Subject Intent

Geography literally means writing about the earth, and the power of geography as a subject is in its ability to make sense of the world around us, and inspire a deeper understanding of the way the earth is shaped by both physical processes and the actions of humans on the physical landscape, as well as the impacts on humans by these processes.
At Derby Cathedral School we follow the national curriculum in geography.  In key stage 3 we support students in developing the knowledge and tools to become informed global citizens who are able to make sense of important contemporary issues such as climate change and the use of natural resources and how these affect us as a society.  Through studying cultures across the world students are able to develop understanding, and in turn empathy and compassion, encapsulating our values of humility and fellowship.  We also study the physical processes that have shaped the earth in the past, and continue to do so, helping students to make sense of the landscape around them, how it was formed, and is constantly changing.

Central to geography at DCS are the concepts of place and space in each topic, as well as looking at the social, economic and environmental considerations of decision making.  The strands that run through the topics we cover are those of globalisation, interdependence, development, inequality, risk, resilience, sustainability and systems.  This powerful knowledge will support students on their journey to key stage 4 and beyond.  

By focussing on enquiry we are able to use a wide range of geographical source material, including high quality news and magazine articles as well as books, to support students in having the tenacity to critically engage with, and debate the information that they are exposed to.  We also focus on geographical language in extended writing, helping students develop their literacy and oracy as they move from key stage 3 through the school.

We also study geography at a more local scale.  As Derby is the gateway to the Peak District National Park, we cover tourism, considering the costs and benefits in protected environments, and how we can act with integrity to maintain these areas.  We also study urban issues and challenges such as crime, and how it can be planned out of an area, and studying rivers and flooding we can see the positive impact of flood defences in and around Derby.
We believe that geography doesn’t just take place in the classroom, and we promote a wider social and environmental mindset, including the importance of fair trade, recycling and tackling pollution.  Our committed geography team have strong links with both the Geographical Association and the Royal Geographical Society, and students are encouraged to challenge themselves and enter the Young Geographer Of The Year competition run annually.

Students are provided with many opportunities for fieldwork throughout their school journey with us.  It is an integral part of the GCSE specification, and by providing opportunities throughout key stage 3, we are able to support students to deepen their understanding through analysis and reasoned evaluation, creating real life examples of data presentation that they have encountered in maths, and supporting numeracy skills within geography lessons.  

One of geography’s many strengths as a subject is to show students the awe in the world and how they can make a difference and aspire to make the changes needed to reduce our impact on the planet.

Geography Long Term Plan

Updated: 02/11/2022 396 KB
Updated: 02/11/2022 36 KB


Mrs B Woodward Head of Geography
Mr C Capon Teacher of Geography
Mr D Brierley Teacher of Geography/PSHE and Head of Year 7



Geography homework supports essential knowledge and skills learnt in lessons. Students will use a combination of knowledge organisers to support learning of key knowledge within the topic, creative tasks to support flexible use of the knowledge and development of key skills such as map reading, fieldwork enquiry techniques and, as they move through the school, the use of past exam paper questions.

Websites such as Seneca are also used as a way of students to self-test their knowledge.


Geography uses a range of formative assessments to ensure that students build on their prior knowledge and address the forgetting curve. These include regular low stakes quizzes in lessons and the use of extended pieces of classwork and homework to provide a ‘beautiful piece of work’ to showcase their learning of atopic.  

More formal summative assessments take place each term, and these cover both the current topic, previous topics and a range of geographical skills.

Study skills & Revision

Students are supported in learning skills such as the use of revision clocks and flash cards.

Knowledge organisers for each topic reinforce learning of key knowledge and should be regularly revisited.

At KS4 and 5, revision guides will be available to purchase. In addition to these, case study guides will be provided to students giving the key information they are required to learn.

KS5 students will also be expected to read around their subject. Articles will be made available from high quality newspapers and magazines such as The Independent and The Economist. Students will also be provided with links to podcasts and the Royal Geographical Society Monday night lecture programme, which is available online.

All students should regularly return to previous knowledge organisers to reinforce learning. Students should be encouraged to concentrate on the knowledge that they don’t know, and, when self-quizzing, to say the answer out loud to ensure that they remember, rather than recognise, the correct answer.


Standard classroom equipment

Scientific calculator