At West Hill we support a rounded curriculum both inside and outside the classroom that exploits the awe and wonder that children are naturally born with about the world they live in.  Our curriculum brings alive places most people may never visit, allows pupils to answer questions about our world they have always wondered about and cements understanding of the value of our ecosystems and species.  Pupils will leave West Hill with an understanding that their lives are connected to others and are both shaped by, and impact on the environments they inhabit.  West Hill geographers will be able to evaluate the most responsible choices for themselves and future generations.


Within the department we place great emphasis and importance on learning outside the classroom offering a varied curriculum. Below is a small snippet of the opportunities that were offered last year:

  • CRANEDALE May 2018 – 26  Year 7,  8 and 9  students attended a weekend residential trip to the Cranedale Centre in Yorkshire. We visited Flamborough Head for beach investigations and rock pooling, and the North York Moors for river fieldwork and the all-important duck racing.
  • ICELAND - In November 2018 44 boys and staff are travelling to Iceland for West Hill Schools first ever field trip to Iceland.  See the link in ‘related events’ to see our exciting itinerary.
  • GCSE FIELDTRIP - March 2018 -  As part of their preparation for their GCSE Geographical Skills Paper Year 10 boys embarked on a 2 day fieldtrip to Kingswood Colomendy, Wales and Liverpool. They collected primary data comparing sections of the River Alyn and completed a pedestrian count in order to prove/disprove their hypotheses.


Departmental staff

The Geography Department is staffed by 3 members of staff.

  • Miss J. Staples - Head of Humanities
  • Mr A. Hill - Teacher of Geography
  • Miss D. Largey - Teacher of Geography


Year 7

The topics followed are:

  • My favourite place – An introduction to the 3 types of Geography
  • Map Skills – The creation and reading of maps
  • Coastal Zone – Looking at how the sea impacts our lives
  • One Planet - Looking towards a sustainable future
  • Weather and Climate – Investigating weather and its hazards

Year 8

The topics followed are:

  • Watery World – How river’s shape the landscape and the hazards they present
  • Shake Rattle and Roll – Hazards of plate tectonics
  • Settlement – The development of urban areas and the challenge of urbanisation

Year 9

The topics followed are:

  • Watery world - How river’s shape the landscape and the hazards they present (2019-20 only)
  • Development Gap – Unequal global development
  • Globalisation – The shrinking of our world through communication and technology
  • A planet in crisis – Threats to the sustainability of our planet

Year 10

The topics followed are:

  • Coastal Landscapes in the UK
  • Climate Change
  • Urban issues and Challenges in the UK/LICs & NEEs
  • River in the UK
  • Fieldwork and Write-Up
  • Resource Management

Year 11

The topics followed are:

  • Natural Hazards and Tectonics
  • Urban Issues and Challenge in LICS/NEES
  • Weather Hazards
  • Changing Economic World
  • Eco-systems (Tropical Rainforests/Hot Deserts)
  • Pre-release materials for Paper 3

There are three specialist Geographers in the department. The subject is studied at KS3 and GCSE and is optional from Year 10 onwards.  Geography is taught for 2 hours a week to all pupils in KS3 and 3 hours a week at GCSE.  Pupils are taught in three dedicated classrooms in the Hewitt Building.


The Geography GCSE qualification (AQA GCSE Geography 8035) studies geography in a balanced framework of physical and human themes, investigating the links between them. Students will travel the world from their classroom, exploring case studies in the United Kingdom (UK), higher income countries (HICs), newly emerging economies (NEEs) and lower income countries (LICs). Geography is an extremely wide discipline which ranges from climate change and disappearing rainforests one week to poverty and deprivation in the next, global shifts in economic power and the increasingly important challenge of sustainable resource use. Students who take GCSE Geography will gain a wide range of knowledge that is topical and relevant to the world around them.   This specification also encourages students to understand their role in society, by considering different viewpoints, values and attitudes. 
Studying Geography will enable students to acquire the skills of: understanding, reading and interpreting maps; interpreting photographs, including satellite images; drawing maps, diagrams, graphs and tables; collecting, analysing, presenting and interpreting raw data.

How will I be assessed?

Linear exams will consist of 3 differently weighted papers. Both Paper 1 and 2 are worth 35% of the overall grade, with Paper 3 worth the remaining 30%. 

Paper 1: Living with the physical environment
  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 88 marks (including 3 marks for spelling, punctuation, grammar and specialist terminology (SPGST))
  • 35% of GCSE
Paper 2: Challenges in the human environment
  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 88 marks (including 3 marks for SPGST)
  • 35% of GCSE
Paper 3: Geographical applications
  • Written exam: 1 hour
  • 76 marks (including 6 marks for SPGST)
  • 30% of GCSE
  • Pre-release resources made available from 15 March in the year of the exam

All pupils will sit the same exam. The qualification is graded on a nine-point scale: 1 to 9 (9 is the best grade).

What will I be studying at GCSE?

Subject content
Living with the physical environment (Paper 1)
  • The challenge of natural hazards
  • Physical landscapes in the UK
  • The living world
Challenges in the human environment (Paper 2)
  • Urban issues and challenges
  • The changing economic world
  • The challenge of resource management
Geographical applications (Paper 3)
  • Issue evaluation
  • Fieldwork


Geography Residential

Part of the qualification requires students to take up the opportunity to attend a 2 day residential fieldtrip to Liverpool and Wales in preparation for their Geographical Applications Paper. This residential will give students the experience Human and Physical Geography in the field. In Liverpool we will study the transformation of Liverpool’s city centre through urban regeneration. In Wales students will collect primary river data to explore the difference between courses of a river and how human intervention can impact natural processes.


Where can I find more details?

From the AQA website—www (GCSE Geography 8035)

 A Parent’s Guide to GCSE Geography.

Related News

21 March 2016

Kingswood News

Report on the Geography GCSE Field Trip to Kingswood Activity Centre By Dylan Boys-Massey

Related Events

21 – 24 November 2020

Geography Iceland Study Trip 2020