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Curriculum Leader:

Mrs K Maiden

Department Introduction:

Rarely has it been more important to develop an awareness and understanding of the Earth's changing and varied environments. Never has it been more crucial for students to show sympathy towards ideas of protection and conservation.


In Geography, students will discover what makes our dynamic planet tick. Care for the environment underscores much of the course from Year 7 through to Year 13, where the management of global problems is an integral part of the syllabus. If pupils pass through GCSE and reach the A Level course, they will no longer be neutral on environmental matters... and the travelling will have been fun!

Department Aims:

We aim to provide the opportunity for students to understand more about the world, the challenges it faces and their place within it. We aim for our students to gain an understanding of geographical processes, the impact of change and of complex people-environment interactions, the dynamic links and interrelationships between places and environments at different scales, and develop a wide range of geographical investigative skills and approaches. Geography at WGHS enables students to become globally and environmentally informed and thoughtful, enquiring global citizens.

Key Stage 3:

During Key Stage 3 pupils investigate a wide range of people, places and environments at different scales around the world. They learn about geographical patterns and processes and how political, economic, social and environmental factors affect contemporary geographical issues. They also learn how places and environments are interdependent. They carry out geographical enquiry inside and outside the classroom. In doing this, they identify geographical questions, collect and analyse written and statistical evidence supporting them as they develop their own opinions. They use a wide range of geographical skills, and resources such as maps, satellite images and GIS.

Year 7 Units of Work include:


  • Introduction to Geography
  • Glaciation
  • Globalisation
  • Weather and Climate


During Year 7 we undertake fieldwork within the school grounds introducing enquiry to test hypotheses by collecting, presenting, analysing and evaluating primary data.


Year 8 Units of Work include:


  • Hazards
  • Population and development
  • Rivers


During Year 8 we undertake fieldwork at Carding Mill Valley to develop enquiry skills.


Year 9 Units of Work include:


  • The Living World
  • The Challenge of Resource Management


In Year 9 students begin to study topics for the AQA GCSE to allow for informed choices in Year 9. During the year students visit Birmingham Botanical Gardens as part of The Living World topic.

Key Stage 4:

Year 10 and 11 follow the new AQA specification at GCSE. The units of study are:

  • Physical Landscapes in the UK (rivers and coasts options)
  • The Living World
  • The Challenge of Natural Hazards
  • Urban Issues and Challenges
  • The Changing Economic World
  • The Challenge of Resource Management

The structure of assessment is as follows:

  • Paper 1: Physical Environment – 35%
  • Paper 2: Human Environment – 35%
  • Paper 3: Geographical Applications – 30%

In Year 10, fieldtrip's are organised to study regeneration of UK cities and physical processes.

Key Stage 5:

Year 12 and 13 follow the new OCR A Level.


The units of study are:


Physical Systems:


  • Landscape Systems: Coasts
  • Earth’s Life Support Systems


Human Interactions:


  • Changing Spaces; Making Places
  • Global Connections: Human Rights and Migration


Geographical Debate:


  • Hazardous Earth
  • Disease Dilemmas


Assessment is as follows at A Level:


  • Physical Systems – 22%
  • Human Interactions – 22%
  • Geographical Debates – 36%
  • Independent Investigation – 20%


A residential fieldtrip is organised in the Spring Term of Year 12. This is usually to Borth in Ceredigion to investigate coastal processes and management and sense of place.


  • During Sixth Form studies, rebranding fieldwork is undertaken in Birmingham City Centre and local areas are visited as part of the Changing Spaces; Making Places topic.


The department runs biennial enrichment trips to overseas destinations which have included Iceland and Italy.

Extra-Curricular Activities:

Masterclasses are run weekly for GCSE students and fortnightly for Year 13 students in preparation for their external examinations.


Year 8 students are given the opportunity to take part in the Geographical Association Worldwise quiz, and the Geographical Association Black County branch host part of their lecture series in school for GCSE and A Level students.

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