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Geography students enjoy the scenery during their trip to Iceland


The Geography department aims to promote, encourage and develop an interest and enthusiasm for the study of Geography. We seek to develop students as geographers in three key areas:

  • Geographical knowledge and understanding: Develop their knowledge and understanding of the characteristics, processes and challenges found in different physical and human environments at a variety of scales and locations
  • Geographical skills: Students will learn a range of skills to critically analyse different geographical issues and challenges to draw reasoned conclusions
  • Geographical resourcefulness: Our students will become able to confidently draw upon their knowledge, understanding and skills as well as use their initiative and creativity in pursuit of solutions to the various geographical challenges they will study.

Staff and facilities

The department is staffed by six geographers and occupies five rooms in the Hallam Building.

The rooms are all equipped with networked computers with internet access and interactive whiteboards. The department also has access to a class set of iPads.

Subject time per 10-day cycle

  • Lower School: three lessons with two 30 minute homeworks
  • GCSE: five lessons with three 40 minute homeworks
  • A-level: ten lessons with additional individual study.

Geography in the Lower School

The curriculum begins to develop the students as geographers by providing them with an introduction to different geographical areas of study across a range of different themes and geographical scales. This includes a study of their local area and then, more broadly, a study of the rest of the UK, the European Union and the wider world. Key geographical skills are developed throughout the Lower School curriculum.

Key areas of study include:

  • First Year: The geography of the UK, settlement, coasts and map skills
  • Second Year: Population, tectonics and the weather and climate of the UK. Pupils also go on a trip to the Peak District to introduce them to geology, which underpins a lot of the GCSE and A-level courses
  • Third Year: UK landscapes, rivers and Global development (we now study GCSE Geography from the start of Third Year).

Geography further up the school


We study the Edexcel A Specification at GCSE. From 2018, pupils will be graded at 9-1 under the numeric award system. The course develops a wide range of geographical skills and builds a good base of knowledge and understanding across a number of different areas.

Students will study a range of topics, some physical and some human, but all with some interaction and interconnection. Physical topics include rivers, weather hazards and ecosystems and their management. Human topics include global development and resource management. There will be two major field work opportunities, one focusing on a physical area of study, the other on a human area of study which will feature as part of the final examinations. Physical Geography field work is carried out around the Edale and Kinder Scout area of the Peak District and the Human Geography field work in central and inner city Manchester. There is no coursework.


At A Level we study the Edexcel Specification. Students take linear examinations at the end of their course. Students study the following topics during year 1; Coasts; Water Cycle and Water Insecurity; Regeneration; Globalisation. During year 2 students study the following topics; Superpowers; Migration, Identity & Sovereignty; Tectonic Environments; Carbon Cycle and Energy Insecurity.

During the end of year 1 and throughout the Autumn term of year 2, pupils are required to complete a 4000 word Independent Investigation as part of the Non-Examined Assessment (NEA) element of the course. To support pupils in this we undertake two broad field studies of Coasts and Regeneration. Students also undertake a coastal field studies day in Llandudno, or other north west coastal areas, and a UK-based residential trip for Sixth Form is regularly planned.

As with all the new Geography A-level specifications, the new A-level is linear and will be assessed at the end of the Second Year via three different exam papers and an independently researched piece of coursework.

Please consult the Sixth Form Handbook (pdf) for further information

Field trips

Geographers across the year groups regularly travel locally, nationally and abroad to enable them to apply their knowledge of the course in the field. In 2014, 2016 and 2022 Fourth Year, Fifth Year and the Sixth Form travelled to Iceland to study glaciation, tectonics and renewable energy.

In July 2018, we travelled with students from a range of year groups to The Azores, a group of active volcanic islands and a Portuguese territory in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Here students had the opportunity to discover tectonics, renewable energies, coastal land-forms, marine ecosystems and the effects of colonisation and migration. We plan to visit The Azores again in July 2024.

Previously we have travelled to the USA and Spain. In October 2018 the department and A-level geographers took part in the cross-curricular trip to China with the Economics Department.

In 2024 we will be completing field visits locally in Stockport, at Kinder Scout and around inner city and central Manchester (Moss Side, Etihad Campus, Castlefield, Northern Quarter, Ancoats, Rusholme and Hulme). We will also travel to other places in the UK , such as Llandudno and East Yorkshire.


A-level geographers are encouraged to join the local branch of the Geographical Association and/or the Royal Geographical Society (the department is a schools member of both) and regularly attend lectures at Manchester University and elsewhere in the region where possible.

The school is invariably represented by a team of Fifth Years at the local round of the Geographical Association Worldwide Quiz who compete with success.

Geography in Art Club is open to the Lower School and is partly run by Sixth Form geographers and we run an A-level Reading Extension Club once per cycle.

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