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Higham Lane School

Higham Lane School


Geography FAQs

Why is studying geography important?

“So many of the world's current issues – at a global scale and locally - boil down to geography, and need the geographers of the future to help us understand them. Global warming as it affects countries and regions, food and energy security, the degradation of land and soils from over-use and misuse, the spread of disease, the causes and consequences of migration, and the impacts of economic change on places and communities.”


What trips do we go on?

‘Fieldwork is a large part of studying geography. Fieldwork investigations are a compulsory part of the geography GCSE and A level. We regularly offer trips across all year groups and undertake a yearly trip abroad. Previous years we have visited Iceland, The Netherlands and Morocco.’


What will I be studying in geography at Higham lane school?

‘At Key stage 3 (Year 7 and 8) we explore the continents of the world, focusing on key human and physical issues that effect that continent. From Australia’s forest fires to industrialisation in China. Learning the skills and knowledge to progress to GCSE.

At GCSE we follow the Edexcel B syllabus which focuses on global geographical issues, UK geographical issues and the conflict between people and the environment, which is assessed across 3 exam papers in Year 11.’

We are a highly-successful Department with four dedicated specialist teaching staff. All students receive four lessons per fortnight in Geography in Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. We have an exciting fast-paced curriculum that builds students' knowledge, confidence and skills in Geography through the learning of place, space, scale, location and interconnections. The curriculum that students learn in Geography at Higham Lane School is an ambitious and broad one; underpinned by the disciplinary knowledge of location, human and physical concepts, skills and fieldwork.

Our aim and vision is to create empathetic global citizens who see the value in their environment and understand their role in global morality.

Students will experience a range of teaching strategies, which aim to encourage them to be independent learners. Key Stage 3 Geography homework consists of GeoPacks, in which the students will undertake their own research and tasks so that they are given an opportunity to take control of their own learning at home and allow for parents/guardians to become directly involved in students' learning.

Topics studied at Key Stage 3 include: Weather and Climate, Climate Change, Natural Hazards, Globalisation and Russia. At Key Stage 3 there is a clear focus on developing the students understanding of Geographical processes and skills, which means that our students will work with a wide range of resources from maps, atlases, fieldwork equipment and graphs so that the students have every opportunity to build an understanding of the subject.

Geography is offered as an Option at GCSE and we currently follow the AQA course. Topics are broken down between Human and Physical Geography. Human Geography has a focus on Resources, Urban Issues and Challenges and The Economic World. Physical Geography has a focus on Natural Hazards, Ecosystems and Physical Landscapes of the UK. There is also an Issue Evaluation section, in which the students undertaken fieldwork investigations in a Human and Physical environment and will be assessed on a range of their data collection, presentation and evaluation.

Year 7 Curriculum

The Year 7 curriculum will introduce the students to a broad range of skills and scales in Geography, with a focus on a wide range of continents and countries throughout these topics. Topics studied in Year 7 include:

  • What is Geography- Continents, British Isles and Fieldwork.
  • Mastering Map Skills- Grid References, Symbols, Scale and Latitude & Longitude.
  • Extreme Environments- Las Vegas, Tesso Nilo, Volcanoes and Earthquakes.
  • Wondering about Weather- Weather, Air Masses, Fieldwork, Rainfall and Tropical Storms.
  • Adventure Into Africa- Blood Diamonds, Climate Zones, Piracy and White Slums.
  • Curious About Climate Change- Causes, Effects and Impacts on Continents.

Year 8 Curriculum

The Year 8 curriculum will focus much more on geographical processes and concepts and focus in on one place (Russia) but in much more depth. Whilst the Year 7 topics covered much more breadth of Geography, the Year 8 topics will go in to much more depth. Topics studied in Year 8 include:

  • Popping Population- Population Growth, Mega-cities, Resource Pressure and Population Control (including Russia and China).
  • Crazy Coasts- Processes, Landforms and Coastal Management.
  • Raging Rivers- Fieldwork, Processes, Landforms, Flooding and River Management.
  • Diving Into Development- Development Indicators, Globalisation, TNCs, Diseases and Food Miles.
  • Russia and the Radical North- Biomes of Russia, Russian Politics, Living in the Tundra, Arctic Conflict.

Year 9 Curriculum

The Year 9 year will be a ‘bridging’ year for our students to give them an idea of GCSE content but still make links to any gaps in the Key Stage 3 curriculum. The students will begin the academic year by studying:

  • Natural Hazards- Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Tropical Storms and Weather in the UK.

As we have an ambitious curriculum for our students, they will be introduced to GCSE concepts, that still have a link to the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum. They will move on to topics that will help to cover their breadth and depth including:

  • The Living World: Students are introduced to ecosystems at a small-scale, looking at producers, consumers and predators and how food chains work. This will move on to large scale ecosystems with a focus on characteristics, adaptations and challenges faced in Tropical Rainforests and Deserts.
  • Urban Issues and Challenges: Looking in to the push and pull factors to and from major cities and the emergence of mega cities. Students will compare the opportunities and challenges found in a city in a Higher Income Country versus a city in a Lower Income Country. This knowledge will be used to complete an urban area fieldwork investigation at some point in Year 10.

Year 10 Curriculum

For those students that have opted for Geography as their humanities option at GCSE, they will continue their learning with the AQA course. The GCSE course provides a broad overview of key events from Human and Physical Geography and provides the students with an insight in to social, economic, environmental, political and geopolitical Geography. The course develops students' analysis, justification, evaluation and research skills, all of which are invaluable to future colleges, universities and employers. Students at GCSE level will be supported with a fully comprehensive revision programme.

In Year 10, the students will further their Geographical studies with:

  • Physical Landscapes in the UK (Coasts): This will look at the processes, landforms and mass movement seen along UK coastlines. There will be a focus on case study material when looking at what coastal management has been put in place around the UK.
  • Physical Landscapes in the UK (Rivers): This will look in to the processes, landforms, causes of flooding and management found along rivers, with a key focus on case study material. This will set the students up with the knowledge to complete rivers fieldwork at the end of Year 10.
  • Urban Issues and Challenges: The knowledge that students have learnt in Key Stage 3 will be used to complete an urban area fieldwork investigation.

Year 11 Curriculum

In Year 11, the students will end the GCSE course by studying:

  • The Changing Economic World: The final year looks in to how the economy of the world is changing and why some countries need aid and support in order to develop. The students will make comparisons between the development of a Lower Income Country (Nigeria) and the development of a Higher Income Country (The UK).
  • Resource Management: An insight in to the pressure of resources in the UK from energy, food and water and how we are trying to improve our supply of these resources. Then a more global look in to the pressure put on water supplies, the impacts that this has on people and how countries are trying to increase water supply.
  • Pre-Release: A Pre-Release booklet is released in March on a specific topic from the AQA specification, in which the students are taught in preparation for Paper 3. Previous years has seen the pre-release focus on water reserves in the UK, road development in a rainforest and slums in Africa and Asia.

Year 12 and Year 13 Curriculum

A-Level Geography has developed a fantastic reputation at Higham Lane School, with exceptionally high standards being set and outstanding results being achieved. Students will follow the Edexcel exam board and will sit three exam papers at the end of Year 13 (Paper 1- Physical, Paper 2- Human and Paper 3- Synoptic) and will complete an assessed independent investigation worth 20%. Students study:

  • Tectonic Hazards and Processes
  • Coastal Landscapes
  • The Water Cycle
  • The Carbon Cycle
  • Diverse Places
  • Globalisation
  • Superpowers
  • Human Rights

In addition, they will partake in two fieldwork trips, one to be shown how to collect data and another to collect their own data on a Physical or Human study of their choice.

Extra-curricular Activities

The Geography Department are committed to offering trips and activities which complement students' studies with opportunities in each year group, with GCSE students going to a river site and urban site to collect their fieldwork and A-Level students taken to areas to collect their NEA data such as Southwold, Wales, Norfolk and Northumberland.

The department also consistently organises international trips every academic year, with successful trips to Iceland, Italy and a West Coast USA Tour in 2023, where students visited Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. There is a trip being run in Norway in October 2024, where 40 students will spend 5 days in this country; taking part in glacier walks and boat journeys on the fjords.

D Turley, Subject Leader for Geography