The study of Geography is about more than just memorising places on a map. It’s about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exists across continents, and in the end, it’s about using that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together.


Geography at The Hayfield School aims to inspire and challenge students by enabling them to develop a deeper appreciation of the world around them. This will take students on a Geographical journey of discovery that goes beyond classroom walls and to new locations at a variety of scales. Our curriculum provides the knowledge of both physical and human geographies, and explores how these interconnected components work together to contribute to the diverse and dynamic planet in which we live.  

Our richly challenging curriculum develops Geographical knowledge as well essential skills to enable students to ‘Think, Speak, Read and Write like a Geographer’. We want our students to use this wealth of knowledge to become more critical as they evaluate and challenge what they see and hear in their wider lives. The curriculum is also designed to celebrate global diversity and embrace difference whilst building a sense of place on many scales.  

The curriculum develops truly global citizens, who recognise their responsibility in our sustainable future, as well as equipping them with the geographical knowledge and skills that can be applied to everyday life and are transferable to a range of careers.

Curriculum Intent


Our KS3 curriculum builds upon KS2 and lays the foundations in terms of knowledge and skill for KS4 with each year building in complexity allowing our students to be successful at KS4 Geography. 

We cover most of the areas of the KS3 National Curriculum suggested content wise regarding location, place knowledge, human and physical characteristics Geographical skills and Fieldwork. However, it is the level of suggested detail in which our KS3 curriculum varies particularly regarding depth for suggested geographical regions and areas.

Year 7 is where we focus on building an understanding of the world around them, particularly focussing on locational knowledge and the human and physical elements of the places of study. Topics include:

  • The World Around Us
  • The Human World
  • The Natural World
  • African exploration
  • Amazing Places

During year 8 we build upon the knowledge learnt within year 7 by focusing more on key processes and how they can affect our planet and the people who call it home. Topics Include:

  • Global Development
  • Dangerous Planet
  • Worldwide water
  • Local Fieldwork

And during year 9 we look more at how humans are affecting our planet and what we can do about some of the problems we create, in particular sustainability.  Topics include:

  • Climate Change
  • Extreme Australia
  • Cities and Urbanisation
  • The USA

Our curriculum is not a 5 year curriculum, but there is a strong focus on Geographical Skills in preparation for KS4. 

We also run an extra-curricular club- Hayfield COP (Conference of the Pupils) which focuses on environmental issues, in particular climate change and how we can help to address these issues both in and out of school. 


Why should I study this subject?

Geography is a topical subject. Students who study Geography will gain an understanding of the world around them and learn about the effect the environment has on people and the communities in which they live. Students will develop a variety of skills through practical work including fieldwork and decision-making exercises that are transferable to multiple disciplines beyond Geography and into further study.

What will I study?

We follow the Edexcel A (9-1) GCSE exam specification.

There are two compulsory fieldwork days that take place within GCSE  Geography that are an exam requirement.

There are three sections to the GCSE Geography course

Unit 1 – The Physical Environment

This unit takes an in-depth look at our natural planet and helps us to understand naturally occurring events in the UK and around the world; topics include;

UK landscapes, Rivers and Coasts- Here we look at the key processes that form these environments, the characteristics of these environments and how they can be managed.

Weather and Climate- here we will look at hurricanes and droughts; how they are formed, their impacts and responses, and how these can vary depending on development levels.

Ecosystems, Biodiversity and Management- here we look at Tropical Rain forests and Deciduous Woodland, we look at their threats and management.

Unit 2 – The Human Environment

This unit focuses upon the Urban World, looking at the growth of cities around the world, the uneven development of the world and the supply of natural resources.

Changing Cities with a focus on two key case studies- Mexico City and Sheffield- here we look at the processes that cities go through over time and how cities respond to these changes to manage problems and grow. We also visit Sheffield city Centre as part of the Human fieldwork element (Unit 3) and in support of this topic.

Global Development with a focus on the key case study location- India. Here we study how development can occur at different rates, and the factors that can hinder or slow a country’s development. We also look at how development can vary within a country itself too and how countries can try to improve its development.

Resource Management with a focus on water management. Here we study the supply and consumption of global resources before studying in depth water resources. We look at how Las Vegas, China and the UK have water supply problems and how actions can be taken to increase water supply, as well as lower consumption, to encourage sustainable water management.

Unit 3 –Geographical investigations: Fieldwork and UK Challenges

This unit is designed to allow students to make some important decisions about the planet. It promotes independent thinking and covers a wide range of local and global topics.

There are two parts to this unit, reflecting the 2 parts to the exam. 

The first part, the fieldwork element to this unit, reflects the exam which replaces the traditional Geography coursework with exam questions, on students’ (familiar) fieldwork and on a range of skills including graphical and cartographic skills. We have to undertake 2 fieldwork days, one to a physical environment, in our case to a river where we would collect information on how a river can change as we move downstream, and to a human environment, where we visit Sheffield City Centre to explore regeneration to the area.

The second element to this exam is UK Challenges, here we synoptically look at the different elements of the UK from our GCSE course of study and we look at how challenges faced in the future within the UK can be addressed.

How will I be assessed?

GCSE Geography is 100% exam based and there are 3 exams for Geography covering the three Units

Unit 1 (The Physical Environment) Exam 1 hour 30 mins long worth 94 marks

Unit 2 (The Human Environment) Exam 1 hour 30 mins long worth 94 marks

Unit 3 (Geographical investigations: Fieldwork and UK Challenges) Exam 1 hour 30 mins long worth 64 marks

The exams include multiple-choice questions, short open, open response, calculations and extended writing questions of maximum 16 marks.

All exams take place at the end of the course.

What skills will I develop?

Students will develop a variety of skills through practical work including fieldwork and decision-making exercises. We also develop statistical skills and mathematical skills as well as map reading and interpretation skills.

What equipment will I need?

You will need basic stationary equipment along with a scientific calculator- this is an exam requirement. 

Towards the end of year 10, we will be conducting our two compulsory fieldwork trips- one to a river and one to a city centre. We will be outside for both days so appropriate clothing and footwear is required. We would strongly suggest bringing a waterproof coat as we will be outside conducting fieldwork, whatever the weather.

For the river study fieldwork day we will be visiting a Burbage Brook in the Peak District, so you will need suitable footwear to access the stream in order to collect data. We recommend Wellington Boots or a pair of old trainers.  

We also recommend a clipboard for both fieldwork days.

How will this subject develop my sense of character and culture?

As Geography is a diverse and topical subject that looks at a number of areas from around the world and the issues they face, there are opportunities to develop ethics and morals when looking at the development levels of areas and how they should be managed as well as looking at the well being and quality of life to those that call these areas home. We also aim to help our students gain a greater sense of the world around them and their place within it.

Where can this subject take me?

GCSE Geography supports progression to A Level – the compulsory and optional topic content provides the opportunity to lay foundations of knowledge and understanding that can be further developed at  Geography A Level. Whilst the Geographical and Fieldwork Skills developed can also be applied to a wide range of jobs and apprenticeships, as well as other courses of study.

Your teacher will be happy to share knowledge of linked professions with you.

Where can I find out more?

    Please visit the Edexcel GCSE Geography A specification page for more information

What other subjects would compliment my learning in this qualification?

The Curriculum Team

Miss P Alcock
Teacher of Geography
Miss K Ballance
Teacher of Geography
Miss R Neal
Subject Leader of Geography
Mr D Scholey
Associate Assistant Headteacher
Ms J Whetstone
Associate Assistant Headteacher