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Subject intent

The Big Picture 

We want our young people to be curious, interested, and able to understand the world. We want our pupils to leave John Ferneley College being able to understand why the World is the way it is; both physical and human processes that have shaped it and continue to shape it. We want them to have the capability to add to this body of understanding themselves in the future.  

We feel as a department it is not about making it easy, it’s about making it engaging.  

Implementation of curriculum at KS3 

Our aspiration is to deliver a dynamic and modern Geography curriculum in such a way that it fosters an environment and attitude that allows self-reliant, confident, and independent learners to flourish.  

Our Geography Journey begins in Key Stage 3 and develops towards GCSE and beyond with emphasis on the following elements of the National Curriculum:  

  1. Contextual world knowledge of locations, places & geographical features 

  1. Understanding of the conditions, processes & interactions that explain geographical features, distribution patterns, & changes over time & space 

  1. Competence in geographical enquiry, & the application of skills in observing, collecting, analysing, evaluating & communicating geographical information

Impact of curriculum  

We are confident that through the content of the curriculum and the way in which it is delivered that Geography will have a profoundly positive impact on pupil’s appreciation of the world’s complexities and their own important place within it. We will measure this in a number of ways:  

  • There will be three formal assessments throughout the year (cumulative), regular knowledge tests and end of unit assessments. Ongoing assessment will occur through teacher monitoring of classwork, homework and discussions with pupils.  

  • Pupils voice. We wish to know how the pupils feel about what they are learning and the progress they are making. Students will have the opportunity to respond and improve their work through classroom feedback after assessments.     

  • Lessons observations and work scrutinises completed by HOD. 

GCSE at John Fernley College 

At John Ferneley College students study the WJEC Eduqas GCSE Geography B. As a department we felt this exam board allows the following:

  • Enable learners to think ‘like a geographer’. That is to say, learners will develop the skills necessary to conduct framed enquiries in the classroom and in the field in order to develop their understanding of specialised geographical concepts and current geographical issues. 

  • Allows for a distinctive problem-solving approach to the study of interactions between people and the environment.  

  • Develops critical learners as they consider the strengths and limitations of this data and evidence.  

  • Requires learners to consider the points of view of those who have a vested interest when they are affected by contentious geographical change. Allowing learners to become informed and reflective citizens when they consider a range of viewpoints, values and attitudes which are held by stakeholders on a number of key geographical issues.  

  • By analysing the evidence and viewpoints learners will develop the ability to solve problems and justify their decisions, enabling young people to become globally and environmentally informed and thoughtful, enquiring citizens. The content of the specification is organised into three broad themes: Theme 1: Changing Places - Changing Economies
    Theme 2: Changing Environments
    Theme 3: Environmental Challenges

    Within each theme, learners should be encouraged to take an enquiry approach to a range of contemporary geographical and environmental issues. Learners should be given the opportunity to represent geographical data using a range of cartographical and graphical techniques whilst exploring the content of each component. They should be given the opportunity to analyse a variety of maps, graphs, photographs and data sets. The range and extent of mathematical and statistical techniques required by WJEC Eduqas GCSE Geography B is given in Appendix A on pages 27-28 of the specification. These techniques will be assessed across all three components. Fieldwork enquiry will be assessed in Component 3 only. 

GCSE Examination 

Component 1: Investigating Geographical Issues Written Examination:  

  • 1 hour 45 minutes  
  • 40% of qualification  
  • Three structured data response questions.  
  • The final part of each question will require an extended response.  
  • Q1 will assess aspects of Theme 1, Changing Places - Changing Economies. 
  • Q2 will assess aspects of Theme 2, Changing Environments.  
  • Q3 will assess aspects of Theme 3, Environmental Challenges.  

Component 2: Problem-Solving Geography Written Examination:  

  • 1 hour 30 minutes  
  • 30% of qualification  
  • This component will assess content from across the themes using a variety of structured data response questions.  
  • Part A will introduce an issue and set the geographical context.  
  • Part B will outline a number of possible solutions to the issue.  
  • Part C will provide an opportunity for the candidates to choose a solution and justify their choice in an extended response.  

Component 3: Applied Fieldwork Enquiry Written Examination:  

  • 1 hour 30 minutes  
  • 30% of qualification  
  • A written examination in three parts using a variety of structured data response questions some of which will require extended responses.  
  • Part A will assess approaches to fieldwork methodology, representation and analysis. 
  • Part B will assess how fieldwork enquiry may be used to investigate geography's conceptual frameworks.
  • Part C will assess the application of  broad geographical concepts to a wider UK context and assess the ability to make and justify a decision. 
Assessment weighting in Geography 

To keep consistency across our subject, Key Stage 3 Geography also follows the same assessment weighting as GCSE:

  • AO1 Demonstrate knowledge of locations, places, processes, environments and different scales.  

  • AO2 Demonstrate geographical understanding of: concepts and how they are used in relation to places, environments and processes, the inter-relationships between places, environments and processes.  
  • AO3 Apply knowledge and understanding to interpret, analyse and evaluate geographical information and issues and to make judgements.  
  • AO4 Select, adapt and use a variety of skills and techniques to investigate questions and issues and communicate findings.  

The table below shows the weighting of each assessment objective for each component at GCSE and for the qualification as a whole.  
























15% (10%) 

35% (10%) 

10% (5%) 

25% (5%) 

30% (15%) 


Cities and Countries of study (those in bold are covered in our KS3 & KS4 curriculum) 

Global cities (or world cities)  

Those cities which play an important role in the global economic system of finance and trade. As such, their existence is due to the processes of interdependence and globalisation that link the world together.  

  • The top 20 in 2012 were: London, New York City, Hong Kong, Paris, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, Beijing, Sydney, Dubai, Chicago, Mumbai, Milan, Moscow, Sao Paulo, Frankfurt, Toronto, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City.  

  • There are 14 UK cities in the top 200 list of global cities. In rank order these are: London, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, Belfast, Southampton, Newcastle, Liverpool, Cardiff, Aberdeen, Sheffield.  

Newly Industrialised Countries (NIC) 

Middle income countries where the pace of economic growth outstrips that of other developing countries. NICs are characterised by: the relatively rapid growth of the manufacturing sector of the economy; rapid urban growth; strong trading relationships with other countries; and the operation of foreign owned multinational companies (MNCs) within the country.  

  • The following are listed in order of wealth (in 2015): Brazil, Turkey, Malaysia, Mexico, China, South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, India.  

Low Income Countries (LIC)  

Defined by the World Bank as having a GNI per capita income of $1,045 or less in 2013. In 2015 there are 34 LICs.  

  • They are listed in alphabetical order. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Gambia, Haiti, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda. 


Subject Journey