A study of Geography intends to encourage curiosity about our world. The varied topics studied at The Downs School present exciting views of environments in different countries. The way in which mankind has learnt to adapt, exploit and enjoy these environments are portrayed through a variety of interactive teaching methods. Problems arising from these issues and the challenges of sustainable living are the subjects of wide ranging discussions.

Fieldwork plays a vital role in the Geography course of each Key stage. We undertake trips to local settlements, Kew Gardens and residential fieldwork in North Devon and Iceland. We also conduct local river surveys and try to use the school grounds for fieldwork wherever possible.

Key Stage 3

Year 7

  • Fantastic Places
  • Personal Geography
  • Climate Change
  • Ecosystems
  • Geography of Crime

Year 8

  • Adventure Landscapes
  • My Stuff
  • People Change
  • Rivers and Flooding
  • Plate Tectonics

Year 9

  • Impossible Places
  • Globalisation
  • Place Change
  • Coasts
  • Extreme Sports


At KS4 students follow the AQA A 4032 specification. The exam board specification can be found at:

Assessment is based on 75% examination (2 papers) and 25% controlled assessment. Topics covered include:

  • Tectonic Activity
  • Rocks and Landscapes
  • Rivers
  • Population
  • Globalisation
  • Tourism

One of our year 13 students on the 'A' level Applied IT course has created some pages to provide you with some additional information on the GCSE Geography course.


All GCSE Geography students will have the opportunity to participate in fieldtrips.

Advanced Subsidiary/Advanced Level

The ‘A’ level Geography course aims to increase students’ understanding of physical and human Geography relation to their environment. The course aims to develop written, oral and fieldwork skills, with students learning how to understand and formulate opinions on the implications of development and change in the human and natural world. Geography also teaches a wide range of skills not learnt together in one subject anywhere else. This continues to prove desirable to universities and employers alike.

Entry Requirements

The ‘A’ level requires a GCSE grade ‘B’ or above in Geography. Candidates must be willing to meet deadlines, involve themselves in fieldwork and have a genuine interest in the natural world and current affairs worldwide.

Course content

Students follow the AQA A specification at ‘A’ level. The topics covered show the interaction between humans and their physical environment.

During Year 12 students will study:

Rivers, floods and management
Coastal environments
Population change
Health issues.

In Year 13 many of these ideas are developed further as the course content includes:

  • Plate tectonics and associated hazards
  • Weather and climate and associated hazards
  • World cities.

All students at ‘A’ level will have the opportunity to participate in two residential fieldtrips.
Assessment - There are 4 examined modules over the 2 years.
AS - Unit 1: Physical and Human Geography, Unit 2: Geographical Skills
A2 - Unit 3: Contemporary Geographical Issues, Unit 4: Geographical Issue Evaluation.

Careers and Higher Education Opportunities

Geography is one of the most flexible subjects as it is regarded as both an art and a science subject by many universities. It will combine with most other subjects and the skills of investigation, presentation and written work support other disciplines. Careers pathways with a ‘science’ bias include working for the environment agency, surveying, geology and civil engineering. Geography combined with art subjects can lead to careers in tourism, urban planning and development. Geography graduates also work as architects, cartographers, accountants, estate managers, community workers, teachers and in fields such as medicine.

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