Bishop Rawstorne Church of England Academy

Key Stage 4 Geography

Key Stage Four Geography

Students must choose to study either Geography or History as one of their GCSE options. It is of course possible for students to study both History and Geography, and this is an increasingly popular choice.

The amount of curriculum time each week is two or three hours throughout year ten and eleven, depending on class setting. In Year 9 from September 2017 it is always 2 hours per week.

Is it right for me?

The study of Geography stimulates an interest in and a sense of wonder about places and will help you make sense of a complex and changing world. Geography is a highly valued subject as it prepares you to become team workers, active participants, independent and creative thinkers and makes you more aware of the world in which you live. It is a key English Baccalaureate subject and seen as one of the key “facilitating subjects” by the Russell Group of top universities. If you have enjoyed Geography at Key Stage 3 and are enthusiastic to learn about the world in which you live, then Geography could be the subject for you.

What do I need to know, or be able to do, before taking this course?

There are no special qualifications required however we would like students to be prepared to have a motivated approach to their studies as a hard working attitude to tasks will ensure maximum enjoyment and success.

How will I be assessed?

With the recent major changes across all GCSEs, we have chosen to develop a new course to deliver from September 2016 leading to the examination based on syllabus A by Edexcel. The course will help you to:

  • Develop a knowledge and understanding of current events from the local to the global area;
  • Develop a holistic understanding of geography
  • Apply your knowledge and understanding to real-life 21st century UK challenges;
  • Investigate the Earth and its peoples;
  • Study the features of the Earth, mountains, rivers and seas and how they are formed;
  • Understand other cultures in the UK and across the world;
  • Develop a range of skills which include map reading, data collection, ICT and problem solving;
  • Go on two field trips, collect data in the field, then analyse and present your findings.

In line with all subjects Geography assessment will be linear to ensure that all GSCE examinations are taken at the end of the course.

Students are now examined on three written papers – there is no controlled assessment.

Component 1 – The Physical Environment (90 minutes, worth 37.5% of the GCSE)

  • The changing landscapes of the UK (including rivers and glaciated upland landscapes)
  • Weather hazards and climate change
  • Ecosystems, biodiversity and management

Component 2 – The Human Environment (90 minutes, worth 37.5% of the GCSE)

  • Changing cities
  • Global development
  • Resource management (including energy)

Both these exams include multiple-choice questions, short open, open response, calculations and 8-mark extended writing questions.

Component 3 – Geographical Investigations: Fieldwork and UK Challenges (90 minutes, worth 25% of the GCSE)

  • Geographical investigations – fieldwork
  • Geographical investigations – UK challenges

This exam includes multiple-choice questions, short open, open response, calculations and 8-mark and 12-mark extended writing questions.


From 2017 a variety of experiences will be made open to you, including a trip to the Lake District to study the results of glaciation during the last Ice Age; a compulsory visit to the West Pennine Moors to complete rivers fieldwork, and a compulsory visit to Manchester to complete urban fieldwork. An optional enrichment visit to Iceland to study rivers, glaciation, geothermal energy and plate tectonics runs in the summer of Year 10.


Homework is set regularly as part of the GCSE course. It is used to build upon the work done in lessons and as practice for answering GCSE questions.


At the end of each unit of work students sit an internal end-of-unit exam, the results of these and the associated feedback and improvement work can be found in each student’s folder. These help form the basis for tracking reports as exam technique is monitored across years 9-11.