At Ruislip High School, Geography teaching enables students to appreciate the natural world, the human processes and students’ individual places within this. Students are educated to live their lives as reflective citizens in a sustainable way.

Key Stage 3


Geography is taught by an enthusiastic and dedicated team. Students learn about a wide variety of physical, human and environmental geographical themes following the National Curriculum programme of study.

Year 7

1: Atlas Skills: countries and continents; regions; latitude and longitude.
2: Water, Rivers and Flooding: Providing fresh water to drink; the River Severn; river landforms; flood management.
3: Map Skills and the British Isles: symbols; grid references; direction; scale; the physical and human Geography of the British Isles.
4: Cold Environments: the 1953 ascent of Mount Everest; ice sheets and glaciers; Antarctica, the 1911 race to the South Pole and the Antarctic Treaty.
5: Settlement: the development of Ruislip; the world's biggest cities; local urban fieldwork.
6: Coasts and Oceans: coastal processes; coastal erosion and deposition landforms; Dorset's World Heritage status coastline; the health of the oceans.
7: Ecosystems: savanna; deserts; forests.

Year 8

1: The structure of the Earth and Volcanic Hazards: examples from Iceland, the Philippines, the USA and the Caribbean.
2: Earthquake Hazards: how they are caused; how humans try to limit the effects; the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
3: Japan: physical and human features; how it has developed to become one of the world’s richest countries.
4: World Population: 7 billion and counting; which countries have the most and least people and why?
5: Energy and Resources: fossil fuels and sustainable energy; the Hoover Dam story.
6: Weather and Climate: factors affecting our climate; forecasting; extreme weather; climate change.
7: Europe: the names and capital cities of Europe’s 48 countries; key physical features; the European Union.

Year 9

1: International Development: why countries are considered more or less developed; issues facing less developed countries such as rural-urban migration and shanty towns.
2: Brazil and South America: the physical and human geography of the continent, with a focus on Brazil.
3: Globalisation and Earning a Living: reasons for globalisation; why companies such as Nike operate globally; the positives and negatives of globalisation; the UK’s changing economy.
4: Superpower Geography: to what extent is the USA the world’s ‘superpower country’? To what extent are Russia and China superpower countries?
5: The Middle East. The background of the Israel/Palestine conflict. How Dubai in the UAE has changed.
6: Geographical conflicts: the Falkland Islands; oil spills; Heathrow’s third runway plans; HS2.
7: Tourism: UK tourism and national parks; global tourism development; is tourism in the Galapagos Islands sustainable?

Key Stage 4


Geography is a popular GCSE option. We follow the AQA specification. In GCSE Geography, students study a wide variety of interesting topical issues helping them develop a broad understanding of today’s ever-changing world. Geography is also a subject valued by employers, as students develop their literacy and numeracy skills. This is alongside many other transferable skills such as decision-making, report-writing and giving presentations. Students will also use several software packages and learn to use a wide variety of maps at different scales. The course is taught by enthusiastic and knowledgeable subject specialists.

There is a long-standing three-day residential field trip to Swanage in July of Year 10, which all students are expected to attend if possible.

Unit 1 exam: Living with the Physical Environment. 90 mins exam. 35% of the GCSE.
Section A: The Challenges of Natural Hazards.
This includes studying the causes and management of extreme weather in the UK, tropical storms, tectonic hazards and climate change.

Section B: Physical Landscapes in the UK.
This includes studying the diverse landscapes of the UK such as its major upland/lowland areas and river systems, coastal processes and landforms, coastal management, river processes and landforms, and flood management.

Section C: The Living World.
This includes studying global ecosystems, tropical deforestation, the sustainable management of tropical rainforests, the characteristics and management of cold environments such as Antarctica.

Unit 2 exam: Challenges in the Human Environment. 90 mins exam. 35% of GCSE.
Section A: Urban Issues and Challenges.
This includes studying world population growth, the opportunities and challenges of urban growth, major world cities, and how urban planning can improve the quality of life in poorer countries.

Section B: The Changing Economic World.
This includes studying global variations in economic development and quality of life, transnational corporations, international aid, a newly emerging economy case study, and a case study of the economic future of the UK.

Section C: The Challenge of Resource Management.
This includes studying the global distribution of food, water and energy resources.

Unit 3 exam: Geographical Applications. 90 mins exam. 35% of GCSE.
Section A: Issue Evaluation.
A resource sheet on a geographical issue will be available from March in the year of the exam. Students will study the issue in the following weeks. The exam will then set questions assessing students’ understanding of the issue and their ability to make justified decisions.

Section B: Fieldwork.
Students undertake two geographical fieldwork enquiries on the Swanage three-day field trip in the summer of Year 10. They will then write about their fieldwork methods, results and conclusions in this exam.

Key Stage 5


At A Level we follow the AQA specification. Sixth Form Geography helps students develop a deep understanding of global issues, and a number of key skills highly valued by employers: these skills include undertaking research and analysis; report writing; decision-making; using ICT and using geographical information systems (GIS); and teamwork on practical projects. People who study Geography and related subjects at A Level or at university go onto many different types of career, for example chartered surveying, natural resource exploration, town and transport planning, land and water management, environmental consultancy, tourism, conservation, project management, housing and social welfare roles as well as the IT and financial sectors.

Unit 1 Physical Geography (written examination, 2 hours 30 mins, 40% of the qualification)

  • Water and Carbon Cycles
  • Coastal Systems and Landscapes
  • Hazards
  • Geographical Skills

Unit 2 Human Geography (written examination, 2 hours 30 mins, 40% of the qualification)

  • Global Systems and Global Governance
  • Changing Places
  • Resource Security
  • Geographical Skills

Unit 3: Geography Fieldwork Investigation coursework, (20% of the qualification)

Students complete an individual investigation which includes data collected in the field. The investigation is based on a question or issue defined and developed by the student. The fieldwork takes place on a four-day residential field trip to Norfolk in June of Year 12. Students who enjoyed the GCSE field trip to Swanage will also enjoy the A-level field trip to Norfolk!