Aims and Overview of the Geography Departmentgeography

Our aim in the Geography Department is to equip students with the skills and knowledge that allow them to become positive contributors to society, the environment and economy and in doing so enable them to develop as individuals.

The knowledge and skills that pupils develop in Year 8 will be built upon in the years to come and will have significant links with the core skills of Numeracy, Communication and ICT.


Mrs Campbell (Head of Geography)
Mrs Colgan
Mrs McCullough
Miss Trimble


Four modern and well equipped classrooms, all with Promethean ActivPanel screens and Apple TV.

Why study Geography?

“More than ever we need the geographer’s skills and foresight to help us learn about our planet … ….how we use it and abuse it. Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future.”        Michael Palin

Equipment Needed

  • Blue or black pens
  • Pencils
  • Ruler
  • Colouring pencils
  • Rubber
  • Sharpener
  • Glue Stick

Key Stage 3

Scheme of Work

Year 8

  • Map Skills
  • ­Energy
  • Agriculture in Northern Ireland
  • Weather

Year 9

  • Rivers
  • Flooding
  • Population
  • Migration
  • Italy

Year 10

  • Hurricanes
  • Brazil
  • Geography of Sport
  • Tourism


The purpose of assessment is to identify the pupils’ strengths and weaknesses and from this identify specific areas that require further study and improvement.

Assessment takes a variety of formats including traditional exams in November and June, common assessment tasks and homework. Many of these are teacher assessed but some are peer and self assessed. At the end of each unit of work students are asked to evaluate their experiences in terms of what they liked or didn’t like, their achievements or lack of them and then use their conclusions to set themselves targets in the future.



Specification/Exam Board:  CCEA

All pupils sit 2 written papers and submit 1 piece of Controlled Assessment. As well as being assessed on their knowledge of the topics candidates must also demonstrate their quality of their written communication.

Unit 1 Understanding Our Natural World (Paper 1) – worth 37.5%

This unit covers 3 physical geography themes and is taught in Year 11.

  • The Dynamic Landscape – involves the study of rivers and coasts
  • Our Changing Weather and Climate – involves measuring the weather, weather affecting the British Isles and the causes and consequences of climate change
  • The Restless Earth – involves the study of rock types, plate tectonics and earthquakes

Unit 2 Living in Our Natural World (Paper2) – worth 37.5%

This unit covers 3 human geography themes and is taught in Year 12

  • People and Where They Live – the study of population, settlement and urbanisation
  • Contrasts in World Development – includes the development gap, factors contributing to unequal development and sustainable solutions.
  • Managing Our Resources – includes waste management and sustainable tourism

Unit 3 Fieldwork Report – worth 25%

This takes the form of Controlled Assessment and consists of an investigative study, based on primary data collection. The topic usually involves the study of a river and is undertaken as a whole group but candidates complete their own fieldwork report of no more than 2000 words. The task is set and moderated by CCEA but marked by the Geography teacher.

Year 11 undertaking fieldwork in the Curly Burn River, a tributary of the River Roe, Co Londonderry.

gcse photo 1 gcse photo 2 gcse photo 3 gcse photo 4

AS Level

Specification/Exam Board:  CCEA

Criteria for Entry: Grade B or above in GCSE Geography

Unit 1 Physical Geography – worth 40% of AS and 16% A level

This unit includes

  • Processes and features in fluvial environments
  • Human interaction within fluvial environments
  • Global biomes
  • Small scale ecosystems
  • The processes that shape our weather and
    Weather in the British Isles
  • Global weather issues

Unit 2 Human Geography – worth 40% of AS and 16% A level

This unit includes

  • Population data
  • Population change
  • Population and resources
  • Settlement change
  • Planning in rural environments
  • Urban challenges
  • Measuring development
  • Reducing the development gap
  • Emerging markets

Unit 3 Fieldwork Skills and Techniques– worth 20% of AS and 8% A level

In this unit students actively collect data through fieldwork and are assessed on their ability to present, analyse, interpret and evaluate their data and techniques.  In addition there are questions which require a response to quantitative and qualitative data from secondary sources.

During the course of the year students undertake a fieldwork investigation which requires an overnight stay.

These units are assessed as external written exams.  Papers 1 and 2 assess units 1 and 2 respectively and are composed of short structured questions in Section A and extended writing questions in Section B.  Both these papers are 1hour and 15 minutes duration.  Paper 3 assesses fieldwork and responses to quantitative and qualitative data from secondary sources.


A2 Level

Assessment takes the format of 3 external exams, each lasting 1 hour 30 minutes.

Unit 1.  Physical Geography. – worth 24% of final exam

Section 1 Physical Geography

This also includes 2 options from 4 available.

Option A – Plate Tectonics – Theory and Outcomes*
Option B – Tropical Ecosystems -Nature and Sustainability
Option C – Dynamic Coastal Environments*
Option D – Climate Change – Pat and Present

Unit 2 Human Geography – worth 24% of final exam

Section 1 Human Geography

There are 4 options from which students will study two.

Option A – Cultural Geography*
Option B – Planning for Sustainable Settlements*
Option C – Ethnic Diversity
Option D – Tourism*

Unit 3 Decision Making in Geography – worth 12%of A Level

In this unit students develop decision making skills in a real world scenario.  They identify and analyse appropriate material, examine conflicting issues and make and justify recommendations.

* indicates the options studied within this section

Below shows A Level fieldtrip to study sand dune succession at Magilligan.

a-level photo 1    a level photo 3

Above shows the two A2 students who were selected to attend the ‘Dawn to Dusk’event at QUB.

a level photo 2

Useful web links

www. – the animations for high and low air pressure are good on this site. – lots of interactive games relating to all aspects of geography. – test your knowledge and speed with regard to world oceans and continents – a fun revision activity. – use this site to find out about geography in the news. – a fantastic site with film clips, quizzes and information on geography and other subjects. – look up the weather for the next five days, find out about weather warnings and weather news and pictures. – learn all about northern Ireland e.g. mountains, lakes, rivers and towns (settlement) – find out about non-renewable resources. – find out about renewable energy resources. – a great site with lots of easy to understand information about different types of energy and the problems of pollution and global warming. It also looks at the nuclear energy debate.

BBC – Learning Zone Broadband Class Clips – Video and audio teaching       resources for primary and secondary school teachers. – a super site where you can watch short film clips on a range of geographical topics. – a really useful site for GCSE and A-Level, a range of topics and covered for revision purposes. – this is CCEA’s geography site where you can access the GCSE and A level Syllabi and download past papers and mark schemes to help with your exam preparation and view podcasts.