Subject Overview

In Geography, we aim to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to make sense of the world in which they live. Students learn about a range of physical and human geography topics so that they are well informed about the world and have an understanding of global events.

Mr Matthew Barrett

Subject Leader for Geography

Miss Jessica Burns

Geography Teacher

Mr Sam Jones

Geography Teacher

Mr James Sturla

Geography Teacher

In Year 7, we start by teaching knowledge of location of places as we believe that this foundation knowledge enables better access to all aspects of Geography. Through KS3, we teach a balance of physical and human geography topics so that students learn how to explain natural processes, but also see how human actions have implications on the natural world. We teach topics that we know students find interesting like plate tectonics, but also topics that we feel are important for all young people to know, like global development issues, climate change and globalisation. We start the foundations for learning and memory, with a focus on retention of knowledge through frequent and spaced practice, application and testing. Throughout the topics we teach knowledge and skills that act as a foundation for further study at KS4 and 5.

At KS4, we follow the AQA Geography specification. We chose this course as it has an interesting and relevant selection of content which deepens students’ knowledge and understanding of the world. There are overlaps and connections with the topics studied at KS3, which supports knowledge retention, but there is also clear topic progression, with topics studied in greater depth and complexity through the GCSE years. Within this course, there are good opportunities to stretch the thinking of all students with evaluation-style questions. There are frequent opportunities for retrieval practice built into the curriculum to assess student learning and aid long-term memory.

At KS5, we follow the Edexcel Geography specification. We feel that this course offers an excellent balance of depth of knowledge and the study of current and relevant geographical issues, including globalisation, management of natural disasters, superpowers, water security and carbon cycling. The curriculum is naturally knowledge rich, with in-depth case studies and complex concepts. The core themes of causality, systems, equilibrium, interdependence, identity, mitigation and adaptation, sustainability, risk, resilience and thresholds are the thread/narrative through the curriculum, and skills progress to being able to analyse complex and numerous resources. Evaluation becomes more profound in its nature as we build in the need to evaluate from a wide range of standpoints, and ‘synopticity’ becomes a central feature of our work, allowing students to see the connection between themes and to articulate this connectivity in their written work.

Year 7 Overview

Students are taught the following topics in Year 7:

  1. Knowledge of Places: Continents, Countries, Capital Cities, Major Physical features
  2. Map skills
  3. Weather and Climate
  4. Global Development
  5. Distinctive Landscapes

Year 8 Overview

Students are taught the following topics in Year 8:

  1. Plate Tectonics
  2. Population and Migration
  3. Climate Change
  4. Globalisation

GCSE Overview

Students are taught the following topics in Years 9 to 11:

The GCSE specification covers 6 topics:

  1. The Challenge of Natural Hazards
  2. The Living World
  3. Physical Landscapes in the UK
  4. Urban Issues and Challenges
  5. The Changing Economic World
  6. The Challenge of Resource Management

Throughout the 6 topics, students will develop their cartographic, graphical, numerical and statistical skills as well as learn to use both qualitative and quantitative data. Students also develop their fieldwork enquiry skills, conducting both physical and human geography fieldwork.

A-Level Overview

Students are taught the following topics in Years 12 and 13:

Year 12

  • Tectonic Processes and Hazards
  • Coastal Landscapes and Change
  • Globalisation
  • Diverse Places

Year 13

  • The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security
  • The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity
  • Superpowers
  • Migration, Identity and Sovereignty

In Year 13, students are also required to carry out an Independent Investigation, which is a non-examined component of the A level qualification.

Students experience geographical fieldwork through each key stage.

KS3 (Year 8) 

  • Fieldwork on the Waddesdon Estate linked to climate change and sustainability.


  • Physical Geography: A river enquiry
  • Human Geography: A comparison of the characteristics of urban areas

A Level 

  • Physical Geography: A coastal enquiry
  • Human Geography: An investigation into the characteristics of diverse places in the local area
  • A residential fieldtrip in preparation for the Independent Investigation
  • In-class stretch and challenge is promoted through questioning and extension activities.
  • Open-ended tasks are used, alongside research opportunities which develop breadth and depth of understanding.
  • Fieldwork enriches and deepens understanding.
  • Top Grade Challenges are used at GCSE. These are extension tasks that are embedded into lessons.