Geography Curriculum Overview

The grid below gives an overview of the curriculum for this academic year:

Year 7

Year 7: Focuses on atlas skills and knowledge about the world which is built on in subsequent years. Topics studied in this year include:

  • Indiana Jones – World Explorer
  • Harry Potter and the magic of Great Britain
  • Tectonic processes – Volcanoes
Year 8

Year 8: At this stage students have a good general knowledge on which to build. This allows for more of a focus on developing key skills such as discussion. Topics in year 8 include:

  • Climate change
  • Extreme environments – Poles and Deserts
  • The coastal zone
Year 9

Year 9: Students in this year study topics at GCSE standard, focusing on developing detailed description, explanation and evaluation skills. Year 9 topics include:

  • The Rainforest ecosystem
  • Tectonic processes – Earthquakes
  • Changing urban environments and sustainable cities

Course Title:  GCSE Geography

Awarding Body:  AQA

Why study Geography?

The GCSE Geography course is optional. Geography is an exciting course which allows students to study both physical and human themes and investigate the links between them.

The specification is relevant and topical, focusing on current events and global priorities. The Geography GCSE focuses on the changing world and students are encouraged to understand their role in society by considering different viewpoints, values and attitudes.

Geography is one of the best subjects to develop your enquiry skills.

Course Outline

Geography at GCSE builds on the knowledge, skills and understanding developed in the Lower School. There is no tiered entry; all students sit the same 3 exams giving them the opportunity to achieve any grade from 1-9.

A wide variety of topics are studied, including climate change, poverty, natural features and processes and sustainable resource use.  There is also a fieldwork element included in the course and a strong focus on developing geographical and analytical skills.

The course consists of three sections within Geography, assessed in three papers.




Living with the Physical Environment

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


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
  • 3.4 Geographical skills


Geographical skills including map, graph, data and diagram interpretation are assed in all three of the above sections.

More information and the full syllabus can be found at:

Assessment Format

AQA (1-9) Geography 8035

Students all follow a linear course which is assessed by three terminal examinations at the end of Year 11. Two of the papers are worth 35% each of the overall qualification, and one is worth 30%. In order to complete Paper 3: Geographical Applications, students will be required to undertake field work, investigating both human and physical environments. Paper 3 also includes a pre-release section for which students receive the information 12 weeks prior to the exam.

What skills will I need to be successful in this subject?

Geography is a subject which relies on a range of skills including observation, investigation, critical thinking, making connections, communication and discussion. Students will need literacy skills to critically discuss source information, and also require numeracy skills in order to create and interpret maps, graphs and data. To succeed in GCSE Geography, students will need to demonstrate the ability to formulate enquiries, interpret findings and evaluate their own work. The course requires students to be independent learners who have the inclination to extend their own learning beyond the classroom. Geography is concerned with real world and current issues so students must be aware of these.

Above all, students will need to be curious about the earth, and be able to apply ideas to new and changing settings.

Possible Careers and Future Education

The Geography GCSE course provides students with the skills and experience to progress onto A-level and beyond, and access a wide variety of future careers.

Geography is a course which brings together aspects of many other subjects including English, Mathematics and Science and is a subject highly regarded by many employers and further education courses. A Geography GCSE grade 4 or above demonstrates a clear understanding of interdependence on a range of scales and a high degree of critical thinking.

Studying Geography opens up many career paths. Students can go on to study courses such as Human or Physical Geography, Environmental Science, Geology, Architecture and International Relations. People with a Geography degree and other qualifications can go on to become: Human Rights Workers; Teachers; Architects; Planners; Interpreters; Aid Workers; Environmental Scientists; Expedition Managers and GPS Developers to name but a few.

Geography remains a popular A-level course, ranking in the top 10 choices, and is the most gender-equal qualification at A-level.