The Physical and Human Environment
Key Stage 3Key Stage 4

The study of geography stimulates an interest in and a sense of wonder about places. It helps young people make sense of a complex and dynamically changing world. It explains where places are, how places and landscapes are formed, how people and their environment interact, and how a diverse range of economies, societies and environments are interconnected.

It builds on pupils’ own experiences to investigate places from the personal to the global. Geography inspires pupils to become global citizens by exploring their own place in the world, their values and their responsibilities to other people, to the environment and to the sustainability of the planet.

Key Stage 3

From Years 7-9 pupils should consolidate and extend their knowledge of the world’s major countries and their physical and human features. They should understand how geographical processes interact to create distinctive human and physical landscapes that change over time. In doing so, they should become aware of increasingly complex geographical systems in the world around them.

Year 7

Plate Tectonics

The first half term focusses on Physical Geography as we look at the history of the earth with specific lessons on: A slice through Earth, Our cracked Earth, Plate movement, Earthquakes, Tsunami’s, Volcanoes, Why live in a danger zone.

Map Skills

The second half term focusses on an introduction to map skills. In this series of lessons we will look at: Mapping connections, Map symbols, Using 4 & 6 figure grid references, Scale, Distance.

About the UK

In Spring half term we focus on our island looking at weather, people and economy.
Population and Migration: the second half term in Spring sees an introduction to the causes and effects of migration in Europe and Asia.


The Summer term begins with a look at the history, physical features and people in Africa.

Horn of Africa

The final unit of work in the last half term focuses on a specific region within Africa as we look at the physical features, climate and people in the Horn.

Year 8

Living off earth’s resources

The first half term focuses on Living off earth’s resources: natural resources, water issues, oil usage and sustainable energy policy which incorporates renewable energy.

Earning a living

The second half term moves our focus to the world of work with lessons on: the UK at work, changing employment structures in the UK and other countries, de-industrialisation, the clothing industry in Bangladesh.


Spring term introduces the GCSE topic of physical geography: the water cycle, drainage basins, river processes and land-forms created by a river.


The second spring term introduces another GCSE topic: lessons focus on features of erosion, deposition and management.


The first half term in Summer moves the focus back to the world’s major countries and regions as we focus on Asia. Lessons look at history, physical geography and people.

S.W. China

Our final series of lessons focuses on a specific region within China as we look at the importance of the S.W region in the rise of China as a global superpower – Chongqing and Tibet.

Year 9

Introduction to meteorology and climatology

The first half term is focussed on two topics that prepare pupils for GCSE should they wish to continue taking Geography into Year 10 and 11. Pupils look at the basics of weather and climate with a series of lessons on what causes weather, different types of weather in the UK and worldwide. Our focus then changes to climate, explaining factors which affect climate in the UK and worldwide.

Climate change

Following on from climatology, we look at the causes, effects and responses to the threat of climate change in the UK and worldwide.

Population change and development

Spring term focusses on population change as pupils look at The Demographic Transition Model, population pyramids, development indicators and government strategies.


Causes, effects, and challenges posed by the increasing urbanisation of the planet.

The Middle East

Our final work in Year 9 focuses on the physical geography, people and conflict associated with the Middle East region.


Pupils receive 1 lesson (1 hour) of Geography each week.

Homework will be set after each lesson and is to be completed and handed in the next day. This may be worksheet or textbook based or involve internet research.

Assessments will be done in lessons either through tests or assessed work and in the timetabled yearly exams.

Pupil targets will be set using the CEM test results taken in year 7. Progress in reports will be recorded using NC level descriptors.

Pupils may find extra information for revision purposes by using KS3 geography bitesize.

Key Stage 4

At GCSE we follow the AQA specification A (8035). This qualification is linear. Linear means that pupils will sit all their exams at the end of the course.

The subject content is split into four units:

3.1 Living with the physical environment
3.2 Challenges in the human environment
3.3 Geographical applications
3.4 Geographical skills

GCSE Geography

3.1 Exam Paper 1: Living with the Physical Environment

The aims of this unit are to develop an understanding of the processes and forms associated with tectonic, geomorphological, biological and meteorological processes in different environments. We look at the need for management strategies governed by sustainability and consideration of the direct and indirect effects of human interaction with the Earth and the atmosphere.

Section A: The Challenge of Natural Hazards
Natural hazards, tectonic hazards, tropical storms, extreme weather in the UK, climate change

Section B: Physical Landscapes in the UK
UK physical landscapes, coastal landscapes, river landscapes

Section C: The Living World
Ecosystems, tropical rainforests, hot deserts

3.2 Exam paper 2: Challenges in the human environment

The aims of this unit are to develop an understanding of the factors that produce a diverse variety of human environments; the dynamic nature of these environments that change over time and place; the need for sustainable management; and the areas of current and future challenge and opportunity for these environments.

Section A: Urban Issues and Challenges
Section B: The Changing Economic World
Section C: The Challenge of Resource Management

3.3 Exam paper 3: Geographical Applications

Section A: Issue Evaluation

This section contributes a critical thinking and problem solving element to the assessment structure. The assessment will provide pupils with the opportunity to demonstrate geographical skills and applied knowledge and understanding by looking at a particular issue(s) derived from the specification using secondary sources.

A resource sheet will be available from March 15th in the year of the exam so that pupils have the opportunity to work through the resources, enabling them to become familiar with the topic.

Homework and School-based Assessments

Pupils will receive five 1 hour lessons and four pieces of homework over a two-week timetable. During the course, pupils will sit mid and end of unit tests on each topic in order to assess progress. They will also sit a past paper on Paper 1 for their Year 10 exam and paper 2 and 3 for their Year 11 mock exam.

Final Assessment

There are no tiers of entry – all pupils sit the same exam.

Paper 1: Living with the Physical Environment
Written exam: 1 hour 30 mins
88 marks -35% of the GCSE
Question types: multiple choice, short answer, levels of response, extended prose

Paper 2: Challenges in the Human Environment
Written exam: 1 hour 30 mins
88 marks – 35% of the GCSE
Question types: multiple choice, short answer, levels of response, extended prose

Paper 3: Geographical Applications
Written exam: 1 hour 15 mins
76 marks – 30% of the GCSE
Question types: multiple choice, short answer, levels of response, extended prose

Further Study

Geography is not only up-to-date and relevant, it is one of the most exciting, adventurous and valuable subjects to study today. So many of the world’s current problems boil down to geography and need the geographers of the future to help us understand them.

Global warming, sustainable food production, natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, the spread of disease, the reasons for migration and the future of energy resources are just some of the great challenges facing the next generation of geographers.

Choosing geography at school can open the doors to a university degree, either specifically in geography or in a variety of other subjects. An A-Level in geography is recognised for its academic ‘robustness’ and, most importantly, it also helps young people into the world of work.

Employers prize the knowledge and skills that studying geography can provide, be it knowing how the world works, planning research and report writing, working in a team, using new technologies and communication skills – and much more.

You will find geographers working in a wide range of jobs, from the city to planning, working in the environment to travel and tourism, retail or in international charities.

Department Staff

Mr R Lamerton

Head of Geography / Head of KS4

Contact Geography