Sir James Smith's School


Geography is the study of where places are, what they are like, what life is like in them and how and why they are changing. It can help you to: 
  • Gain a knowledge of the world and understand current events.
  • Appreciate different cultures in this country and abroad.
  • Become aware of physical and human environments.
  • Learn how to become a more sustainable individual.
  • Read and use maps, satellite images and atlases and improve your ICT skills.

You will enjoy the course if you want to study a subject that is relevant to your future, involves practical work outdoors and is studied through investigation not just reading and listening.  Geography is a very broad subject and important for many jobs; knowledge and skills learnt in Geography can help you to understand topics in other subjects. It helps us to learn about our planet – how we use it and how we abuse it.

“Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future.” (Michael Palin) 

Key Stage 3

Students in Year 7, 8 and 9 study a wide variety of units throughout their Geography lessons. In each year students will receive 2 hours of Geography per week.

In Year 7, students focus on developing skills covered in primary school. The students practice navigation and map skills in units such as “Ray Mears” and “Festivals”. They begin to investigate global issues in units such as “Extreme Weather” and “Criminal Geography”. Toward the end of the year students turn their focus onto issues within developing countries – “Kenya” and “China”.

In Year 8, students begin to focus on the contemporary issues of “Rio World Cup” and the “Development” of different countries around the world, including issues of “Globalisation and Fair-trade”. Toward the later part of Year 8 students tend to focus on the physical elements of our world by investigating “River & Coastal Landscapes”, “Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tsunami’s” and “Antarctica”.

As students enter the last year of Key Stage 3, they practice skills that will be of use in their GCSE’s. Students undertake a personal investigation into the social, economic and environmental issues of “India”. The International Partnership with a link school in India is strongly reflected in this unit. The investigation includes many skills required in the Year 10 Controlled Assessment. Further topics include “Tropical Ecosystems”, “Tourism” and “Population”.

Each topic has been carefully selected to give our students the best experience before they are able to opt for the subject in Year 10 and 11 if they wish.

Throughout Key Stage 3 we are able to make excellent use of our local environment through field-visits. In the past 2 years our Key Stage 3 students have visited Lanhydrock Woods, Widemouth Bay, Boscastle, Delabole Slate Quarry, The Eden Project and Perranporth. 

Year 10 & 11 Trip to Newquay

(8 images)

Created: 7 Jan 14 15:07 | Last modified: 7 Jan 14 15:09


Students in Year 7 and Year 8 will be assessed using STEPS.  To find out more about how this works, please click on the link below.  When the Powerpoint opens, if you would like to view as a Slideshow, select Slideshow from the top bar and then the From the beginning icon on the left hand side of the screen:

STEPS for Geography

Key Stage 4

At Sir James Smith’s students who opt to study Geography at GCSE follow the AQA A syllabus. This is completed over two years and includes three assessments; 2 examinations and 1 piece of Controlled Assessment. Students will attend, on average, 2½ hours of lessons per week over the two years.

In Year 10 students work through the physical geography unit, worth 37½% and sit a mock examination in the summer term of Year 10.

The Controlled Assessment is carried out on the topic of Water on the Land and includes a trip to the River Fowey to collect primary data. The exact title varies from year to year. The Controlled Assessment is worth 25% of the final GCSE.

In Year 11 students work through the human geography unit, worth 37½% and sit their second mock examination in the summer term of Year 11.

Two final exam exams are held in the summer term of Year 11, each worth 37½%.


Year 10:

  • The Restless Earth - Plate tectonics, volcanoes, super-volcanoes, earthquakes, and Tsunami’s.
  • Water on the Land - River floods, features and processes of a river, managing water demand.
  • The Coastal Zone - Rising sea levels, features and processes of the sea, coastal flooding, coastal habitats,
  • Mapwork Skills - Reading and interpreting maps, photos, graphs, sketches, etc.


Year 11:

  • Population Change - World Population Growth, International Migration and refugees.
  • Changing Urban Environments – Urbanisation, Structure of cities, Issues in UK cities, Squatter settlements, Problems in developing cities, sustainable cities.
  • Tourism - Growth of global tourism. Impacts of tourism in the UK and elsewhere ecotourism.

Facts and Figures:

  • Geographers use ICT for data collection through the Internet, data analysis through spreadsheets and presentation of data through graphics – all vital skills in commercial business.
  • Fieldwork is essential to Geography. It provides students with most of their ‘out of classroom’ learning experience and is an ideal setting to develop teamwork and leadership skills.
  • Over 300,000 students took GCSE Geography in 2010—2011, the most popular optional GCSE subject.
  • Geography has one of the highest rates of graduate employment: highly valued by employers for its combination of knowledge, understanding and training in the key skills.
  • Of those people who study Geography to A level and University, 25% go into administration and management careers, 17% financial work, 12% marketing, 7% manufacturing, 5% Armed Forces, police and fire, 4% environmental work, 4% social services and 2% tourism and leisure. 


Please click on the following links to see the Programme of Study for the different Key Stages:


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