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Geography

Geography is a fascinating and dynamic subject, which inspires a curiosity about the world and its people. The Geography Department at St Gregory's aims to provide students of all ages with the platform to broaden their understanding of the world in which we live. We investigate many issues facing the world today including natural hazards, the loss of the tropical rainforests, global warming, globalisation and migration. We then focus on how we can manage these issues sustainably.

Our accessible schemes of work allow for the development of skills across all key stages, along with opportunities for fieldwork and independent research. Our enthusiasm for the subject translates to the classroom where we encourage all students to question their role in society and the impacts our actions have on the future of our planet.

KEY STAGE 3 OVERVIEW 

At Key Stage 3 we introduce the core skills needed to become a successful geographer. Students receive a balanced curriculum with elements of physical and human geography, providing them with the opportunity to sample a wide range of topics. Some of these topics include traditional subject areas and contemporary issues, ranging from the dangers caused by the earth’s natural hazards, to examining the injustices of child labour in the fashion industry. Our aim is to provide a solid foundation for the students which they can then develop at Key Stage 4 and beyond.

 YEAR 7

Students often join the school with a varied background in the subject therefore we make it our priority to provide both an accessible and varied curriculum. Recent changes in the National Curriculum have seen a move away from the traditional approach of acquiring information to “making sense of new information through the active construction of knowledge”. Students need the time to explore new information and relate it to what they already know. It is therefore our role to facilitate this learning through various techniques such as map skills, group work, sorting data, ranking information, along with providing opportunities for data analysis and extended writing.

The year 7 curriculum provides the opportunities listed above, as students not only make sense of the world around them, but also their own local area. The emphasis is on:

  • Locational knowledge
  • Place knowledge
  • Human and physical geography
  • Geographical skills and fieldwork

With this in mind, we have created a scheme of work that encapsulates these key factors, while allowing students with little background knowledge to progress with confidence in the subject. Throughout the year, we aim to focus on the following topics:

 

7.1 – Geographical Investigations

This topic focuses on the basic skills needed to access the geography curriculum. Students are introduced to geography as a subject and basic map skills

7.2 – The United Kingdom

Students are introduced to their local area with a focus on the UK’s physical landscape along with towns and cities. There are also opportunities for questioning on why there are divisions between countries and how the economic wealth of a country can place it in the forefront of society

7.3 – Settlement

This topic focuses on the historical reasons for locating settlements and the problems and benefits associated with settlement growth

7.4 – The Indian Ocean Tsunami

A popular topic, this looks at the devastating impact the 2004 tsunami had on those countries hit

7.5 – India

India has a rich and diverse landscape and population. Students are given the opportunity to glance into the everyday lives of people in India

7.6 – Field work Enquiry

A local fieldtrip is undertaken to Gooseacre to assess the services and shops provided in our local area

 

Assessment:

Assessment takes the form of end of topic tests along with Christmas and summer exams. The student’s understanding is continually monitored throughout the year through regular book marking. Homework is set once a fortnight.

The geography department has an ‘open door policy’ when it comes to additional support outside the classroom, and students are encouraged to seek assistance from the teacher with any homework or with understanding any issues. 

 

Helpful websites:

http://mapzone.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/mapzone/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zrw76sg

http://geography.learnontheinternet.co.uk/ks3/index.html

http://www.geographyalltheway.com/ks3_geography.htm

 YEAR 8

Year 8 is an exciting time as by now, students have acquired a background knowledge into the concepts and skills associated with geography. This allows us to move forward with the curriculum with confidence.

Building on last year’s curriculum and skills, we dive into the complexities of the earth’s physical processes, gaining an understanding of the tectonic plates and the natural hazards that result from them. Historically, this has proven a very popular topic amongst both girls and boys. Students are also encouraged to extend their knowledge of the world’s major countries along with their physical and human features. The curriculum in year 8 is both stimulating and dynamic, moving on from basic skills to locational knowledge and spatial awareness. Students develop greater confidence in using geographical knowledge, approaches, concepts and geographical skills, in analysing and interpreting different data sources.

Continuing with our themes of location, place, fieldwork and human and physical geography, we deliver the following topics in year 8:

 

8.1 – Natural Hazards

This topic focuses on the hazards facing our world and the problems that can result from them

8.2 – Development

Here we look at the reasons why some countries develop faster than others and the barriers they face as a result

8.3 – China

This is a new addition to our curriculum, which looks at China’s rapidly growing economy and the reasons for this growth.

8.4 – Kenya

This topic focuses on Kenya’s physical landscape and rich cultures

8.5 – Middle East

The Middle East has featured regularly on news reports, and therefore this topic allows students to locate Middle Eastern countries and ask the questions they want to gain a better insight into recent events

8.6 – Map skills & Fieldwork enquiry

Mapping websites are used along with the development of the skills learned in year 7

A local enquiry, developing students' questionnaire skills and dealing with the public

Assessment:

Following on from year 7, assessment continues to be a focal point in our department. Students are assessed in a similar way to year 7, with end of topic tests allowing us to identify students who may be struggling with the work. Our ‘open door policy’ remains, and we are encouraged by the growing number of students taking ownership of their own learning by availing of the support sessions that are run. Homework is set once a fortnight.

 

Helpful websites:

http://mapzone.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/mapzone/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zrw76sg

http://geography.learnontheinternet.co.uk/ks3/index.html

http://www.geographyalltheway.com/ks3_geography.htm

 YeaR 9

“As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes”. – The Geographical Association

Year 9 is a crucial year for our students, as they have difficult decisions to make when choosing subjects for GCSE. Our curriculum aims to provide students with a sense of what is expected at GCSE Level, and many of the topics we study at Key Stage 3 provide the foundation on which GCSE content is delivered.

We have a growing emphasis on the skills associated with writing extended answers and analysing graphs and tables; skills that can be transferred across many subject areas. Physical and human geography topics are delivered through a wide range of mediums and these are consolidated through the fieldwork opportunities we are currently developing.

ICT is also a focal point of our Key Stage 3 curriculum and students are encouraged to be creative in their use of ICT to support their geographical learning. We are always looking at new ways to improve teaching and learning at Key Stage 3 through the use of new technologies.

The following topics are delivered in year 9:

 

9.1 – Rivers

This topic focuses on rivers and their power to erode and shape our landscape

9.2 – Flooding

Here we look at the causes of flooding and the impacts it has on countries at different stages of development

9.3 – Fashion and Football

Child labour in the fashion and football industries often goes unnoticed. This topic highlights the plight of many children around the world and discusses the ways in which we can help

9.4 – Ecosystems (fieldwork opportunities provided)

Ecosystems are an important yet threatened resource. Here we study the value of our ecosystems, along with the reasons why they are at risk

 

Assessment:

Assessment continues to be a key priority, and additional to teacher assessment, we also provide opportunities for self and peer assessment activities. Homework is set one a fortnight. The school’s ‘Green Pen Policy’ is used regularly, where students get a feel for what it is like to assess work while learning at the same time.

 

Helpful websites:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/riversandcoasts/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zrw76sg

http://geography.learnontheinternet.co.uk/ks3/index.html

http://www.geographyalltheway.com/ks3_geography.htm

KEY STAGE 4 OVERVIEW 

Subject content

Living with the physical environment

3.1.1 Section A: The challenge of natural hazards
3.1.2 Section B: The living world
3.1.3 Section C: Physical landscapes in the UK

Challenges in the human environment

3.2.1 Section A: Urban issues and challenges
3.2.2 Section B: The changing economic world
3.2.3 Section C: The challenge of resource management

Geographical applications

3.3.1 Section A: Issue evaluation
3.3.2 Section B: Fieldwork

Geographical skills

3.4 Geographical skills

 

Assessments

Paper 1: Living with the physical environment

What's assessed

3.1.1 The challenge of natural hazards, 3.1.2 The living world, 3.1.3 Physical landscapes in the UK, 3.4 Geographical skills

How it's assessed

Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
88 marks (including 3 marks for spelling, punctuation, grammar and specialist terminology (SPaG))
35% of GCSE

Questions

Section A: answer all questions (33 marks)
Section B: answer all questions (25 marks)
Section C: answer any two questions from questions 3, 4 and 5 (30 marks)
Question types: multiple-choice, short answer, levels of response, extended prose

Paper 2: Challenges in the human environment

What's assessed

3.2.1 Urban issues and challenges, 3.2.2 The changing economic world, 3.2.3 The challenge of resource management, 3.4 Geographical skills

How it's assessed

Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
88 marks (including 3 marks for SPaG)
35% of GCSE

Questions

Section A: answer all questions (33 marks)
Section B: answer all questions (30 marks)
Section C: answer question 3 and one from questions 4, 5 or 6 (25 marks)
Question types: multiple-choice, short answer, levels of response, extended prose

Paper 3: Geographical applications

What's assessed

3.3.1 Issue evaluation, 3.3.2 Fieldwork, 3.4 Geographical skills

How it's assessed

Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes
76 marks (including 6 marks for )
30% of GCSE
Pre-release resources booklet made available 12 weeks before Paper 3 exam

Questions

Section A: answer all questions (37 marks)
Section B: answer all questions (39 marks)
Question types: multiple-choice, short answer, levels of response, extended prose

 YEAR 10

3.1.1 Section A: The challenge of natural hazards

3.1.1.1 Natural hazards – an understanding of hazards and how they affect people.

3.1.1.2 Tectonic hazards – looking into plate tectonics and learning, in detail one tectonic hazard case study and how management of these hazards can greatly reduce impact on people’s lives.

3.1.1.3 Weather hazards – how global atmospheric circulation helps to determine patterns of weather and climate. An understanding of tropical storms (hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons) and how they develop. Impacts of tropical storms and their effects on people and the environment.

3.1.1.4 Climate change – how climate change is the result of natural and human factors, and has a range of effects. Managing climate change involves both mitigation (reducing causes) and adaptation (responding to change).

3.1.2 Section B: The living world

In this section, students are required to study Ecosystems, Tropical rainforests and Hot deserts.

3.1.2.1 Ecosystems - Ecosystems exist at a range of scales and involve the interaction between biotic and abiotic components.

3.1.2.2 Tropical rainforests - Tropical rainforest ecosystems have a range of distinctive characteristics. Deforestation has economic and environmental impacts. Tropical rainforests need to be managed to be sustainable.

3.1.2.3 Hot deserts - Hot desert ecosystems have a range of distinctive characteristics. Development of hot desert environments creates opportunities and challenges. Areas on the fringe of hot deserts are at risk of desertification.

3.1.3 Section C: Physical landscapes in the UK

In this section, students are required to study UK physical landscapes, Coastal landscapes in the UK and River landscapes in the UK.

3.1.3.1 UK physical landscapes - The UK has a range of diverse landscapes, An overview of the location of major upland/lowland areas and river systems.

3.1.3.2 Coastal landscapes in the UK - The coast is shaped by a number of physical processes. Distinctive coastal landforms are the result of rock type, structure and physical processes. Different management strategies can be used to protect coastlines from the effects of physical processes.

3.1.3.3 River landscapes in the UK - The shape of river valleys changes as rivers flow downstream. Distinctive fluvial landforms result from different physical processes. Different management strategies can be used to protect river landscapes from the effects of flooding.

 YEAR 11

In year 11, we continue to build on work from previous years and incorporate many revision sessions into the timetable to help students excel during this crucial year.  The topics studied are:

 

Controlled Assessment Write-up

The year begins with the write-up of our controlled assessment task, whereby students complete their projects under ‘limited and high control’

The Development Gap

This topic focuses on the varying levels of development amongst countries around the world. It looks at the impacts poverty can have on a nation as well as the factors that have created such gaps in development

The Living World

Ecosystems are an important yet threatened resource, and here we study the value of our ecosystems, along with the reasons as to why they are at risk

Globalisation

Our world is shrinking. This does not mean in size but rather through the increase in the level of communications we have today compared with the past. Improvements in technology mean that we can now contact regions in the world that were once isolated, allowing both new and established businesses to thrive and economies to grow. This topic focuses on the impact this ‘shrinking world’ is having globally

 

Assessment:

Students are assessed at the end of each topic in line with the requirements for AQA Specification A (please see web link for more details). Homework is set once a week and is marked regularly by teachers. Opportunities for peer and self-assessment are made available in the classroom.

 

Useful websites:

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/geography/gcse/geography-a-9030 - for access to the AQA spec, past papers and mark schemes

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/

http://www.geography.org.uk/projects/ks4ict/qcasubjectcriteria/

 KEY STAGE 5 OVERVIEW

GCE ‘A’ Level Geography - Edexcel

A Level geography is a broad subject, which focuses on many contemporary topics. Students studying geography at this level are encouraged to broaden their understanding and knowledge of the subject beyond the classroom. The Edexcel course focuses on the relationships between people and their environment.

 year 12

Area of study 1:

Dynamic Landscapes Topic 1: Tectonic Processes and Hazards

Overview

Tectonic hazards – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and secondary hazards such as tsunamis – represent a significant risk in some parts of the world. This is especially the case where active tectonic plate boundaries interact with areas of high population density and low levels of development. Resilience in these places can be low, and the interaction of physical systems with vulnerable populations can result in major disasters. An in-depth understanding of the causes of tectonic hazards is key to both increasing the degree to which they can be managed, and putting in place successful responses that can mitigate social and economic impacts and allow humans to adapt to hazard occurrence.

Topic 2: Landscape Systems, Processes and Change Option 2B: Coastal Landscapes and Change

Overview

Coastal landscapes develop due to the interaction of winds, waves and currents, as well as through the contribution of both terrestrial and offshore sources of sediment. These flows of energy and variations in sediment budgets interact with the prevailing geological and lithological characteristics of the coast to operate as coastal systems and produce distinctive coastal landscapes, including those in rocky, sandy and estuarine coastlines. These landscapes are increasingly threatened from physical processes and human activities, and there is a need for holistic and sustainable management of these areas in all the world’s coasts. Study must include examples of landscapes from inside and outside the UK.

Area of study 2:

Dynamic Places Topic 3: Globalisation

Overview

Globalisation and global interdependence continue to accelerate, resulting in changing opportunities for businesses and people. Inequalities are caused within and between countries as shifts in patterns of wealth occur. Cultural impacts on the identity of communities increase as flows of ideas, people and goods take place. Recognising that both tensions in communities and pressures on environments are likely and will help players implement sustainable solutions.

Topic 4: Shaping Places Option 4B: Diverse Places

Overview

Local places vary both demographically and culturally with change driven by local, national and global processes. These processes include movements of people, capital, information and resources; making some places more demographically and culturally heterogeneous while other places appear to be less dynamic. This creates and exacerbates considerable social inequalities both between and within local areas. Variations in past and present connections with places lead to very different lived experiences of places at a local level. This is because demographic and cultural changes impact variably on people in terms of the lived experience of change and their perception of and attachment to places. The relative success of the management of demographic and cultural changes for individuals and groups depends on that lived experience of change and how perceptions of, and attachments to, the place are changed. Students should begin by studying the place in which they live or study in order to look at demographic and social changes. They will then put this local place in context in order to understand how regional, national, international and global influences have led to changes in this place. They should then study one further contrasting place, which will develop wider knowledge and understanding about how places change and are shaped. A local place may be a locality, a neighbourhood or a small community, either urban or rural.

 YEAR 13

The following synopsis highlights the key points from the Edexcel specification:

Unit 3

Contested Planet

Examination:    

Many of the world’s resources are finite. Conflicts have arisen as a result of competition for these resources. The topics below are key for students to understand, in order to anticipate successful solutions to these problems in the future.

 

There are six compulsory topics:

Topic 1: Energy security

Topic 2: Water conflicts

Topic 3: Biodiversity under threat

Topic 4: Superpower geographies

Topic 5: Bridging the development gap

Topic 6: The technological fix

150 minute paper - 30% of total GCE (60% of A2)

 

Unit 4

Geographical Research

Examination:    

There is a strong focus on research in Unit 4, whereby students are expected to undertake independent study along with teacher led sessions.

 

Students must select and study one of the following:

Option 1: Tectonic activity and hazards

Option 2: Cold environments

Option 3: Life on the margins

Option 4: The world of cultural diversity

Option 5: Pollution and human health at risk

Option 6: Consuming the rural landscape

90 minute paper - 20% of total GCE (40% of A2)

 

Useful websites:

http://www.edexcel.com/quals/gce/gce08/geography/Pages/default.aspx - for access to the specification, past papers and mark schemes

http://www.s-cool.co.uk/a-level/geography

http://www.geography.org.uk/