Oxford Academy


The Geography department prides itself on offering a high quality learning experience for students throughout their time with us. It is a very popular subject in Key Stage 3, with many opting for further study in KS4.   

Facilities: Each dedicated Geography classroom has a suite of laptops with access to the latest software and GIS programmes. Classrooms are fitted with fully functioning interactive whiteboards.

Curriculum Structure

Year Hours per fortnight
  7 2
  8 2
  9 5
10 5
11 5
6th Form We do not currently offer Geography as a 6th Form subject but expect to in the near future.

We live in a world of amazing beauty, infinite complexity and rigorous challenge. Geography is the subject which opens the door to this dynamic world and prepares each one of us for the role of global citizen in the 21st century.

Nelson Mandela.

Foundation Courses:

Year 7

In Geography, students will develop their existing numeracy and literacy skills focusing on local and national scales through the topics taught culminating in an exploration of our role in Europe.  The emphasis is upon providing stimulating lessons that enthuse and inspire students and ensure every student can access Geography and make good or better progress. Assessment is varied with unseen formal exams, investigative report writing, decision making exercises and a fieldwork investigation.  

Unit of study Topics taught
1 Map skills for living – What is my place in the world?
2 Investigating our local environment – What is it like around my school?
3 Investigating our coastline
4 Is tourism a good thing for Oxford?
5 Is river flooding an issue in Oxford?
6 Our role in Europe.
Optional topic This is an opportunity for students to undertake an independent research project of their choice during the summer term.
In the past students have used this time to explore a Unit studied in more detail or to find out more about what really interests them in geography.
Fieldwork This will be ongoing within the school grounds. There will be a combined French and Geography trip at a yet to be confirmed date after Easter 2016.

Year 8

The emphasis is to grow established numeracy and literacy skills and develop aptitude further with lessons offering increasing levels of stretch and challenge to prepare students for Key Stage 4 should they choose Geography for further study at GCSE level. There is a significant shift away from local and national perspectives toward a more global outlook examining countries at different levels of development to the UK.  Lessons are increasingly delivered to encourage independent learning and as in Year 7 assessment is varied with unseen formal exams, investigative report writing, decision making exercises and a fieldwork investigation.

Unit of study Topics taught
1 Crime – A local, national and global problem.
2 Living with hazards like earthquakes and volcanoes.
3 Wasteful World – impacts of rubbish and recycling.
4 Population study – What will the future be like for us?
5 How does the weather affect people around the world? Collaborating on an environmental project with our link school in Ghana.
6 The role of China in our world – the benefits and disadvantages.
Optional topic

This is an opportunity for students to undertake a Decision Making Exercise of their choice from existing issues or new issues that arise.
In the past students have used this time to find out more about what really interests them about geography that may not be covered in the Programme of Study.

Fieldwork This will be ongoing within the school grounds and local community.


Exam board: WJEC, GCSE Geography A

Assessment: There is an unseen written external examination for each of the three components taken in Year 11 at the end of the course. There is a foundation and higher tier exam paper, with a differentiated paper for those students who have a documented moderate learning need.

Students can choose to study Geography as an Option in Year 8 for further study in Year 9. It is desirable that students have a minimum attainment of Level 4.5 in English, Maths and be at least a Silver standard learner for them to successfully access the course and to make their expected progress in Key Stage 4.

There are 3 components to the course:

1 - Changing physical and human landscapes. 1 hour 30 minutes, examination.

2 – Environmental and development issues. 1 hour 30 minutes, examination.

3 – An applied fieldwork enquiry. 1 hour 15 minutes, examination.

Year 9 course structure

Term Topics covered
1 Component 3 - Fieldwork enquiry.
2 Component 1 - Distinctive landscapes of the UK and landform process and change.
3 Component 1 - The river drainage basin and distinctive landscapes beyond the UK.
4 Component 1 - The rural/urban continuum and population change within the UK.
5 Component 1 – The process of change in UK towns and cities and the issues in the developing world.
6 Component 1 – Tectonic activity and hazard reduction.
Fieldwork Coastal investigation at Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove in the summer term.

Year 10 course structure

Term Topics covered
1 Component 1 - Managing coastal hazards.
2 Component 3 - Fieldwork enquiry
3 Component 2 - Climate change and weather patterns.
4 Component 2 - Human impacts on ecosystems for good or bad. Collaborating on an environmental project with our link school in Ghana.
5 Component 2 - Development and the effects of globalisation around the world.
6 Component 2 - Economic growth and regional development.
Fieldwork There will be an opportunity to combine with Modern Foreign Languages on a trip to France or Spain. As a department we will carry a fieldwork enquiry in Oxfordshire.

Year 11 course structure

Term Topics covered
1 Component 2 – Environmental challenges from climate change
2 Component 2 – Restoration of damaged environments.
3 Component 3 – Fieldwork enquiry
4 Preparation for external assessment.
5 Preparation for external assessment.
6 Preparation for external assessment.
Fieldwork This is within the schools grounds and local community.

Higher prior attainment (HPA) provision in the Geography department

Key Stage 3

All students follow a programme of short topics that are assessed in different ways. Year 7 and 8 HPA students have an opportunity to attend a one day research task to carry out an investigation that is topical in our local area, the project can be as in depth as the students likes. The students develop their literacy and numeracy skills to support excellence in geography. We encourage pupils to continue and submit these projects in their own time. They will be marked and one-to-one feedback is provided.

The projects have been carefully designed to target the key skills required not just for GCSE but also, relevantly pitched, for A-Level. The skills covered by the investigation include: Independent research, evaluation, analysis, drawing conclusions and synoptic thinking. These are considered valuable transferable skills for other subjects.

Key Stage 4

At GCSE, students have the chance to develop their skills further and learn about the subject in more depth. This will enable them to include more detail in both their controlled assessments and exam papers. The WJEC Geography A specification is ideally suited to offer stretch and challenge for more able students as they can take the higher paper route to A*. Much of the out of school learning is task based around web research in to the topics being studied, by completing a variety of tasks that use geographical skills and analysis.

Geography on the Net to support your child at home





No special equipment is needed to successfully complete the course, but there are some small course costs for fieldwork, but these will be no more than £20.00.

Should you wish to know more please contact the Head of Geography, Brad Rayner via email: brad.rayner@theoxfordacademy.org