In the department our motto is' Geography is everywhere and everything!' and we work to ensure that our lessons are diverse and relevant. We are truly a subject for our times!


All our geography teachers are enthusiasts and have a great passion for our subject. We endeavour to transfer this approach to our classes. We hope that our students leave our lessons with a sense of wonder regarding our world's complexity and for the huge diversity of its inhabitants. We hope that through our lessons they will develop a need to acquire knowledge, to know more, a willingness to investigate and question what they discover and through this develop understanding and ultimately wisdom. Most importantly we hope that our students gain a desire to act as custodians of our planet who act to protect it and strive for a sustainable future for all its residents.


We hope that our mission statement is reflected in the structure of our courses. Students study a wide range of issues across a broad spectrum of countries. We keep these topics current by constantly reviewing our lessons, ensuring source material relevant and up to date and continually updating our own knowledge and using our own experiences to enhance our teaching. In our lessons there is a strong emphasis on enquiry based learning and thinking skills which are enriched by the multitude of resource available in the twenty-first century classroom. Finally we try to encourage our students to find solutions to problems and to see that although they can only make a small contribution it is through the apparently insignificant acts of many that great changes can be made. 


Units of work, Grouping of students, assessment and expected standards

Geography is taught as part of the Humanities course in year 7. In year 8, students have three hours of Geography a fortnight.  Geography is a popular option at examionation level and many students choose to carry on studying the subject as a full GCSE.

Program of the course in Year 8:Unit 1: What is Geography?

• Unit 2: Population

• Unit 3: Development

• Unit 4: Ecosystems (rainforests and deserts)

• Unit 5: Rivers and flooding

• Unit 6: Coast

Program of the course in year 9: Unit 1: Tectonic hazards (earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis)

• Unit 2: Marine pollution

• Unit 3: Industry and energy

• Unit 4: Settlements and urban changes

• Unit 5: Geography of crime

Homework is set weekly in year 8 and year 9. Homework tasks are varied. Some tasks are to be completed over several weeks, in which case the students will be notified of the date the work is to be handed in. 

The resources for the lessons can be found on OWL, the school's virtual learning platform. Homework is also set on OWL.


The Examination Years

Units of work, Grouping of students, assessment and expected standards

The Geography department follows the AQA A syllabus. This GCSE requires students to complete three units which consists of two written examinations and one controlled assessment task.


Unit 1: Physical Geography 
Written Paper - 1 hour 30 mins - 75 marks - 37.5%


Unit 2: Human Geography 
Written Paper - 1 hour 30 mins - 84 marks - 37.5%*


Unit 3: Local Fieldwork Investigation 
Controlled assessment - 60 marks - 25%


There are two tiers of assessment for the exams: Foundation (G-C) and Higher (D-A*). Each exam paper is made up of 75 marks for content plus 9 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG).


The Physical Geography units are:

• Restless Earth (earthquakes, volcanoes, supervolcanoes and tsunamis)

• Ice on the land (glaciation and landuse in modern glaciated valleys)

• Water on the land (rivers and flooding)


The Human Geography units are:

• Population changes (population growth and migration)

• Changing urban areas (MEDC and LEDC cities)

• Tourism (in the UK and abroad)


The local fieldwork investigation:

The topic for the investigation changes every year. Students investigate a given hypothesis, conduct fieldwork in the local area and write a report including their findings and conclusions.



Homework is set weekly in years 9, 10 and 11. Tasks are varied and include completing woirksheets, practising exam questions, watching video clips, listening to GCSEpod, making models, etc.



The resources for the lessons can be found on OWL, the school's virtual learning platform. Homework is also set on OWL.


Gifted & Talented Opportunities

Aims of the Geography Department:

The school aims to provide a stimulating education within a supportive and caring community. As a department, we are committed to providing an environment where all pupils, including the most able, can maximise their potential.

Criteria used for identification of able geographers will include some of the following:


• Having a real enthusiasm for geography, good geographical knowledge and a genuine interest in the world around them

• Writing clearly incorporating data and showing high levels of reasoning, argument and logical thinking

• Having well-considered opinions on a range of issues and appreciating the values and attitudes of others

• Enjoying using visual methods to present and interpret data such as graphs, charts, maps, photographs, satellite images and weather maps

• Having a high degree of spatial awareness which may be shown through interpretation of maps and diagrams

• Being confident and contributing effectively when taking part in less formal teaching situations such as discussion, role play or fieldwork

• Pupils will be identified by looking at the quality of oral and written work in lessons, including assessments. Open-ended homework tasks are likely to be a good indicator as is ability to take part in discussion, express their opinion but also take account of other pupils? ideas

Teaching strategies used with more able students:

Geography teachers will look for opportunities for extension and enrichment for the most able. Some of useful approaches are:


• Encouraging independent research

• Asking challenging questions and expect fuller well reasoned answers

• Setting open-ended tasks both in class and for homework

• Having high expectations

• Ensuring students know how to achieve their full potential by referring to the mark schemes and making full use of peer and self assessment

• Differentiating resources or provide additional resources when appropriate

• Encouraging participation in extra-curricular extension activities

Monitoring and evaluation:

Pupils identified as able or gifted geographers will be listed on the school?s register. This is available to all teachers. At the end of the school year the progress of the students listed will be discussed and information about each student will be passed on to the person who will be teaching them the following year.

Home learning and extension activities:

Additional resources are available on OWL. These can be found in the Geography area of OWL or in the Gifted and Talented area of OWL.

Respect  * Responsibility *  Resilience * Trust *  Kindness *  Courage

A specialist language college

Pilton Community College, Chaddiford Lane, Barnstaple, Devon  EX31 1RB.  01271 374381  email: