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Key Stage 3 Geography Overview 

We provide at Hillcrest School a high-quality Geography education which inspires in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Our curriculum aims to equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge provides the tools and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.


Our Curriculum for Geography aims to ensure that all pupils: develop contextual knowledge of the location of places, seas and oceans including defining their physical and human characteristics; understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time; acquire geographical skills needed to collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through fieldwork experiences that deepen their understanding of geographical processes; interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS); communicate geographical information in a variety of ways including through maps and writing at length. A wide range of geographical skills and place knowledge are integrated with the topics throughout the curriculum. It also aims to prepare students with a firm foundation for the step up to GCSE geography.

Year 7

Term 1

1a: Introduction to geography – In this topic, students will get to grips with what geography is about and will investigate a both human and physical geography through the study of plastics. Students will learn about how plastic is used, why it is a problem, and what we can do about it whilst getting to grips with some basic geographical concepts.

1b: Geographical skills – In this topic, students will learn a range of skills that are important in all areas of geography. In this topic, students will develop their ability to use and interpret maps, ensuring that they are confident in using grid references, symbols and scale. This topic prepares students with the skills they need to approach the upcoming topic.

Term 2

2a: Tectonic Hazards – In this topic, students will be introduced to the Earth’s structure and the concept of plate tectonics. They will study both earthquakes and volcanoes, developing an understanding of how they are caused, the dangers they create and how we can manage them.

2b: Population – In this topic, students will learn about the Earth’s changing population. They will study the causes and consequences of population growth and how we can deal with an increasingly large population. Students will learn about how China struggled to manage their population and will evaluate the effectiveness of the One Child Policy.

Term 3

3a: Weather and Climate – Students will learn about the difference between weather and climate and why climate varies in different parts of the world. They will study climate change, looking at the causes, effects, and responses to this challenge. They will also look at how the Earth’s climate has changed throughout the history of the Earth, comparing the current climate to contrasting climates millions of years ago.

Year 8 

Term 1

1a: Development – In this topic, students will look at how different countries around the world are at different levels of development. They will learn about what development is and how it is measured, then will look at comparing different areas to see differences in development. They will look at the causes of the development gap and will strive to find solutions to help reduce the development gap in the future.

1b: Ecosystems – In this topic, students will learn about ecosystems, what they are, and how they differ around the world. Particular focus will be paid to hot deserts and tropical rainforests.

Term 2

2a: Rivers and Coasts – Students will learn about rivers and coasts, focusing on the different processes that operate there, the challenges that they create for us and how we can manage these challenges. Students will study examples of places that deal with particular challenges such as river flooding and coastal erosion and will look at evaluating potential solutions to these major challenges. Students will also learn about our interactions with the river and coastal environments and why they are so important to us.

Term 3

3a: Resources – In this topic, students will learn about the world’s major resources, with focus on food, water and energy. Students will learn about the importance of these resources and will develop an understanding of why some places have plenty whilst others suffer from shortages. Finally, they will develop ideas about how we can solve some of the greatest challenges associated with our limited resources.

3b: Synoptic topic - Russia – In this final topic, students will draw together everything that they have learned so far about geography, looking at the major challenges that Russia is facing today. Students will learn about the physical geography of Russia, and also the human aspects, such as population, resources and development. Ultimately, students will learn how Russia has become a major world power and will decide how Russia should best move forward to deal with its geographical challenges.

Key Stage 4 Curriculum




Exam Board Website:

Course Content 

Geography is the study of the earth, our place in the world, and the pressing challenges that we face. At GCSE, you will study a range of human and physical aspects of geography, as well as learning a range of skills. You will also have the opportunity to take part in both human and physical fieldwork.

Assessment Details 

The main topics covered on exam papers are:

Physical (Exam paper 1 – 1 hour 30 minutes, 35%)

  • Challenge of natural hazards (earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, weather and climate change)

  • Physical landscapes in the UK (rivers and coasts)

  • The living world (rainforests and deserts)

Human (Exam paper 2 – 1 hour 30 minutes, 35%)

  • Urban issues and challenges (population growth and cities)

  • The changing economic world (economic challenges including inequality and development)

  • The challenge of resource management (food, water and energy)

Geographical applications (Exam paper 3 – 1 hour, 30%)

  • Issue evaluation (bringing together both human and physical geography)

  • Fieldwork investigations (both human and physical)

  • Geographical skills 

Why Study This Course? 

Geography is vital to our understanding of the world around us. Through geography, we study many of the greatest challenges that we face in the future, including climate change, conflict over resources, crowded cities, natural disasters, deforestation, and a wide range of over issues. Not only do we aim to understand the problems, we also try to find solutions that will help us to meet the needs of the future as well as the needs of today.

Geography is an excellent choice for employment. A few examples of career options are shown below.

  • Volcanologist

  • Transport planner

  • Environmental consultant

  • Recycling officer

  • Architect

  • Town planner

  • Cartographer (working with maps)

  • International aid worker

  • Travel writer

  • Disaster response

  • Geographical information systems

  • Holiday companies

  • Resource management

  • Conservation

  • Teaching