In preparation for their trip to the Midlands in early July, Mr Beattie delivered a fascinating talk about the places we will be visiting, mostly but not all centred in the East Midlands. Leaving not long after the end of their GCSE Exams, the group will travel to Cambridge, visiting various museums before moving on to their accommodation in Stratford. Day trips to the Space Centre and Industrial Museum in Leicester and Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes will be followed by a stop off at Oxford and the BMW car plant on the way back to London.

After familiarising the students with the relative geographical locations of our destinations Mr Beattie then used Oxford and Cambridge to highlight the contrasts between ancient Universities with modern cutting edge Science Parks. This theme of contrast was then extended to Stratford and Leicester, the latter being the site of Richard III’s tomb (the subject of another talk by Mr Beattie) and the aforementioned National Space Centre, with its close links to the University.

As a model for examining the region in more detail, he focussed on the four different sectors of the Economy from Primary to Quaternary. Via a series of helpful graphs and pie charts the students were able to appreciated the changing balance of these sectors in terms of employment and contribution to GDP. The relics of primary industry most visible to this group when they went to Yorkshire will not be much seen on this trip.

A fascinating history of car manufacturing in Oxford culminating in the current BMW plant in Cowley, showed the importance of the Secondary Sector; Tourism in Oxford, Cambridge and Stratford the Tertiary Sector; and the Science Park in Cambridge and Space Park in Leicester were illustrative of the Quaternary Sector.

The students will leave on their trip in July with a greatly enhanced understanding of the economic geography of the places they will be visiting.