Curriculum Intent

The intent of the curriculum is to give students a great understanding of the world in both human and physical elements and at all scales. Its aim is to develop their cultural capital through the exploration of a variety of places and case studies across all key stages. Geography allows all learners to connect to the world and enables them to have an insight into the different peoples, places and the world we live in. In KS3 they study the Geography of the UK, moving on to Geography of the World therefore allowing students to link their learning from KS2 and to KS4. At GCSE the curriculum is ambitious, yet balanced and has many links between topic areas of human and physical geography. The Geography curriculum is also designed to link and interleave with other curriculum areas to develop a range of skills students will be able to use in real world. This includes looking at grid references, interpretation and analysis of maps, photos and satellite images. Students will analyse charts and data, assisting with numeracy. There are also connections with Science through ecosystems, rock and nutrient cycling, changing economies in Business, and Technology through engineering. As well as producing extended writing answers which will develop skills such as reasoned argument and substantiating judgements, which fits in with other Humanities and literacy-based subjects. The Curriculum also promotes independent learning and is designed to take students away from just focusing on learning content for an exam – this is done through fieldwork elements in urban areas such as Manchester in KS5 and drainage basins and Birmingham in KS4 – The intent is to give students a greater appreciation of the area in which they live and to give them a deeper understanding and application of the human and physical processes. The Curriculum also has a duty to prepare students for challenges facing them and the world at the moment. To do this the curriculum evolves to address the current concerns, these include world debt/loans and uneven development which promote oracy through discussions on how to manage debt and issues around debt. Similarly, local concerns such as the HS2 and flooding.  and the cost of protecting these areas. Crucially, students are taught about critical resources (food, water, energy) and how the use of these is or is not sustainable in the UK and around the world. All of which provide cultural capital by giving students an understanding of humanity’s impact on the world, as well as ethical considerations on the world around them.



The KS3 program of study is an engaging course designed to enable the pupils to build upon the KS2 curriculum objectives of location, place, physical and human geography, fieldwork and skills. It is also designed to prepare the pupils for the AQA GCSE and therefore is closely mapped to the GCSE specification. The aim of the KS3 course is to introduce the pupils to the exciting and diverse world of geography through two main themes. Firstly, the ‘Geography of the United Kingdom and secondly the ‘Geography of the Wider World’. During these two themes there is the opportunity to explore independently the wide range of case studies, make valued decision making, practice skills and be involved in fieldwork.

Topics covered in the two themes at KS3:

The Geography of the UK The Geography of the Wider World
Introduction to the UK Our physical world
Physical landscapes of the UK Our living world
Weather and Climate of the UK Our unequal world
The People of the UK Focus on Africa
Work, rest and play in the UK World cities
Challenges and opportunities in the UK Global issues



Geography curriculum at KS4 will develop and improve upon the skills learned at KS3. The pupils will study a range and even balance of both human and physical Geography topics. This will give them a broad knowledge of the issues facing our society and their role in the world. The KS4 Geography curriculum is designed to encourage students to think critically about the world, their local area and humanity’s role in it. Through links with other subjects the aim is for skills to be embedded and applied consistently so that learners can tackle a range of geographical problems with confidence. Students will be given regular formative and summative assessment and the opportunity to study exemplar responses. The Geography departments aim is for students to be reflective and review their learning in order to promote independent study, to identify their weakness’, to improve on them and to prepare them for the next transition into further study or employment.

Living in the Physical Environment Challenges in the HUMAN Environment Topics
Challenge of Natural Hazards Urban Issues & Challenges
Living World Changing Economic world
Physical landscapes of the UK Challenge of Resource Management


KS5 (if applicable)

Geography: “it’s the must-have A-level”. The Guardian

The Geography department encourages all KS4 Geographers to consider A level as an option due its facilitating appeal. As The Royal Geographical Society states ‘geography opens doors to other degrees such as business and administrative studies, law, engineering and technology, and the other social physical sciences’. At KS5 we follow the AQA A-level Geography course for its continuity from GCSE and Key Stage 3. Our intent is to allow the geographers to become independent thinkers who constantly analyse and critique geographical processes and models. To be able to apply these to real life situations and their NEA (independent study).

Curriculum Implementation

The department has three experienced staff with each over 10 years of teaching experience. All the teachers have the same level of ambition for all students and the Geography department uses a range of resources and skills to support disadvantaged learners. A range of students have learning passports that include implementation strategies to support learning. One of the strategies that assists many SEND children is the use of Knowledge organisers and topic glossaries. The department publishes much of its work on a shared area (TEAMS), so students have the ability to download the relevant material and use for independent study. As students progress through the Key stages, they are encouraged to submit work electronically using The Teams/ emails as well as in the written form necessary for examination practice.

End of Course Assessment


PAPER 1 Living with the PHYSICAL Environment Topics: PAPER 2 Challenges in the HUMAN Environment Topics: PAPER 3 Geographical Applications:
Exam Time:  1 ½ hrs


88 marks in total


Including 3 marks for SPaG

(Spelling, punctuation & grammar)


35% of GCSE mark


Question styles:

Multiple choice; Short answers; calculations;

open response;

extended written argument with evidenced point & informed conclusions.

Exam Time:   1 ½ hrs



88 marks in total


Including 3 marks for SPaG

(Spelling, punctuation and grammar)


35% of GCSE mark


Question styles:

Multiple choice;

short-structured answers;

cloze exercises,

photo interpretation/ description, interpretation of maps on

different scales,

data responses,

longer extended writing.

Exam Time:   1 ¼ hrs



76 marks in total


Including 6 marks for SPaG

(Spelling, punctuation and grammar)


30% of GCSE marks

Section A :  Challenge of Natural Hazards

Section B :  Living World

Section C:

Physical Landscapes in the UK


Section A :  Urban Issues & Challenges

Section B : Changing Economic world

Section C: Challenge of Resource Management

Section A: Issue Evaluation on Pre-Release material

Section B: Fieldwork on 2 compulsory human & physical topics


Component 1: Physical Geography Component 2: Human geography Component 3: Geography fieldwork investigation
Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes

120 marks

40% of A-level


Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes

120 marks

40% of A-level

3,000–4,000 words

60 marks

20% of A-level

marked by teachers

moderated by AQA

Section A: Water and carbon cycles

Section B: Coastal systems and landscapes

Section C: Hazards

Section A: Global systems and global governance

Section B: Changing places

Section C: Contemporary urban environments

Students complete an individual investigation which must include data collected in the field. The individual investigation must be based on a question or issue defined and developed by the student relating to any part of the specification content.

Career Links


St Thomas More has its very own dedicated careers team.  To find out more about careers at St Thomas More, please click here. 


Tips and Advice

There are a whole host of books to read and TV programmes to watch at each Key stage. The geography department’s favourites for each key stage are listed below. If you are intrigued to find out more then visit the department’s Geography at the Movies club or your Microsoft teams.

Book: Journey to the River Sea Book: The Kite Runner Book: Prisoners of Geography
Film/TV: The Impossible Film/TV: Slum Dog Millionaire Film/TV: Behind the curve


The departments favourite local places to visit to experience some geography in action is well, everywhere, as Geography is literally all around you. A walk around Park Hall or Hem Heath woods is Geography. A trip to festival park or a football game is Geography. Come and talk to the geography department about your trips or places you have visited or if you like we can give you some suggestions.

Further Information


Subject Leader Information

For more information or if you have any questions please use the contact details below.

Mr G D Millington – Subject Leader

Be the first to know by joining our newsletter

Discover news, upcoming events, policies and much more...