Curriculum Intent

The aim of the Geography department at Alderbrook school is to expose all students to local, national and global issues facing our society and planet today. Such issues as the impact humans are having on landscapes, the oceans and our atmosphere that is increasing or decreasing risk and disrupting human everyday lives.  These changes in the natural world are shifting so far that it may prove difficult to recover.  However, Geography is not just learning about impending doom, far from it, students will learn through all the key stages how currently the risks from such issues are being managed before being skilled and inspired to create solutions to these issues themselves. Our curriculum is multi-disciplinary as it draws on, for example, maths skills, science thinking and investigating issues through poetry.  Our aim for our Geography students is that they leave Alderbrook equipped with the skills and knowhow to go out into the world and work in industries that are actively seeking to mitigate and manage current local, national and global issues. Furthermore, opportunities for fieldwork investigation across all the key stages equips students with investigative skills that helps to analyse the real world and draw conclusions; key skills asked for from employers today.


Curriculum implementation


Our curriculum is designed to introduce students to their personal, local and national geography, with elements where this is compared to other places on the planet, helping them to discover their place and location in the world by comparing it to places with different levels of development. Students will learn about their local lives, their local city of Birmingham and the challenges this faces.  Students will investigate how people’s lives are impacted on by the multitude of rivers and coastlines that our island nation has and the issues that we face. Students will practise key geographical skills such as map and atlas skills, annotations of images and sketches, and reading stories from data.  This will begin to equip them with skills that will be practised through all the subsequent key stages. 

The curriculum then starts to investigate more global issues such as tectonic hazards, tropical storms, climate change and how levels of development will affect how devastating the impact of these hazards can be. Students will discover that these distant issues produce opportunities to manage outcomes, and that the world is so unequal that where you live determines unequal outcomes of such events.  Students will explore responses to issues and begin to form their own opinions and possible solutions to the issues that are facing our planet today. Students will conduct a fieldwork study that explores the sustainability of Alderbrook, this will start to develop their investigative, presentation and analyse skills ready for fieldwork in future key stages.


We follow the AQA Geography GCSE curriculum where students revisit some of the issues explored at KS3 and new issues are introduced.  Our human topics explore how unequal our world resources of food, water and energy are shared; for the first time in human history, more people live in cities than in the countryside so we investigate the issues this brings before exploring the economic world and the inequalities that need addressing.  Our Physical topics explore natural hazards of tropical storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, flooding and climate change; they explore further the rivers and coasts that shape the UK’s landscapes and how we humans live amongst it;  then natural systems of the world are investigated with complicated environments to understand.  Students fully investigate the details of these issues and explore how humans attempt to mitigate and manage them for a brighter future for our planet.  This gives rise for opportunities for our young people to critique current strategies and start to feel that they could make a difference and find future solutions to global issues by finding careers in these multitude of industries.

During year 10 students will further develop their fieldwork skills further by going on two trips; a human and a physical fieldwork trip to collect primary data.  The physical trip will collect data at 3 locations on a river to investigate if it changes as it goes downstream as the Bradshaw model suggests. We also collect primary data on a fieldwork trip to Birmingham where we visit 4 locations to investigate whether Birmingham’s ‘Big City Plan’ is having an impact.  This also enhances our case study on Birmingham for our Urban issues and challenges topic.  Then the write up of these fieldwork investigations gives valuable investigative skills needed for A level NEA and valuable skills in the world of work.


By KS5 We investigate the causes more deeply behind some of the issues we’ve investigated at KS3 and KS4 with an aim that deeper understanding will lead to a more creative responses for future solutions.  Our aim at KS5 is to equip these students with the investigative skills needed at university and in the world of work and beyond. It is the aspirations of the geography department that our A level students are inspired to take their learning further into university and be involved in the solutions that our city, nation and world needs to find for its myriad of issues.

The human topics cover the idea that places change and how we can investigate this in ways beyond data and statistics; what shapes contemporary urban environments and the issues facing them today along with critique of tried solutions; global systems and governance allows students to explore the current global workings and issues along with their place within finding solutions.

The Physical topics explores the world as overlapping systems in the water and carbon cycle as well as along our coastlines.  Then students investigate how the hazards that occur within these systems can then be understood in terms of impact on them so that mitigation and adaptation can be sought in future responses to reduce impacts on people and environments.  Once this is understood, students can begin to critique current solutions and explore future ones.


University degrees that require or often prefer Geography include:

Geography, Geology, Environmental Science, Travel and Tourism, and Sociology.


Entry requirements:

Minimum grade 6 in GCSE Geography, Minimum grade 6 in Maths and English Language.

‘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 geographers of the future to help us understand them.’

Michael Palin CBE, President Royal Geography Society


Skills for Success and Career Opportunities

Geography is highly respected by employers. Geography graduates have one of the highest rates of graduate employment, pursuing a wide range of career paths. It’s often said that there is no such thing as a Geography job; rather there are multiple jobs that geographers do. Potential career paths include:

  • Urban planner
  • Environmental engineer
  • Hazard manager
  • Seismologist
  • Volcanologist
  • Conservation officer
  • National Park officer/ranger
  • Forestry manager
  • Pollution analyst
  • Architect
  • Cartographer
  • Census data analyst
  • Coastal engineer
  • Hydrologist
  • Weather forecaster
  • Flood protection manager
  • Travel agent
  • Environmental Health Officer
  • Estate Agent

To investigate further the potential of Geography skills and careers , please visit:


Skills gained in Geography are:

  • Analytical skills. Geographers commonly analyze information and spatial data from a variety of sources, such as maps, photographs, and censuses. …
  • Communication skills in writing and when in groups for issue evaluation
  • Computer skills when accessing GIS, google Earth and USGS
  • Critical-thinking skills when addressing an Issue and evaluating it, as well as during fieldwork investigations.
  • Writing skills when explicitly answering assessment questions.


Contact the Head of Department

For further information; please contact Kerry Mills