Key Stage 3

Geography is a unique subject that investigates the physical structure of the planet and the social structure (i.e. how we affect our environment and how it affects us) in the past, present and future.

At Northgate we believe that Geography education should:

  • foster in pupils a sense of wonder at the beauty of the natural world and an understanding of the processes that have shaped it

  • develop in pupils an informed concern for the environment and an appreciation of the different cultures and backgrounds of people from all over the world

  • help pupils develop a range of transferable skills such as map reading, data collection, ICT, and problem solving

For more detailed information about what is studied each term in Years 7 to 9, please see the Parents’ Curriculum Guides in the Learning/Curriculum section of the school website.


Key Stage 4

What is GCSE Geography about?

There has never been a better or more important time to study geography. With a growing interest in global issues such as climate change, migration, environmental degradation, natural disasters and poverty, geography is one of the most relevant courses you could choose to study. Put simply, it is the subject which holds the key to our future.

Whatever your passion for the world whether it is a fascination with landscapes or a concern about inequality, geography will provide you with knowledge and help you to develop many transferable skills.

What will I learn?

Throughout the course you will:

  • Study the features of the earth and understand how they were formed. 

  • Develop knowledge about our rapidly changing world and how humans are impacting on the planet.

  • Gain an understanding and appreciation of the cultures and backgrounds of people from all over the world.

  • Study topics first hand on fieldtrips and learn the skills of data collection and analysis.

  • Develop intellectual skills such as thinking critically about issues, evaluating evidence and developing reasoned arguments.

  • Build transferable skills such as teamwork, problem solving, ICT skills and communication skills (presentation, writing, debating).


How will I be assessed?

The course consists of three examinations:

Paper 1 – The Physical Environment
35% of the final GCSE: 1½ hour examination.

  • The Challenge of Natural Hazards 
    Tectonic hazards, tropical storms, extreme weather & climate

  • Physical Landscapes of the UK
    Coastal landscapes & river landscapes 

  • The Living World
    Tropical rainforests & cold environments 

Paper 2 – Challenges in the Human Environment
35% of the final GCSE: 1½ hour examination.

  • Urban Challenges  
    Investigating cities in the developed and developing world
  • The Changing Economic World 
    Causes & consequences of the development gap, a study of a developing/emerging country & an investigation into the economic challenges & opportunities facing the UK
  • The Challenge of Resource Management 
    The global distribution of resources, resource challenges in the UK & a study on food supply


Paper 3 – Geographical Applications
30% of the final GCSE: 1 hour examination.

  • Issue Evaluation 
    A decision-making exercise involving a contemporary geographical issue

  • Fieldwork
    Questions based on the use of fieldwork materials from an unfamiliar context & questions based on pupils’ own enquiry work



A GCSE in Geography graded at 5 and above will count towards the English Baccalaureate. GCSE Geography also encourages students to continue the subject at A Level where it makes an excellent link between science and arts subjects.

Geographers enter a very wide range of career areas; there is no such thing as a geography job but there are jobs that Geographers do. Studying Geography provides you with valuable skills and a firm base for life-long learning.

Some examples of careers include: conservation worker, environmental health officer, architect, urban planner, pollution analyst, environmental consultant, financial risk assessor, accountant, transport/logistics manager, lawyer, economic advisor, aid worker, human rights officer, travel writer, refugee and asylum advisor, diplomat, surveyor, teacher, human resource manager, market research analyst, weather presenter, flood protection manager, cartographer.

A wider range of possible careers can be found on the Royal Geographical Society’s website -


Examination Board

AQA GCSE Geography