Introduction to Geography Department

Geography is a subject which stimulates a sense of wonder about our world.  It helps young people to make sense of the continually changing environment in which they live. At St Michael’s, pupils explore the three major components of geography: physical, human, and environmental. The key knowledge we want our young people to leave with is:

  • a comprehensive understanding of the world around them.
  • they will have developed an appreciation for other areas of the world and issues they face.
  • they will have a curiosity of the world around them and an enquiring mind.
  • they will be equipped to discuss the issues facing the UK and the world as a whole.
  • they will be a better steward for the planet and will be confident to explain why stewardship and sustainability are so important.


Throughout their studies, they will have acquired key disciplinary knowledge e.g. skills in mapwork, literacy, numeracy, data collection and presentation which will assist them in future studies and future career. Whilst studying geography, pupils will experience a range of different approaches to learning that aim to develop study skills, which will be useful to them when they leave school. They will have opportunities to engage in fieldwork and develop a sense of awe and wonder about the world we live in, allowing them to grow in body, mind and spirit. Furthermore, the current Year 8 and 9 pupils have been offered the opportunity to visit Iceland in February 2025. This will be our second trip to Iceland.

The learning environment in the two dedicated rooms is bright, spacious and well equipped. Lessons are engaging and regularly include opportunities for collaborative learning, where pupils work together to complete projects and presentations, as well as peer assessment. Developing these skills improves their confidence and will benefit them in further education and in the workplace. Learning in geography is enhanced through the use of new technologies such as iPads and ICT resources. We want our pupils to enjoy becoming better learners, effective team workers and better communicators.

In Year 7, pupils build on their life knowledge to explore their place in the world in relation to other places. They explore the weather & climate of the UK and beyond, and how it affects people's lives in richer and poorer areas. They explore the impacts humans have on the environment and the planet as a whole, and our responsibility of being a good steward of God's planet. Finally, they investigate the physical formation of UK landscapes and visit the limestone landscape of Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales.

In Year 8, pupils build on their UK landscapes' knowledge from Year 7 to explore how rivers and coasts have affected and shaped the landscape. In addition, they explore the causes, effects and responses to flooding. They compare and contrast the differences between richer and poorer areas by studying world population and issues surrounding rapid population growth. They then explore our developing world, studying contrasts between richer and poor nations and demographic change. They also study the significance of trade and industry on the development of countries. They investigate how humans interact with the environment in the specific issue of deforestation and sustainability. At the end of Year 8, they begin a unit on tourism which is continued in Year 9, where they explore the benefits and problems of tourism in the UK and beyond.

At the start of Year 9, pupils visit the honeypot site of Grasmere in the Lake District. On the visit they collect primary data to be analysed in school. Pupils use both primary and secondary data to explore the impacts of tourism on Grasmere and develop important data presentation skills. They then explore our ‘Restless Earth’, where we look at plate tectonics, volcanoes and earthquakes. They will explore the world’s ‘Global Powers’ (BRICS) and contrast their physical and human characteristics. Before moving into Year 10, they will explore resource management, and how countries manage their resources in a sustainable way.

The current Year 10 followed a slightly different structure in Year 9 to the one described above. The resource management unit started at the end of Year 9 is completed.  Pupils then enhance their prior Year 8 knowledge of river processes, coastal processes and weathering in the UK. They then go on to study weather hazards and issues surrounding climate change. This also draws on knowledge from the weather unit they studied in Year 7.  Towards the end of Year 10, pupils will study urbanisation in the UK and in Mexico. This draws on knowledge from Year 8 units on population and development.

The current Year 11 followed a different structure in Year 10 to the one described above. The current Year 11 visit the River Wyre in October to conduct their river fieldwork study. Primary and secondary data is analysed in school. Pupils also develop their data presentation skills. Following the fieldwork analysis, they continue to study ecosystems. They examine characteristics of tropical rainforests and UK deciduous woodlands and investigate why these ecosystems are under threat. They examine how our use of resources is putting our planet at risk and explore sustainability in energy production. Finally, they will bring together their knowledge from the entire geography curriculum to study challenges facing the UK and how we can overcome them. Pupils will complete three GCSE exam papers at the end of Year 11 (Edexcel Geography A).

Please feel free to look at our long-term plans for further information.

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Geography Learning Schemes

Geography Long Term Plan 2023-24

Geography Long Term Plan 2024-25