What do we study in Geography at Ridgeway?

Why do we study Geography?

Geography is an essential subject for our students to study at Ridgeway Secondary School. It is important that our young people are aware of the local, regional, national and international geography of where they are and how our local actions can have a global effect.

A Ridgeway geographer understands the human and physical geography of the world and how clear links exist between different topics. Understanding sustainable development and what our future world should/could look like is paramount as we have a responsibility towards not only our generation but that of tomorrow.

Studying Geography helps students develop key mental and academic skills like empathy, resilience, self-awareness and the adoption of a growth mindset. Forging a world we can be proud of is about understanding ourselves and others that populate it.

In the Geography Department, we focus closely on the Ridgeway 360° approach through mental resilience and understanding people’s social problems across the globe. We carefully consider our own wellbeing when comparing our lives with that of people in other countries and continents. When making these comparisons, we also consider other people’s lifestyles and how theirs and ours compare when striving to live a long, healthy life.

Geography programme of study at Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

At Key Stage Three, the Geography curriculum is designed to expose students to a variety of physical and human topics where the students will utilise the geographical skills of mapping, graphicacy, numeracy, literacy and empathetic thinking.

Students will learn about local geography where possible and then expand this to look at regional, national and global examples. They will examine contrasting physical environments, developed and developing countries, global hazards and the contemporary idea of globalisation.

Each year group will cover the following key questions as they move through KS3:

Year 7 – ‘The fundamentals of Geography’

  • What are map skills?
  • What are rainforests and deserts like?
  • What is the weather?
  • How did settlements begin? How did they develop (and redevelop) from the past to today?
  • What is Japan like? How does it compare to the UK?
  • What is the geography of crime?

Year 8 – ‘Scary Geography and a growing, global world’

  • What is the physical geography of the Coast?
  • What makes an environment “extreme”?
  • How are tourism and fashion global businesses?
  • What is Russia like? How does it compare to the UK?
  • What are Natural hazards?

Year 9 – ‘Sustainable world development”

  • What is the physical and human geography of Africa?
  • What is sustainable energy?
  • What factors affect a country’s development?
  • How has the world population changed?
  • What is China like? How does it compare to the UK?
  • What makes an environment “fragile”

Geography programme of study at Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11)

At KS4, we have selected a specification (AQA) that we believe compliments the skill base and knowledge gained at KS3. The elements that we study are:

  • The challenge of natural hazards
  • The living world
  • Physical landscapes in the UK
  • Urban issues and challenges
  • The changing economic world
  • The challenge of resources management

Homework expectations

In Geography homework is an important aspect of the curriculum. This will take many forms that will revolve around exam-type questions, consolidation and revision tasks and research.

Research is a particularly common theme as students are often asked to expand on things learnt in the lesson. For example, in year 9 the students study Africa and a typical homework task would be to choose a country to research and present on.

In line with school policy, at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, students complete one piece of homework every two weeks.

How can parents and guardians support at home?

There are a range of ways in which parents and guardians can help to support their child with developing their geography knowledge and mapping skills. This can simply be taking an interest in topics studied and explored or supporting with homework tasks.

Parents also have an important role in helping support with revision. Teachers will incorporate effective revision strategies into their teaching, particularly at KS4, but we are always grateful for the support offered at home to reinforce techniques.

Parents and Guardians can support at home through accessing some useful websites aimed at their children. Some of these are listed below:

BBC Bitesize –

National Geographic –

Royal Geographical Society –

Enrichment  opportunities

An important element of Ridgeway 360 is developing the experience that our students have while at secondary school. Geography Department are fully committed to enrich the curriculum beyond the classroom. Examples of how we do this are:

  • Year 9 residential trip to look at the south coast of England
  • Year 10 settlement study on Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Year 11 local rivers study
  • Whole school events like Fair Trade week
  • Other opportunities such as guest speakers, competitions and clubss