Curriculum Intent

The department is made up of five experienced geographers with expertise covering both physical and human aspects of the subject and a wealth of experience in running field study visits both home and abroad:

Mrs Mills

Mr McLoughlin

Mr Stevenson

Mrs Walshe

Miss Gumbley

As a department we believe strongly that Geography opens the door and prepares each one of us for the role of global citizen in the 21st century. Through studying geography, people of all ages begin to appreciate how places and landscapes are formed, how people and environments interact, what consequences arise from our everyday decisions, and what a diverse range of cultures and societies exist and interconnect. At Alderbrook, Geography is a subject which builds on young people’s own experiences, helping them to formulate questions, develop their intellectual skills and find answers to issues affecting their lives. It introduces them to distinctive investigative tools such as maps, fieldwork and the use of digital technologies. It opens their eyes to the beauty and wonder around them and acts as a source of inspiration and creativity. More than this, it ensures that they appreciate the complexity of attitudes and values which shape the way we use and misuse the environment. Through geography, people learn to value and care for the planet and all its inhabitants.

Curriculum Implementation

Key Stage 3

All pupils cover the National Curriculum requirements at Key Stage 3 through studying a range of both physical and human geography topics whilst developing a variety of geographical and fieldwork skills. Students study in mixed ability groups.

The units of work covered in Year 7 are:

UK Physical features and environments; including where in the world is the UK, coastal and river features and processes that shape our island. The development gap between the UK and other places in the world; with a study on Ghana and international trade. UK human environments and sustainability; with a focus on our local city of Birmingham.

The units of work covered in Year 8 are:

Global warming, Earth Hazards, Cold Environments, Japan, Weather and Climate, Sustainability, Global Problems and Solutions.

Each unit includes a standardised assessment, and there is an end of year assessment also.

Fieldwork studies at KS3 include sustainability and microclimate study of our school grounds and building.

Key Stage 4

Students follow the AQA GCSE Geography Specification. This is assessed in three papers as follows:

Paper 1: Living with the physical environment. The units taught include: The challenge of natural hazards,  The living world,  Physical landscapes in the UK, and geographical skills are taught throughout.  The Written exam is 1 hour  30 minutes, there are 88 marks (including 3 marks for spelling, punctuation, grammar and specialist terminology (SPaG)) and this is worth 35 % of the overall GCSE grade.

Paper 2: Challenges in the human environment.  The units taught include: Urban issues and challenges, The changing economic world,  The Challenge of resource management, and geographical skills are taught throughout.  The Written exam is 1 hour  30 minutes, there are 88 marks (including 3 marks for spelling, punctuation, grammar and specialist terminology (SPaG)) and this is worth 35 % of the overall GCSE grade.

Paper 3: Geographical applications: There is an Issue evaluation of a resource booklet released by AQA 12 weeks before the exam, Fieldwork and geographical skills are also assessed.  The Written exam is 1 hour  15 minutes, there are 76 marks (including 6 marks for spelling, punctuation, grammar and specialist terminology (SPaG)) and this is worth 30 % of the overall GCSE grade.

GCSE students will go on a physical fieldwork trip to Carding Mill Valley in Shropshire, and a human fieldwork trip to Birmingham city centre.

There is an optional overseas subject enhancement trip to Iceland every 2 years for GCSE students.


Key Stage 5


Exam Board: AQA

Why A level Geography?

Geography is the study of the Earth’s landscapes, peoples, places and environments. It encompasses everything around us and how it came into being.  Geography spans the social sciences (human geography) and the natural sciences (physical geography).  Human geography focuses on the dynamics of cultures, societies and economics and how these interact with each other, whilst physical geography looks to understand the workings of the physical landscape and environment. Geography focuses on the synergy between human and physical aspects, and how each impacts on the other.

What will you study?

The A level course involves both human and physical geography units. The course is designed to take you to the next level of academic study and will challenge your perceptions and stimulate your investigative and analytical skills.

Physical topics will include:

  • Water and carbon cycles
  • Coastal systems and landscapes
  • Hazards

Human topics will include:

  • Global systems and governance
  • Changing places
  • Contemporary Urban Environments

The course also includes an individual fieldwork investigation based on data collected by the students. To support this element of the course we undertake a five-day residential study visit to Nettlecombe Court Field Studies Centre located in Exmoor National Park during Year 12.   

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 Mrs Mills