What really is global warming? Why has London developed as it has? Why are the Maldives moving its population? What will happen when Yellowstone erupts? Why can culture clashes lead to terrorism? Who creates Places? What is ocean acidification?


Geography encompasses such a broad range of skills and subject matter that it links to almost every decision you make. Developing your ability to understand social, political and environmental challenges is the core of the subject; the answers Geography provides will give you an understanding of how the world may look beyond your time at Gresham’s.

Geography is the study of place, space & the environment. It is unique in bridging the social sciences (Human Geography – exploration of societies, people & cultures) & the earth sciences (Physical Geography – understanding of physical landscapes & environmental processes). It helps us to understand the relationships and impacts between people: the environment and its resources. Through an understanding of these issues Geography enables us to contribute widely to the social, economic, political & environmental challenges which will shape your future.

Beyond Gresham’s, Geography is rated by universities as one of eight facilitating subjects (ones that are preferred by universities). It also has a high rate of employment on graduation, in a wide range of employment sectors too. We are very eager to support pupils considering a Geography (or related discipline) at University.

At Gresham’s our syllabuses engage pupils with contemporary and topical themes which are linked to the real world environment (both domestically and internationally) through case studies.

We currently follow:

An in house built curriculum for the Michaelmas & Lent Terms in Year 9.

AQA GCSE Course [Year 9 Summer, Year 10 & Year 11]

CAMBRIDGE I-A LEVEL Course [Sixth Form]

IB Geography [Sixth Form]

Year 9 Geography:

Geography in Year 9 is about pupils enjoying approaching new topics, material and concepts whilst upskilling pupils so they’re ready to tackle the rigour of GCSE. Pupils will have come from different Geographical backgrounds and thus part of this year is about getting pupils to the same level.

A brief overview of each topic can be found below. Within each topic there is an opportunity for pupils to engage in group work; and we regularly test understanding through informal knowledge quizzes and more formal end of topic tests.

Pupils undertake a valued coursework project in the summer looking at microclimates which prepares them for some of the investigative processes which they will tackle in Years 10 and 11 if they continue with Geography through until GCSE.

TERM 1 – Locational Geography & Development

Pupils are exposed to unusual places and build their knowledge of the principle themes of Physical and Human Geography. They will explore the reasons why countries vary in levels of development; the causes and implications of this. There is a focus on Geographical Skills (cartographic, graphical and image based work) too.

TERM 2 – The Fundamentals of Geology

This is a new topic for 2019/20. Pupils explore the rock cycle, the three main categories of rock, the properties of these rocks, and landforms which result from weathering, mass movement, erosion and deposition. Pupils explore the Geology of Norfolk, exposing them to some more local Geography surrounding Gresham’s school.

TERM 3 – Weather & Associated Hazards (Including microclimates fieldwork)

Pupils will explore the basics of how weather is measured and the principle theory of urban and rural microclimates. We start the GCSE syllabus in this term, with a small and exciting topic on weather hazards (e.g. tropical storms) and the climate/weather of the UK.

Year 10 & 11 GCSE Geography:

We follow the AQA GCSE syllabus.

Syllabus Link:

Course Overview:

Paper 1*  35% of GCSE The challenge of natural hazards, The living world, Physical landscapes in the UK.

  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 88 marks (including 3 marks for spelling, punctuation, grammar and specialist terminology [SPaG]
Paper 2* 35% of GCSE Urban issues and challenges, The changing economic world, The challenge of resource management

  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 88 marks (including 3 marks for SPaG)
Paper 3* 30% of GCSE Issue evaluation [Pre Release Booklet] & Fieldwork

  • Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • 76 marks (including 6 marks for SPaG)
  • Pre-release resources booklet made available 12 weeks before

*Geographical Skills are examined throughout all three papers.

How the course is delivered at Gresham’s:

Year 10 topics: Tectonic hazards, Climate change, Tropical Rainforests and Hot Deserts. Coastal and River landscapes in the UK.

Fieldwork Project: Local coastal fieldwork on the North Norfolk coastline.

Year 11 topics: Urban issues and Challenges, The changing Economic world, Food, Water and Energy Resource management.
Fieldwork Project: Local urban fieldwork in Norwich.

There is no formal coursework project which is submitted as part of their final grade. Instead, the coursework component is assessed through questions in the Paper 3 exam. The fieldwork is assessed in ‘unseen’ fieldwork as well as questions based on the fieldwork they completed in Year 10 and 11.

OPTION 1: Year 12 & 13 A level Geography:

Pupils can choose between A Level & IB at Sixth Form.

We follow the Cambridge International A level.

Syllabus Link:

Course Overview:

Paper 1* 25% of I-A Level Core Physical Geography

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Section A: Three data response questions (30 marks)
  • Section B: One structured question from a choice of three (30 marks)

TOTAL 60 marks

Paper 2* 25% of I-A Level Core Human Geography

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Section A: Three data response questions (30 marks)
  • Section B: One structured questions from a choice of three (30 marks)

TOTAL 60 marks

Paper 3* 25% of I-A Level Advanced Physical Geography Options

-1 hour 30 minutes

-Candidate answer questions on two of the optional topics. Each topic consists of one structured question (10 marks) and choice of essay questions (20 morks).

TOTAL 60 marks.

Paper 4* 25% I-A Level Advanced Human Geography Options

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Candidate answer questions on two of the optional topics. Each topic consists of one structured questions (10 marks) and a choice of essay questions (20 marks)

TOTAL 60 marks

*Geographical Skills are examined throughout all three papers.

How the course is delivered at Gresham’s:

There is no written/examined coursework project, however, fieldwork opportunities are utilised to help facilitate the delivery of the course.

Year 12 topics: Population, Migration, Settlement, Hydrology and Fluvial Geomorphology, Atmosphere and weather, Plate tectonics, Rocks and weathering, and Slope processes.

Fieldwork Project: London & Urban Change

Year 13 topics: Environmental Management, Economic Transition, Hazardous environments, Coastal environments

Fieldwork Project: Holkham Sand Dunes

OPTION 2: IB Diploma Geography:

Pupils can choose between A Level & IB at Sixth Form.

New syllabus (2019)

Syllabus Link:

Course Overview:

Pupils can choose to opt for Standard Level (SL) or Higher Level (HL):

Type of Assessment


Format of Assessment Topics

[HL in BOLD]

 Weighting of Final Grade
Paper 1 Each option has a structured question and one extended answer question from a choice of two.
  • Freshwater
  • Oceans & Coastal Margins
  • Geophysical Hazards
SL: 35%

HL: 35%

Paper 2 Three structured questions, based on each SL/HL core unit. Infographic or visual stimulus, with structured questions. One extended answer question from a choice of two.
  • Population distribution; changing population.
  • Global climate; vulnerability and resilience.
  • Global resource consumption and security
SL: 40%



Paper 3

[HL only]

Choice of three extended answer questions, with two parts, based on each HL core extension unit.
  • Power, places and networks
  • Human development and diversity
  • Global risks and resilience



HL: 20%

Independent Assessment [Internal] One written report based on fieldwork question from any suitable syllabus topic, information collection, and analysis with evaluation.

At Gresham’s, we do fieldwork based on the local river Glaven.

SL: 25%

HL: 20%

How the course is delivered at Gresham’s:

Year 12: The Global Climate, Population, Freshwater and Oceans topics are covered from Paper 1 & 2. Pupils start the IA, which must be completed by the October Half Term of Year 13. Those opting for HL will cover two of the three topics during the Summer Term alongside the IA.

Fieldwork Project: The river Glaven

Year 13: Those completing SL will have a little more time to complete the IA, otherwise the remaining topics are covered along with a comprehensive revision programme.

Co-curricular activities:

Electives & Enrichment

We run a series of slots each week so pupils can gain access to further support (whether this be skilled based, exam technique or around content). These run each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday [4.30pm – 5.30pm] and there is a schedule of specific topics for GCSE support too.

After chapel on a Saturday pupils can also drop in to the department to catch up on work missed during the week; or get 1:1 support.

Geography Society

Our Geography Society is led by the Geography Committee which is comprised of members of the Sixth Form who are considering studying for a Geography Degree. As part of this group pupils help to shape the annual programme, ensuring there is a good spread of lectures, activities, trips and events for all age groups.

This year we have attended several Royal Geographical Society (RGS) lectures at Norwich, as well as hosted talks at Gresham’s including one from our very own Mr Pitcher on the Oak Tree.

WorldWise Quiz

We are hosting the Norfolk/East Anglia WorldWise Quiz this academic year; and regularly enter teams into this event. This is aimed at our Year 9 pupils and is generally around their locational knowledge, both in the UK and wider afield.


The Geography Department runs international trips in order to provide opportunities for pupils to experience Geography in the real world and to expand their thinking.

We tend to run a trip abroad every three years, to Iceland, during the October half term, open to Years 9 to 13. The tour includes: Secret Lagoon, Gullfoss, Geyser Geothermal Area, Thingvellir National Park, Kerið Crater, Lava Centre, Sólheimajökull Glacier, Reynishverfi Beach, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Plant, Hveragerdi and Reykjavik.

The department is currently looking into cross-curricular trips with other academic departments in the next few years too.

Geography Staff:

(Mr) Philip Pitcher

Philip graduated from The University of Reading in 2011, with a BSc (Hons) in Physical Geography before returning to complete an MSc in Environmental Management through the Agriculture Department. For a time after this, Philip undertook some research through the Forestry Commission looking at how to adapt woodlands to a changing climate. In 2012 he took a post at Oundle School, near Peterborough, teaching Geography. During his time at Oundle he gained his PGCE and QTS through the University of Buckingham. In addition, he held several posts of responsibility running Football, Head of Third Form, Head of Geography, and a Deputy Housemaster as well as coordinating several international trips and the Gold D of E Award. Philip splices his interest and love for Biogeography and Geology through the outdoors; and is a regular hiker in the Scottish Highlands and wider European ranges. Philip joined Gresham’s as Head of Department in September 2019.

 (Mr) Dominic Atkinson

Dominic graduated from Durham University with a BA (Hons) in 2003 and completed a PGCE at the Institute of Education in 2004/05. He started teaching at St Dunstan’s College, London, where we was appointed Head of Geography in his second year. At Gresham’s, Dominic is now Housemaster for Farfield, Assistant Head Co-Curricular and Master in charge of Cricket. Previously, he  led the Geography Department for five years and was in charge of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Dominic is a Chartered Geographer and writes regularly for different companies and organisations. His interests include development and urban geography in particular. Dominic joined Gresham’s in 2009.

(Miss) Sophie King

Sophie graduated from Loughborough University in 2008 with a BSc in Geography having specialised in Human Geography. After graduating she completed a year at Headington School for Girls in Oxfordshire as a graduate boarding assistant where her interest in boarding life and pastoral care was ignited. Sophie knew teaching was for her and returned to university to complete a PGCE in secondary Geography at the University of Nottingham, 2009-2010, during which time she had an article published in the GA publication ‘Teaching Geography’. During her time at Gresham’s she has been an Assistant Housemistress in Oakeley House for two years, where she is still a tutor, and currently works with Simon Kinder as new staff coordinator and a member of the staff welfare committee. She is passionate about environmental issues and aims to inspire greater environmental awareness and sustainability in the pupils she teaches. Sophie joined Gresham’s in 2010.

 (Mr) Daniel Majid

Dan started his career in the Army but was injured by an IED whilst serving in Afghanistan which led him to a career in teaching. Dan has trained to climb Mt Everest (and got to around 6,200m before the expedition was called off) and combined this experience and his love of the environment to inspire the next generation. He gained his QTS in Leeds and has worked in a range of schools, including QEGS in Wakefield. As well as teaching geography, Dan is committed to extra-curricular activities that involve getting outside, such as D of E, CCF and various sports. Dan joined Gresham’s in January 2020.