In both Years 7 and 8, Geography is taught over two lessons each week. Both year groups will have the opportunity for field work in the local area. 

In Year 7 we hope to show students what geographers are interested in and how we work together to investigate patterns and issues. Topics studied include:

  • Map work and geographical skills. These will be supported throughout the course and be taught discreetly in combination with other topics. An example of this would be settlement and land use mapping. These are essential skills and are used by all the major exam boards so we start this early to make sure all our students have a very secure understanding. They also provide them with skills that will help them throughout life such as the ability to read a map.
  • Weather & Climate. Students will look at both the short term climate and why we have the climate we do as well as the long term patterns. We study this as we can utilise the unique cliff top position of the school and look at the local climate. We also teach this unit of work due to the changing UK climate pattern. This will allow students to understand why our climate has a pattern and how this may change. It will also help the students look at the weather and what causes this. The students will also gain a cross curricular opportunity and use the schools media green screen to create a weather forecast.
  • Settlements. Students will look at the development of the UK and examine UK settlements for why they developed and how they have changed. This will help students understand the reasons for the settlements locally to have established and look at how they have changed over time. It will also be used to provide students with an opportunity to look at the UK as a whole and become familiar with the traditional geography which was a key target for all students under the current government.
  • Ecosystems. Students will look at why there are different ecosystems around the globe before using the Arctic Tundra as a focus for a case study exploring the environment, animals and vegetation. This allows students to see the impact on a unique ecosystem that may be under threat and could even disappear in the student’s life time. This enhances the student’s global awareness.
  • Coastal environments. Given our seaside location and our island nation status, students examine the physical features of our coast and look at the key processes that helped to form our coastline and that continue to affect it. This topic is covered at both GCSE and at A Level and our early focus ensures our students have an understanding early on of the key processes. This unit of work provides an excellent opportunity for local field work in familiar surroundings allowing the development of practical field work skills. It also helps the students understand why the coast line they are familiar with is the way it is and makes the geography relevant.


In Year 8 we look at some of the bigger global issues and ask questions about what is happening in the world today. We also look at the future and what our responsibilities are to the planet and our fellow Global Citizens. Topics studied include:

  • Population geography. Students will investigate the population changes and the reasons for this. They will use the UK and global patterns to investigate this topic. It is important for the students to understand how population changes over time and will provide the students with insight in to some of the most influential and current topics in the form of migration. This helps the students become aware of issues that have real importance in local and national politics and affect the area they live in.
  • Development. Students will look at how countries develop, why they develop and look for the indicators to show how well a country is developed. This helps the students understand the global position of the UK. It also helps the students understand the global picture of development and should help the students become aware of the location and level of development of other nations. This again was a key target for all schools to deliver in geography set by the current government.
  • Natural hazards. The students will look at global natural hazards. This will help the students understand some of our planets most spectacular hazards and also provide a good taste of a key GCSE component to help with the student’s option selection. This is also a fantastic chance to inspire our young students by helping them understand some of our planets most awe inspiring events such as volcanoes.
  • China. As China has developed rapidly and is becoming a world super power the students will have an opportunity to look at China more closely. They will examine its population, physical features and political ideology. It is important in helping our students to be ready for a globalised world for us to help them understand other countries. As a result of China’s emergence as a global super power we felt the students should study the country as China is likely to become a country that in future careers they may well deal with.
  • Comparing LIC, MIC and HIC’s (low income countries, medium income countries and high income countries). The students will compare these types of countries and it will be supported by case studies from around the globe. A crucial skill at GCSE is to be able to compare countries around the globe and this unit helps the students do this. It will also help provide cross curricular links over global issues such as child poverty and help students understand the responsibility Britain has in helping the less developed countries.
  • Being sustainable. The students will examine the future of the planet and the effects our action are having. Through this hopefully they will form opinions on how to be more sustainable. This is a highly relevant topic area especially with the large debate on climate change. As ever we want our curriculum to prepare students with current knowledge but also prepare the students with future knowledge. This topic is having an effect on nearly every person in some form or another.
  • Tourism. Tourism is the largest industry in the UK and has a huge impact on the South East. The students will look at this topic and how it has impacted the local area. They will also look at tourism as a global industry as well as localised. We offer this topic to allow students the opportunity to complete some human geography field work in the nearby city of Canterbury. This means the students can see the impact of tourism first hand in a place familiar to them. It is also useful for the life long journey of learning as many of our students may work in this industry as it is the fifth largest industry within the UK and the largest globally.


At GCSE the students will explore the up to date physical and human elements of the subject along with the human and physical based field work techniques, data interpretation and analysis to further their understanding of our changing world. The physical and human units interlink to show the significance of human interactions on our natural world.  Given the field work data collection that the girls will carry out, Geography remains a practical and contemporary subject, focusing in on elements of our everyday world to enable students to formulate their own views on current issues and to appreciate the importance of sustainability for our future. Greater ‘UK Geography’ understanding and awareness will be another successful learning outcome from the GCSE and the learning and assessment styles are varied and suited to all types of learner. Contemporary, hands on and accessible the AQA Geography GCSE will inspire the students to become more globally aware and empathetic of race and culture, given the broad ranging and academic bedrock of topics upon which they can develop sustainably enhanced understanding and a broad global understanding of our complex world.

The GCSE is a 2 year course, containing the following units: 

UNIT 1: ‘Living with the physical world’ involves studying natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, extreme weather and its socio-economic implications; river and coastal processes and landforms, alongside developing their awareness of the characteristics and adaptations of the world biomes of hot deserts and rainforests; their biodiversity and human interactions. The girls will focus in on a river and a coastal management scheme in light of potential issues associated with global warming and subsequent sea level rise.  This unit is assessed by a written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes

UNIT 2: ‘Living in the human world’ explores urban issues and challenges; studying the causes and effects of growth in a major urban area;  the changing economic world examining the growth and  impacts of tourism and The challenge of resource management where they will learn about large scale irrigation scheme; food supply schemes and either water and energy resources to support populations of an area or region. This unit is assessed by a written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes

UNIT 3: ‘Geographical applications’ provides students with the opportunity to make informed decision on any area of Geography by asking them to read a pre-release booklet of secondary resources and to reach some decisions on any issue or area of the course. They will also be tested on their fieldwork skills, asking them to reflect and evaluate their own field work activities, data and associated analysis and findings. This unit is assessed by a written exam: one hour multiple-choice, short answer, levels of response, extended prose.

(In all 3 written exams, the styles of questions will vary between multiple-choice, short answer, levels of response, extended prose)



We follow the AQA A Level syllabus which allows for a broad range of interesting and relevant topics, maintaining a balance between Physical and Human Geography. The course is delivered in four one-hour lessons in the AS year and five one-hour lessons in the A2 year. The course is organised as follows:


AS Level

Unit 1 - Physical & Human Geography (70%) - The study of core geographical concepts along with themes of environmental impact, management and sustainability 

Physical – Rivers, Floods & Management and Coastal Environments

Human – Population Change and Health Issues

Unit 2 - Geographical Skills (30%) - A skills paper based on the content of Unit 1 including investigative, cartographic, graphical, ICT and statistical skills and including questions based on the fieldwork carried out on the residential trip


A2 Level

Unit 3 - Contemporary Geographical Issues (60%) – An issues-based approach to contemporary geographical themes. Students study 3 units, two from Physical Geography and one from Human Geography 

Physical – Plate Tectonics and Hazards, Ecosystems: change and challenge

Human – Development and Globalisation 

Unit 4b - Geography Issue Investigation (40%) – involves short and extended questions based on an Advance Information Booklet issued by the examination board prior to the examination. Previous topics have included Geoparks, Cyclone Aila, Urban Redevelopment in Belfast and Sustainable Transport

Students sit 4 written examinations, 2 at AS Level and 2 at A2 – the relative weightings of each examination are shown above in brackets. A variety of class work, discussion, group work, individual investigations, ICT research and fieldwork are the main approaches adopted. Residential fieldwork is an essential part of the course – we use the Field Studies Council centre in Surrey to carry out river, coastal and urban investigations which prepare students for the Unit 2 examination.


Extra Curricular Opportunities

As well as a wide range of cross curricular links provided across a number of subjects the school and geography department have a commitment to provide inspirational teaching and opportunity for study that will inspire a lifelong love for the subject area. As a result we offer a practical trip to all year groups to enhance study skills and make geography relevant by demonstrating it in the local area. We also are developing the global links in Geography by providing extra-curricular trips to locations such as Iceland. Here the students will see the theory and be inspired by the natural wonder of geography.



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The Folkestone School for Girls

Coolinge Lane

Folkestone, Kent

CT20 3RB United Kingdom


Tel: +44 (0) 1303 251125