The geography department develops students understanding of planet Earth and the people, places and landscapes within it. We deliver and exciting, engaging and dynamic curriculum that promotes students love and fascination with the world and the processes occurring within it from a physical, human and environmental perspective. Students follow a curriculum in key stage 3 that prepares them for the demands of key stage 4 and 5 geography should they opt to study it. This includes the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective and analytical geographer. Students complete fieldwork in all years and build upon what has been studied in the classroom. 

Year 7

When studying Geography at St John Bosco in year 7 students are introduced to the core geographical skills that they will need. Students are firstly introduced to geography as a subject and the different strands within it and then follow a scheme of work which covers a wide range of graphical, cartographical, numerical and statistical technique. Students also develop their skills in relation to maps which includes grid references, scale, height and distance. Later in the year students are taught about a wide range of places which are facing different challenges or significant change. Finally students study coasts which focuses on the processes occurring in the coastal zone, the landforms which are found there as a result of erosion, transportation and deposition and also management in the coastal area.

Year 8

During year 8 students initially study Africa and the developing v developed world. In the unit of work students study Africa as a continent and the vast amount of variation within it in relation to biomes, climate, landscapes, development and conflict and its place in relation to other places in the world. Secondly students study a physical geography topic in weather and climate but with a focus on how this relates to our human world. Students investigate different types of weather, what causes these and the effects and responses to this. The issue of climate change is tackled and it’s impact of different parts of the world. We finish the year by focusing of rivers and the processes, landforms and change/management occurring in this environment.

Year 9

In year 9 students begin by studying hazards which includes material on the structure of the Earth, plate boundaries, earthquakes and volcanoes, hazard management and hazard risk. This is studied through a case study approach. Students also study population and how are world is becoming more populated and the challenges because of this. We incorporate the China One Child policy, other population policies and the impact these have had on the countries in our planet. We conclude key stage 3 by studying ecosystems which includes lessons on tropical rainforests, deserts and the challenges these fragile environments face. 

GCSE Geography (AQA)

Students follow the AQA specification for Geography at Key Stage 4. When studying geography in year 10 and 11 students will cover the following topics:

Paper 1 – Living with the Physical Environment

The Challenge of Natural Hazards:

This part of the specification focuses on what are natural hazards, the physical processes occurring at plate boundaries, effects and responses to earthquakes and living with the risk and attempting to reduce it. This section also includes content on weather hazards and more specifically tropical storms and flooding. We finally move onto climate change, the evidence for it, what causes and what we can do to manage it.

The Living World:

In this part of the specification we study ecosystems with a focus on global ecosystems before we go into greater detail in relation to tropical rainforests. When studying tropical rainforests we look into the characteristics of them, deforestation and sustainable management of the rainforest. Our optional section of this unit is hot deserts. This covers the characteristics of deserts, the opportunities and challenges of them and the issue of desertification.

Physical Landscapes in the UK:

In the final part of paper 1 we study the UK’s relief and landscapes. We do this through coasts and rivers landscapes. In each of these units we focus on the processes occurring in each of the environments, the landforms resulting from erosion, transportation and deposition and then the management of these environments.

Paper 2 – Challenges in the Human Environment

Urban Issues and Challenges:

In the first part of paper 2 we study the urban world, the emergence of megacities and the social and economic challenges facing developing cities in the world. We then move onto urban change within the UK and how these environments create both opportunities and challenges and issues such as social inequality, housing, waste, regeneration and sustainability.

The Changing Economic World:

In this area we focus on the development gap, population and uneven development on our planet. This links to wealth and health, migration aid, debt relief and tourism. We then move onto newly emerging economies, transnational corporations and environmental issues. This section finishes with a look into the UK economy, science and technology, transport and the UK in the wider world.

The Challenge of Resource Management:

The final part of paper 2 is the issues of resource management including food, water and energy. We choose to opt for a greater study of food which focuses on its supply, food insecurity and sustainable food production.

Paper 3 – Geographical Applications and skills

The third paper in GCSE Geography includes questions on an issue evaluation and fieldwork as well as skills based questions. In this section students receive a pre-release booklet 12 weeks before the exam which they study and investigate before being examined on it during the Summer exam series. Students are taught to identify, understand and appreciate the interrelationship between the different aspects of geography. This is tested through a critical thinking and problem solving based task on a current issue. Furthermore students are tested on two fieldwork trips completed during their course with one being a physical and one being a human study. Geographical skills e.g. cartographic, numerical, statistical and data skills are tested on this paper as well as papers 1 and 2. 

A Level Geography (AQA)

Students follow the AQA specification for Geography at Key Stage 5. When studying geography in year 12 and 13 students will cover the following topics:

Paper 1: Physical Geography

Water and Carbon Cycles:

This part of the course focuses on systems in physical geography and then the water and carbon cycles. This includes drainage basins, water balance and hydrographs and factors affecting change in our water based systems. When studying the carbon cycle we investigate the global carbon cycle, how it changes as well as the carbon budget. We then move onto climate change and the tropical rainforests before looking at river catchments,


During this module we study hazards with a focus on the structure of the Earth and plate tectonics theory. This develops into content on plate margins and magma plumes as well as earthquakes and volcanoes. When studying these topics we do so from a case study based approach before looking at multihazardous environments. Finally we look into the concept of wildfires and how they occur in nature. All of this focuses on the concepts of cause, effect and response.

Coastal systems and Landscapes:

When studying coasts we investigate their role as natural systems and the sources of energy that drive them. We look at the different processes operating at the coast e.g. erosional, transport and depositional and the landforms these create. Sea level change is a key focus as well as coastal management in various areas.

Paper 2: Human Geography

Global Systems and Governance:

When studying this contemporary topic we teach the concept of globalisation, systems operating at a global scale and international trade links and access to markets. The concepts of global governance and the global commons area tackled as well as issues surrounding Antarctica.

Changing Places:

This unit covers the nature and importance of places at a range of scales, relationships and connections between places and what places mean and represent. We then focus on different specific place studies. 

Population and the environment:

In this topic students cover the relationship between the human and physical worlds via the people who live on Planet Earth and the environments they inhabit. This links to health and wellbeing and population change and the impacts this has. The future of our planet is studied in this unit.


NEA –Students complete a project in which they collect data during fieldwork and formulate an aim, hypotheses and data collection methods. Students then compile their results, make conclusions and reflect on what would have made their study more effective. This is done by focusing on how data collection methods could be improved to get more accurate results and make more informed conclusions.

Departmental Courses



Department Staff

Mr J Brennan - Subject Leader
Miss A Armstrong
Mrs D Welsh

Useful Links

 AQA Exam Board GCSE

AQA Exam Board AS/A-Level