Welcome to the Geography Department!

Throughout their time at Gateacre students will have the opportunity to discover the world in their geography lessons with the department aiming to make sure that students are not only learning about the world, but are also prepared to go out into it when they leave school and be successful in it.

The department holds 2 nationally recognised accreditations awarded by the Geographical Association (GA) in 2015- the Secondary Geography Quality Mark (SGQM) & Centre of Excellence (CoE) status illustrating its commitment to teaching and learning. As well as being a member of the GA the department is also a member of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and is also the lead subject across the school in the Global Learning Programme (GLP). 

Meet the Staff

  • Mr A. Smith (Head of Department)
  • Mrs S. Woodhall (2nd in Dept)
  • Miss J. Owen

Geography at Key Stage 3

Students at KS3 (Years 7-9) have 2 lessons of Geography per week.

Year 7

Our Year 7 students start the year by completing a baseline enquiry that covers topics and issues that they may have completed at primary school so that their teacher can help them make the best possible start at Gateacre. Students are provided with feedback and targets to work on over their first few weeks. Many Year 7 students will have also received a ‘Geography Passport’ over the summer holidays to complete through the departments work with local primary schools. The passport is full of exciting activities and quizzes again to help students make the best possible progress at Gateacre when they start in September.

Students in year 7 also complete units such as ‘What is Geography?’ which focuses on introducing them to the different types of Geography. Students will learn about Physical, Human and Environmental Geography.  They will study the major features of UK Geography and the major oceans, continents, rivers and mountain ranges of the world. This unit is designed to stimulate interest, enjoyment and a sense of wonder about the world’s places and environments but also provide them with a firm grounding.

Another unit which students complete is ‘Mapping my world’, where students look at the essential elements of map reading.  The skills in this unit will provide students with the knowledge that they need to successfully interpret a variety of maps which will be used across the different Key Stages.  Students will learn how to work out distances and use scale, interpret map symbols and contours and use 4 and 6 grid references as well as practice their orienteering skills.

Students also study rivers and what happens to them on their journey to the sea with the chance to complete some 3D models as well as completing other units such as deserts & settlements throughout their first year.

Year 7 students are also offered the opportunity to take part in a fieldtrip to a local shopping centre to undertake a shopping enquiry. Some Year 7 students are also invited to attend a fieldtrip to visit Loggerheads Country Park in North Wales to complete an orienteering course as well as a mini river study to build on their classroom learning.

Year 8

Year 8 is a great year in Geography. Students have a close encounter with rainforest animals when the department is visited by the ‘Rainforest Roadshow’ where students have the chance to handle some rainforest animals whilst completing their ‘Extreme Environments’ unit. Students also investigate temperature and wind differences around the school grounds when completing a microclimate study in the ‘Weather and Climate’ unit.

A popular unit is ‘Volcanoes and Earthquakes’ with students competing against each other making their own erupting volcano!

Year 9

Year 9 is another exciting year in Geography with lots of different units on offer. Year 9 is also an important year as students must choose their GCSE options.

For 2015 Geography was the most popular optional subject at GCSE at Gateacre!

Students start off the year by completing a mini unit entitled ‘Geography in the news’ where they review all the geographical news that has hit the headlines over the summer holidays. Students go on to  look at a number of contemporary issues in their other units that help to bring geography to life. Students complete units on population and migration, Antarctica, Supervolcanoes and tsunamis alongside units such as urbanisation, rocks and the Middle East.

Year 9 students are also offered the opportunity to take part in a fieldtrip visiting the world famous White Scar Cave and Malham located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Year 9 have also visited the Valley Theatre investigating the impact of flooding on the local area.

The Geography department has worked hard to make lessons fun and interesting so that all our students gain a better understanding about their place in the World and to ensure they are prepared to take Geography at GCSE if they wish.

To view the Key Stage 3 long term plan please click here


GCSE Geography 2016 (9-1). Exam board: Edexcel Geography A

What you will be studying

You will be studying a range of topics from both the Human and Physical sides of Geography. Students will also have the opportunity to take part in exciting fieldtrips in preparation for their exams.

 Component 1: The Physical Environment

  • Topic 1: The changing landscapes of the UK – including optional sub-topics from which students choose two from three:
  • 1A: Coastal landscapes and processes,1B: River landscapes and processes or 1C: Glaciated upland landscapes and processes
  • Topic 2: Weather hazards and climate change
  • Topic 3: Ecosystems, biodiversity and management

Component 2: The Human Environment

  • Topic 4: Changing cities
  • Topic 5: Global development
  • Topic 6: Resource management – including optional sub-topics from which students choose one from two:
  • 6A: Energy resource management or 6B: Water resource management

Component 3: Geographical Investigations: Fieldwork and UK Challenges

  • Topic 7: Geographical investigations − fieldwork
  • Topic 8: Geographical investigations − UK challenges

How you will learn

You will acquire a range of skills through field work, map and atlas work, using IT, graphic and presentational work, discussion and group work using a number of different resources. We use a variety of teaching styles including interactive lessons to access all students learning styles.

How you will be assessed

  • Physical Environment exam paper: 1 hr 30 mins worth 37.5% of grade
  • Human Environment exam paper: 1 hr 30 mins worth 37.5% of grade
  • Geographical investigations: 1hr 30 mins worth 25% of grade

What to do next

Speak to your Geography teacher for more information.


A Level Geography

Its official Geography is the must have A Level!

According to the Royal Geography Society 13% more students took the subject at A Level this year than last, up to 37,100 - the biggest jump of any of the major subjects!

A Level Geography is a subject in a unique position in that it can keep degree course choice open as it is regarded as both a science and a humanities subject. This can help you to keep your option choices open and not restrict your future career choices.

Methods of teaching and learning are important to students. At Gateacre, in the Geography Department, we aim to provide our students with the skills necessary to further their studies as independent learners in higher education.

Students will also develop their thinking and analysis skills as well as developing a wider understanding of contemporary issues.

We use a variety of interesting and interactive teaching and learning techniques and provide students with a range of opportunities to enhance their experience.

Students have 6 lessons of Geography at A Level and are usually taught by 2-3 members of the Geography Department.

Why Choose Geography A Level

AQA A Level Geography

Component 1: Physical geography


What's assessed

  •   Section A: Water and carbon cycles
  •   Section B: either Hot desert systems and   landscapes or Coastal systems and landscapes or Glacial systems   and landscapes
  •   Section C: either Hazards or Ecosystems   under stress

How it's assessed

  •   Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
  •   120 marks
  •   40% of A-level


  •   Section A: answer all questions (36 marks)
  •   Section B: answer either question 2 or question 3   or question 4 (36 marks)
  •   Section C: answer either question 5 or question 6   (48 marks)
  •   Question types: multiple-choice, short answer,   levels of response and extended prose


 Component 2: Human geography  


What's assessed

  •   Section A: Global systems and global governance
  •   Section B: Changing places
  •   Section C: either Contemporary urban environments   or Population and the environment or Resource security

How it's assessed

  •   Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
  •   120 marks
  •   40% of A-level


  •   Section A: answer all questions (36 marks)
  •   Section B: answer all questions (36 marks)
  •   Section C: answer either question 3 or question 4   or question 5 (48 marks)
  •   Question types: multiple-choice, short answer,   levels of response, extended prose


Component 3: Geography fieldwork investigation  


What's assessed

  •   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.

How it's assessed

  •   3,000–4,000 words
  •   60 marks
  •   20% of A-level
  •   marked by teachers
  •   moderated by AQA

Where can Studying Geography at Gateacre take me?

Geography is a subject that really compliments other subjects. Our students go on to take a variety of courses at university and enter a wide range of careers such as Law, Journalism, Teaching, Languages, Dentistry, Business, Design, Engineering, Earth Science, Art, Sculpture and Geography.

Want to know more about studying Geography at Gateacre? Contact Mr Smith - Head of Geography on 0151 363 1111.