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Curriculum Year 10 / Year 11


Supporting your child

Extended learning


Exam Board and Course Code

AQA GCSE Geography 8035 -




What students will learn

How it builds on learning


The Challenge of Natural Hazards

This topic looks at a range of different natural hazards, tectonic hazards, weather hazards and climate change.  This topic will look at the dynamic nature of physical processes and systems and human interaction with them in a variety of places and at a range of scales.  It will consider the influence the level of development of a place can have on the impacts caused by hazards and the need for management strategies.

Students begin their GCSE Geography journey studying Natural Hazards.  This topic allows students to make a smooth transition from KS3 to KS4 successfully as they have already been introduced to some of the key concepts.  Students will have some prior knowledge from the Year 9 ‘Power of the Planet’ topic and climate change.  This topic in Y10 builds on the knowledge gained in KS3 and then moves on to much more challenging concepts such as global atmospheric circulation and the formation of tropical storms.


This topic also builds on students’ prior knowledge of differing levels of development around the world.  Students gain a deeper knowledge of how these tectonic hazards affect the levels of development and how the level of development within a country affects their ability to predict, prepare and protect.

Urban Issues and Challenges

This topic looks at the fact a large and growing percentage of the world’s population lives in urban areas.  Urban growth creates opportunities and challenges for cities in LICs (low-income countries) and NEEs (newly emerging economies).  Students will study Rio de Janeiro as a case study of urban growth in a NEE.  Urban change in cities in the UK leads to a variety of social, economic and environmental opportunities and challenges; students will study London as a case study of urban change in the UK.

This topic will build on theories and concepts covered in Year 8 ‘Changing Cities’ such as urbanisation, urban change, urban growth, urban decline, and regeneration.  It also means students are not just studying physical geography in Year 10 but are starting to build their knowledge and skills of human geography as well.

The Living World

This topic looks at global ecosystems. Students start by looking at ecosystems at a range of scales and the interaction between their biotic and abiotic components.  Students will the look at tropical rainforests and cold environments through two detailed case studies - the Amazon Rainforest and Svalbard.  Students will understand the physical environment, the challenges and opportunities of these environments, and the impacts human interaction has on each environment leading to a need for sustainable management strategies.

This topic encourages students to develop and extend their knowledge of locations, places, environments and processes.  Students build on their KS3 understanding of ecosystems, biomes and their geographical locations, and the location and environmental characteristics of tropical rainforests – their climate, soils and biodiversity.


Sustainable management is covered in more depth as students consider the three pillars of sustainability in more detail (social, economic, environmental).

The Challenge of Resource Management

This topic looks at the importance of resources, namely food, water and energy and their significance to economic and social wellbeing.  Students will develop an understanding of the global inequalities in the supply and consumption of resources, the changing demand and provision of resources in the UK and the opportunities and challenges these create.  Students will then look more in depth at energy resources and the reasons for increasing energy consumption, factors affecting energy supply and the impacts of energy insecurity.  They will then look at different strategies that can be used to increase energy supply and how to move towards a sustainable future.

This topic develops a more complex understanding of natural resources introduced to students in the Anthropocene topic in Year 9.  Students consider three resources with a UK focus (food, water, energy), before then exploring one of these in more detail (energy) with a global focus.


What students will learn

How it builds on learning


Physical Landscapes in the UK

Students will study coastal landscapes in the UK and river landscapes in the UK.  Students will study the key physical processes that shape these environments and create unique landscapes.  Students will study an example of each of these landscapes form the UK.  Students will also look at how different management strategies can be used to protect coastlines from the effects of physical processes and to protect river landscapes from the effects of flooding.

In this topic, there is a greater emphasis given to process studies that lead to an understanding of change.  By considering processes linked to examples in the UK, students broaden and deepen their understanding of locational contexts, including greater awareness of the importance of scale.

By considering management strategies, there is a greater stress on the multivariate nature of 'human-physical' relationships and interactions.

The Changing Economic World

This topic looks at the global variations in economic development and quality of life that exist around the world.  Students will develop their understanding of the global development gap and the causes and consequences of this.  Students will then study strategies for reducing the global development gap.  Students will study Nigeria as an example of a NEE that is experiencing rapid economic development which leads to significant social, environmental, and cultural change.  Students will then study economic futures in the UK and how major changes in the economy of the UK have affected, and will continue to affect, employment patterns and regional growth.

The final topic finishes the content ready for Paper 2.  This topic is taught at the end of Year 11 as the concepts are challenging and pull together skills built throughout KS3 and KS4.

Geographical Applications preparation

The Geographical Applications unit is designed to be synoptic in that students will be required to draw together knowledge, understanding and skills from the full course of study.


Section A: Issue evaluation

A resource booklet about a controversial geographical issue will be released twelve weeks before the exam.  Students will be guided through the resource through a series of lessons enabling them to become familiar with the material.  Students will be guided through practice questions and a more extended piece of writing which will involve an evaluative judgement.


Section B: Fieldwork

Students will undertake two geographical enquiries (one in Year 10 to the Olympic Park in London, the other in Year 11 to Epping Forest).  Students will collect primary data in the field.  Students will apply knowledge and understanding to interpret, analyse and evaluate information and issues related to geographical enquiry and select, adapt and use a variety of skills and techniques to investigate questions and issues and communicate findings in relation to geographical enquiry.  Geographical skills are embedded in this topic and feature in all other topics.

Students develop and extend their competence in a range of skills including those used in fieldwork, in using maps and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and in researching secondary evidence, including digital sources.  Students also develop their competence in applying sound enquiry and investigative approaches to questions and hypotheses and learn to ‘study like a geographer’.


Students more independently apply geographical knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches appropriately and creatively to real world contexts, including fieldwork, and to contemporary situations and issues; and develop well-evidenced arguments drawing on their geographical knowledge and understanding.


In fieldwork, there is an increased involvement of students in planning and undertaking independent enquiry in which skills and knowledge are applied to investigate geographical questions.  Students become competent in a range of intellectual and communication skills, including the formulation of arguments, that include elements of synthesis and evaluation of material.


A range of assessment opportunities are used to gauge learning, provide feedback, and help your child to make progress in Geography.  Lessons feature regular guided exam practice with model answers.  At the end of each topic, students complete a 50-minute end of topic test in the style of the GCSE exams.

Supporting your child

What you can do at home:

  • Encourage students to use revision websites like Seneca Learning and BBC Bitesize
  • Test your child once a fortnight on the keywords and key content covered in Geography lessons
  • Encourage your child to work through past papers and practise answering exam questions
  • Geography is topical, so encouraging your child to watch the news and read newspapers will help inform them of the issues facing the world. Good sources include the BBC Science & Environment pages, relevant documentaries on the BBC and Channel 4 in addition to quality newspaper articles.  Geography is full of opinions, so debating controversial topics is a way of training the Geographer within!
  • Buy your child an atlas, or a map of the world, or a globe… not only will it help with their studies, but also you can look at the location of places you have travelled to, find unknown places in the news, or ask them to locate places they have studied
  • Encourage your child to read fiction and non-fiction with a geographical theme
  • Use Google Earth and take a virtual journey to any location in the world! Explore 3D buildings, imagery and terrain. Find cities, places and local features.  Great to explore places you have been or places you dream of travelling to…
  • Using an Ordnance Survey map, ask your child to locate their home and the homes of others on the map. Ask them to provide 4- and 6-figure grid references.  You could also ask your child to plan a family walk or outing using the map


A pencil, ruler and writing pens are essential in every Geography lesson.  It may also be useful to have the following items: sharpener, eraser, colouring pencils (green, red, blue, brown as a minimum), compass, calculator, highlighter, glue stick, scissors.

Extended learning

Homework policy:

Homework is set every week with a range of activities and challenges including reading, research, note-taking and practice examination questions.  In Year 11, homework is mainly the use of an interactive revision website (Seneca Learning) along with practice examination questions.

Clubs/ Enrichment opportunities:

‘Explore More!’ is the Geography department’s programme of extra-curricular opportunities: competitions, trips, and talks to connect pupils to real-life Geographers!  These opportunities will be advertised during tutor time, assemblies, and by your child’s Geography teacher in lessons.

Extended study suggestions and reading lists:

Pupils are encouraged to read the WideWorld magazine (available in the library) which contains topical new case studies and exam advice from experts.

Any opportunity to read around the subject by looking at recent geographical events in the news and online is welcome.  This should help develop students’ global understanding and knowledge.  Good sources include the BBC Environment and Science pages, relevant documentaries on the BBC and Channel 4 in addition to quality news articles.  Further reading opportunities are also included in lessons.

Possible trips and visits:

Fieldwork is an essential aspect of Geography.  It ensures that pupils are given the opportunity to consolidate and extend their geographical understanding by relating learning to real experiences of the world.  Pupils visit East London in Year 10 to investigate inequalities around the Olympic area.  In Year 11, pupils visit Epping Forest to undertake rivers fieldwork and recap the Living World topic.  Both of these trips form an important part of the course and students will be examined on their fieldwork experiences at the end of the course.

An international trip to the Azores, Iceland, or Italy is also being considered.