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Welcome to the Geography Department at York High School!

Geography Subject staff

Mr M Pattinson (subject leader):

Mrs E Callan

Mrs C Stephens-Davies


KS3 Overview

In Geography you will study a wide range of Physical and Human topics that will enhance your understanding of the world that you live in. You will learn how geographical processes create distinctive human and physical landscapes and develop the skills needed to question, assess and analyse the impacts that humans have on these landscapes and impacts that these landscapes have on humans.

Key Skills

In Geography you will develop a wide range of skills that will enable you to think like a geographer. You will learn to describe and explain the formation of natural features found in rivers and along our coastline, as well as tectonic processes such as the causes of earthquakes. You will analyse the impacts of natural hazards on people in a range of global locations and evaluate the responses to specific events that have caused devastation to communities around the world. You will be encouraged to develop your skills in assessing the causes and effects of man-made environmental disasters and what the possible solutions to them could be.

KS3 Topics

At Key Stage 3 students are taught one major unit a term, each unit is broken down into key questions that will be assessed throughout the year.

Year 7

What is Geography and how do we read maps?

What is a continent?

What is Europe?

What is the UK?

How do we read maps?


What is the difference between weather and climate?

How do we measure weather?

What is a microclimate?

What weather is extreme weather?


What is a census?

How does population grow?

What are sparse and dense population?

Why do people migrate?

Year 8


What is an ecosystem?

Where are the world’s major ecosystems and why?

What are tropical rainforests like?

What are the threats to tropical rainforests?

What are deserts like?

What is desertification?

Development and globalisation

What is development and why do we measure it?

How does war affect development?

What is Fairtrade?

What is globalisation?

Is globalisation good?

Urban areas

What are rural and urban areas?

Why do settlements have different shapes?

What are the challenges faced by people in urban areas?

How do we map crime?

Year 9

Earthquakes and Volcanoes

What is a natural hazard?

What is plate tectonic theory?

What is an earthquake?

How can the impact of earthquakes be reduced?

Why do volcanoes erupt?

Can volcanic eruptions be predicted?


What are the different types of industry?

What are TNCs?

Is Apple good?

What is tourism?

Rivers and Coasts

What are the features and processes in rivers?

Why do rivers flood?

What are the features and processes along the coast?

How is erosion causing problems along the coast?

KS4 Overview

At KS4 the students follow the AQA GCSE Geography Syllabus which builds on the skills that have been developed at KS3. The course is divided into two main themes, Living with the physical world and Challenges of the human environment, each of which is divided into three sections and examined with two 1½hr papers. Fieldwork is carried out in York and assessed in a third exam of 1¼ hrs titled Geographical Applications

The breakdown of the course is:

Paper 1 Living with the physical environment

3 sections

Exam 1.5hrs

35% of total GCSE

Natural Hazards which includes the study of tectonic theory, case study of two earthquakes, formation and case study of tropical storms and causes, effects and mitigation of climate change.

Ecosystems which includes identifying characteristics of major world biomes and detailed study of tropical rainforests and hot deserts.

UK landscapes which includes an overview of UK highlands and rivers, coastal processes, landforms and the impact of coastal erosion and river processes and landforms and the management of flooding.

Paper 2 Challenges of the human environment

3 sections

Exam 1.5hrs

35% of total GCSE

Urban issues and challenges which includes the causes and effects of global urbanisation, in depth study of a Rio de Janiero and Leeds as well as the study of the characteristics of sustainable cities.

Changing economic world which includes how to measure development, describing and explaining the global development gap and strategies to reduce it, impacts of tourism on low income countries, case study of a TNC in an LIC or NEE and the changing UK economy.

Challenge of resource management which includes issues around the supply and demand of managing water, food and energy both globally and nationally.

Paper 3 Geographical applications

2 sections

Exam 1.25hrs

30% of total GCSE

Section 1

Issue evaluation this includes questions based around a pre released information booklet and a decision making question.

Section 2

Fieldwork this includes questions based on the student’s fieldwork and unseen field work.

Exam board links

KS4 study AQA GCSE Geography (8035)

Revision materials

Revision materials

All students are given a York High School revision booklet that covers all the topics and case studies that we study.

Exam papers and other revision materials such as mind maps can be found on the L drive here L:\FOUNDATION\GEOGRAPHY\Year 11 Revision materials

Students have the option to purchase a revision guide for £2.50

Useful websites for revision:

BBC bite size

The student room is a forum where students can ask questions and access revision materials

PiXL App has a range of revision materials that may support revision.

You tube is an excellent resource for Geographical videos that can support learning, here are some links to useful videos for each topic.

Paper 1

Section A

What is a natural hazard?

What is plate tectonic theory?

What are primary and secondary effects of earthquakes?

What is atmospheric circulation?

What is a tropical storm and how does it form?

How might climate change affect tropical storms?

Primary and secondary effects of tropical storms

Typhoon Haiyan

How can monitoring, prediction, protection and planning reduce the effects of tropical storms?

Is the UK climate more extreme?

The “Beast from the East” an example of extreme UK weather

What is climate change?

Section B

Relationships in a small UK ecosystem

Distribution of Biomes

What are tropical rainforests and how have plants and animals adapted to the rainforest?

What is nutrient cycling?

What are the causes and impact of deforestation?

How can tropical rainforests be sustainably managed?

What are hot deserts like? 

Opportunities and challenges in the Sahara

Causes and solutions to desertification

Section C

Overview of major upland and lowland areas of the UK

Coastal processes

Formation of erosional coastal landforms

Formation of depositional coastal landforms

Hard and soft engineering strategies at the coast

Erosion along the Holderness coast

Long and cross profile of rivers

River processes

Landforms in the upper course of a river

Landforms in the lower and middle course of the river

The river Tees from source to mouth

Human and physical causes of flooding

Hard and soft engineering strategies in rivers

Paper 2

Section A

What is urbanisation?

What is rural to urban migration?

What is a mega city?

What is Rio like?

What are the challenges in Rio?

What are the opportunities in Rio?

General Rio revision

What is a sustainable city?

Section B

Different ways of classifying development

How can development be measured?

What is the demographic transition model?

What causes uneven development?

How is wealth different around the world?

How can the development gap be reduced?

What is India like?

Economic futures of the UK

How is the UK economy changing?

How is modern industry more sustainable than heavy industry?

Is there a north south divide in the UK?

What is HS2?

Why build a new runway at Heathrow?

What is London Port?

The UK in the wider world

Section C

Is there global inequality in the supply and consumption of resources?

How do we provide food in the UK?

What are the issues around water supply in the UK?

What are the issues around energy supply in the UK?