Curriculum Vision

‘Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future’
- Michael Palin –

Our geography curriculum allows students to understand how they fit into the ever changing world around them.  Through studying geography at Chapel High School, students understand their individual and collective impact on others and nature, leading to a sense of shared responsibility for the custodianship of our planet.  We highlight the interdependence between people and the natural world, allowing students to understand contemporary world issues and make sense of what they see in the news.   We envision that this will inspire students to explore the world beyond the hills of the High Peak and encourage a sense of empathy towards those less fortunate.

Knowledge and skills

Our curriculum is a blend of human and physical geography.  The three major agents of change on our landscape (ice, rivers and coasts) are covered in years 7, 8 and 9 respectively.  This is interspersed with geographical skills such as map skills, fieldwork, and geographical enquiry, as well as functional life skills such as giving presentations, budget management and working collaboratively.  More complex core fundamentals of human geography (Development and Urbanisation) are taught towards the end of year 9 where students are best placed to understand them, having already built a solid foundation in geography.  During our learning journey we dispel some common misconceptions about the wider world, for example by looking at Africa as a continent of contrasts, as well as opening students’ eyes to unfamiliar lands such as the frozen plains of the tundra.


Students in our rural community need to be able to understand their local environment which is why, for example, we start with geology and national parks in year 7 and support this with our Castleton field trip.  However, our biggest vision is then linking that to the wider world at regional, national and international scales.  We hope that when students leave as geographers at age 16, they can make connections between themselves, current modern world issues and the direction our world is moving in.

Curriculum Content

Years 7 to 9

Students are taught in mixed ability teaching groups in years 7 and 8, and 9 and we follow the National Curriculum.

Year 7

Year 7 geographers should be able to understand:

  • the geology surrounding their local area and the issues involved with living on the edge of a National Park,
  • the basics of how to use an OS map,
  • how the pattern of temperature change on earth during a variety of time periods influences the physical landscape and the dangers people face when operating in cold environments,
  • the distribution of ecosystems and global biomes (with an in-depth look at rainforests) as well as the differences between the Arctic and Antarctic,
  • the structure of the earth and why some places suffer from tectonics hazards when we in the UK don’t,
  • how Africa is a continent of contrasts by dispelling some myths about the continent.
Year 8

Year 8 geographers should be able to understand:

  • the issues surrounding fossil fuel energy production,
  • the renewable alternatives to fossil fuels and the future of our national energy mix,
  • the physical processes and landforms linked to rivers and the impact and management of flooding,
  • Air pressure, precipitation and the factors influencing the future climate of the planet,
  • China’s journey through development to modern China.
Year 9

Year 9 geographers should be able to understand:

  • the topics and demands of a GCSE in geography through an introduction to each topic,
  • the causes and impacts of local and global scale conflict,
  • coastal processes and landforms,
  • how humans interact with the coast,
  • why some countries remain poor while other get richer,
  • the issues surrounding our increasingly urban world.
Coursebooks used Geog.1,2 and 3 Oxford University Press
Recommended websites
for research or revision

Years 10 and 11

Geography is increasingly popular as a choice at GCSE and many of our students go on to study geography at A-level. Students tell us that they enjoy their geography and perceive it as an area in which they can succeed.

Qualification GCSE
Board OCR Specification B (Geography for Enquiring Minds)
Syllabus number J384
Website link

Assessment details 35% Paper One: Our Natural World
35% Paper Two: People and Society
30% Paper Three: Geographical Exploration
Fieldwork details Students are required to attend and write up two fieldtrips.  Students investigate the effects of tourism in York and complete a local river study in Tideswell Dale.
Recommended coursebook GCSE Geography OCR B, Oxford University Press
Note: this must be the 2016 edition or newer, which is for the 9-1 GCSE.
Recommended revision guides CGP GCSE Geography OCR B: Geography for Enquiring Minds Revision Guide
CGP also do an ‘online’ revision book if students prefer.
Note: this must be the 2016 edition or newer which is for the 9-1 GCSE.
Recommended websites

Ways in which you can help your child

The geography course is based on real places and events. Regular family discussion around current affairs and environmental issues would be particularly helpful. If your child is completing research tasks, helping them to search for information effectively and helping them to save selective websites to their favourites tab can assist them in obtaining reliable, accurate information written in child friendly language. Good sources of information include the National Geographic Kids or Encyclopaedia Britannica websites.

Educational Visits

The geography department organises numerous trips to explore our fantastic local and national environment including Castleton, London, Manchester, Tideswell Dale and York.

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