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subject overview

In Geography, we look to expose our learners to environments, cultures & ideas dissimilar to their own. We also seek to make learning relevant to our students’ lives. We want our learners to end up with enhanced reading and writing skills and those of problem solving and synoptic thinking. The latter is needed in view of the many transformations our world will face in the coming years. Having a means to interpret events like Climate change, Brexit and Job market automation contributes to our learners’ economic and social well-being.


unit overview - autumn term 

Topic: Challenge of Natural Hazards


Interpreting map scales to determine distance

Using grid references and thematic mapping to analyse and interpret places

Using multiple geographical sources to answer questions using appropriate vocabulary

Showing knowledge to identify characteristics of an area studied


Natural hazards pose major risks to people and property.

Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are the result of physical processes.

The effects of, and responses to, a tectonic hazard vary between areas of contrasting levels of wealth.

Management can reduce the effects of a tectonic hazard.

Global atmospheric circulation helps to determine patterns of weather and climate.

Tropical storms (hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons) develop as a result of particular physical conditions.

Tropical storms have significant effects on people and the environment.

The UK is affected by a number of weather hazards.

Extreme weather events in the UK have impacts on human activity.

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).


If Key stage 3’s work in ‘Worldwide disasters’ sought to plug gaps in learners’ knowledge of atmospheric hazards and deepen knowledge of tectonic hazards, again much of the work at KS4 focuses on application of that knowledge with a focus on case studies of such disasters. In particular the human-physical interface in how societies cope with these disasters.

The theme of global development which has been a key tenet of KS3 teaching is further explored with the contrast of two tectonic hazards. The documentation of the Haiti Earthquake and that of Chile, though less well documented, through curriculum press articles provides a rich source of material here.

There is a need to teach this unit first on two counts. First, the interleaving opportunities over the course are important in that four case studies (the highest number for any unit) require revisiting for any misconceptions. Second, some material; particularly that which is found in UK Physical landscapes uses the framework advanced here of analysing a disaster through its causes, effects and responses. An additional layer of ‘management’ is also introduced and hence builds learners’ grasp of how human societies cope in a structured fashion, though sometimes less well given wealth constraints.

unit overview - spring term 

Topic: Changing Economic World


*Cartographic skills relating to a variety of maps

*Graphical skills

*Numerical and statistical skills

*Use of qualitative and quantitative data

*Formulate enquiry and argument


There are global variations in economic development and quality of life.

Various strategies exist for reducing the global development gap.

Some LICs and NEEs are experiencing rapid economic development which leads to significant social, environmental and cultural change

Major changes in the economy of the UK have affected, and will continue to affect, employment patterns and regional growth


Having established some generalised mechanisms for development at KS3 in the ‘Global Development’ unit much of the work in this unit seeks to apply this learning to an extended case study of an NEE / LIC. The choice is made to study India in part due to the sheer coverage of the country’s aspirations to develop.

The extended study of the UK also provides a point of interest as much of the developments in its economy can be intuited if not directly experienced by our learners. Their awareness of global forces tending towards socio-economic change such as those bound up with technological innovation makes the study relevant to their everyday lives whilst extending their knowledge of wider economic shifts such as those associated with the nature of work and a knowledge based economy.

The topic requires teaching as the first Human Geography topic as much of the measures of development introduced are applicable in ALL other units. Indeed knowledge of them steers learners away from vagueness associated with improvement / development. The application of these measures steers learners towards analysis which separates social from economic from environmental advances. As the unit contains two true (contextualised) ‘case studies’ rather than instrumental examples, the opportunities to deepen thinking on India & the UK are significant as multiple question stems necessitate the need to apply thinking across different themes. An example might be where, with a given knowledge of UK’s economic base, learners assess future change against sustainability criteria.

unit overview - summer term 

Topic: UK Physical Landscapes


*Cartographic skills relating to a variety of maps

*Graphical skills

*Numerical and statistical skills

*Use of qualitative and quantitative data

*Formulate enquiry and argument


The UK has a range of diverse landscapes.

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.

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.


The skills component of our KS3 study, in particular that pertaining to the identification of features on maps is important in the skills it provides for GCSE study. This is because the make up of this KS4 unit is weighted more towards low mark questions of this nature.

In a more traditional physical Geography topic comprised of landforms and processes, the trip to see landforms and ascertain the management of the attendant risks of flooding and erosion means learners are likely to be engaged in anticipation of the trip.

The scope for misconceptions (especially confusing unrelated work on rivers and coasts) means this unit requires teaching in the first year in order that basic interleaving techniques can be applied to recall content if only at a superficial level, e.g. concerning the identification of river or coastal processes. Though the unit is the one most conducive to rote learning rather than higher order thinking, some of the knowledge as suggested above, is applied to the study of flooding/erosion processes in the fieldwork taken up at the end of year 1.

knowledge Organiser

A knowledge organiser is an important document that lists the important facts that learners should know by the end of a unit of work. It is important that learners can recall these facts easily, so that when they are answering challenging questions in their assessments and GCSE and A-Level exams, they are not wasting precious time in exams focusing on remembering simple facts, but making complex arguments, and calculations.

We encourage all pupils to use them by doing the following:

  • Quiz themselves at home, using the read, write, cover, check method.
  • Practise spelling key vocabulary
  • Further researching people, events and processes most relevant to the unit.