N
  • Elliot Birch 8N
  • Harry Hartley 8A
  • Daniel Joy 9E
  • Oliver Temporal 9E


  • Oliver Wilson 8N
  • Jack Malpass 8N
  • Sam Sheardown 8A
  • Joe Berry 8D
  • Max Rayner 8E
  • Ryan Hancock 9E
  • Mackenzie Lawton 9E


Will Dale 8E


Year 12 Geography Field Trip

30th September saw 38 Sixth-form Geographers visit Cwm Idwal IMG_6603and the Nant Ffrancon valley in Snowdonia to study upland glaciation. Students learnt to describe key glacial landforms observed, explain how they were created and outline periglacial and fluvioglacial processes have change the post-glacial landscape.

The day began with a two hour coach journey to the hamlet of Ogwen Cottage, where they had a brief stop at the new visitor centre before the long walk ahead. The trek started at the base of the Cwm Idwal corrie, at this point they were divided into three groups each with the expert of a teacher. Groups discussed the landforms surrounding them and how they were shaped by the glacier, many in owe of how powerful this was. After the geographical talks they re-grouped and headed off on the hike around the tarn (a meltwater lake left behind in the armchair shaped hole eroded by the glacier) where they had a moment of fame on the Google street view camera! The walk started comfortably but the challenge started when students climbed up the back wall (a steep rock face weakened by freeze thaw weathering. After a much deserved lunch midway up the corrie back wall the students crossed a small waterfall and then headed back to the visitors centre where tea and cakes were needed.

Finally they set off down the Nant Ffrancon glacial trough IMG_6606(a u-shaped valley with a flat base and steep sides, formed by the glacier moving down what was once a v shaped river valley, and erosion such as plucking, abrasion and freeze thaw weathering). They regrouped once again to discuss the glacial features shown here such as a misfit river, truncated spur, hanging valley and roche mountonnee. From the top of the valley there was a clear view of the misfit river within the glacial trough as well as the hanging valley and truncated spurs. Hanging valleys and truncated spurs are formed when tributary glaciers run into the main glacier, but erosion is not as strong therefore there is less depth and sometimes hanging valleys cause waterfalls but this is not the case in Nant Ffrancon valley. After the walk along the valley the students came upon a roche mountonee situated in the centre of the valley, this is an erosional process as the rock was surrounded by softer rock consequently that rock eroded and a roche mountonee was left behind.

The fieldwork has prepared students with geographical skills and understanding that can now be applied in the classroom.   The students had a brilliant day and were a credit to the school.

By Olivia Simon and Alexandra Chenery

A photo gallery can be found HERE.

Three Departments Win Award



Group (Small)

Sandbach School is pleased to receive The Prince’s Teaching Institute Mark for 2014/15.

The Prince’s Teaching Institute (PTI) launched the Schools Programme in 2007 to recognise and reward school departments that develop inspirational ideas and activities which enhance the teaching of Art, English, Geography, History, Latin, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages, Music and Science, regardless of their pupils’ backgrounds or abilities. It is run as a membership group for school departments that choose to commit to increasing the challenge of their subject provision.

Our Geography, Languages and Music departments received the Mark in recognition of their hard work carried out in 2014/15.

The PTI’s Schools Programme is open to all state secondary schools in England. To become members, school departments must demonstrate their commitment to increasing teachers’ subject knowledge, and to furthering their students’ understanding of and enthusiasm for the subject, regardless of their background or ability. To achieve the PTI Mark, departments then have to demonstrate that they have increased the challenge within their subject curriculum; developed their staff’s own specialist subject knowledge; developed subject-based links outside school; and enthused their pupils through subject-based activities beyond the curriculum. After three years of Schools Programme membership, departments may choose to become Associate Departments by devising an advanced multi-year programme in one of these areas. As Associate Departments they will share their growing expertise with others in the Schools Programme to the benefit of all.

Mrs Sarah Burns, headteacher of Sandbach School said, ‘We are delighted to have been awarded the PTI Mark for our Geography, Languages and Music department’s innovative work, and will be proud to carry the Mark on our stationery and website as evidence of our commitment to inspirational teaching.’


Geography Residential to the Centre for Alternative Technology

On Friday 7th to Sunday 9th November, 30 boys from Year 9 went to Machynlleth in Wales to visit the Centre for Alternative Technology ( to have an eco-weekend learning about sustainability and renewable energy.

The following report has been written by Kyle Cornish, Ed Deathridge, Jake Fletcher, James Michell and Matthew Murray.

We arrived at the centre on Friday to discover our ‘eco cabins’ weren’t like normal residential accommodation. We had to monitoring our electricity and our heating supplied entirely by solar panels, wind and hydro turbines.  If we ran out of electricity, we couldn’t use any of the sockets and the lights would go out. The temperature of the hot water for showers depended on a good strong fire, some were more successful that others!

On our first night, we had a vegetarian dinner followed by and activities up to 9pm. We had a number of competitions and tasks based on the eco cabins, learning about a future ‘Zero-Carbon’ Britain. We completed some puzzles and had a game of quick on the draw before heading back to the cabin for games, hot chocolate and pot noodles.

After a good night’s sleep, we started the next day with a guided tour followed by a workshop on wind turbines, presented by staff at CAT. The wind turbine workshop was a competition to see who can design and create the best wind turbine, learning that a small wind turbine was the most efficient.  We then had a workshop on Zero Carbon Britain learning how the UK could improve its renewable energy supply. After lunch (vegetarian again) we embarked on the hooded adventure. Ever tried walking around a forest blindfolded with a number of obstacles? We had to follow a rope around a challenging course. In the end, Ed, Matt C and Matt L fell into a pond, someone went round a section of the course in circles and someone who stopped following the rope and followed a stick! We learnt lots about using our senses to explore the nature around us.

In the evening we completed a range of activities including how we could make Sandbach School more eco-friendly and sustainable. In groups of five we created a presentation looking at the possibilities of getting a biomass boiler to save the school money as well as putting solar panels on different buildings around the school.  We all agreed that the school should invest in LED lighting technology and improve our recycling around the school.  Mr Jennings and Mr Roberts were the judges and they gave us keywords which we had to work into our presentation for bonus points! We then went back to the cabins for games, toasted marshmallows and a much needed sleep.

The final day, we went for our final vegetarian meal and exploration of the site, giving us the opportunity to reflect and review our weekend.  We collected a certificate of participation and made a commitment to do something differently in our lives to reduce our impact on the environment. It was a great weekend and everyone slept well on the journey home! Thank you to all the teachers and the staff at the Centre of Alternative Technology.

Follow the Geography Department on Twitter @SandbachGeog

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