In Humanities we believe that the earth was provided by God and is ours to cherish. It is our goal to ensure that our pupils understand how to be good global citizens, independent thinkers and prepared for many of the social, moral and ethical challenges that we face. Humanities contributes to our learning and faith community by:

  • Studying the history and geography of the planet
  • Ensuring that our pupils are empathetic, tolerant and reflective individuals that will play a part in sharing the future of their world
  • Studying the contrasting environments of the planet to understand the links between people and the environment
  • Studying past conflicts so that they can be avoided in the future
  • Understanding the past and present experiences of different world communities and promoting tolerance
  • Encouraging pupils to develop and articulate opinions on important matters in the world.


Download Programme of Learning

Programme of Study


The Geography curriculum at Cardinal Heenan is designed to enthuse and empower pupils, giving them a broad flavour of the subject and encouraging them to be self-motivated and forward-thinking learners.  We believe that pupils’ learning should be relevant, conceptual and based on the principals of enquiry, problem solving and decision making.  These skills are crucial in preparing pupils for the demands of GCSE level learning and in their futures beyond Cardinal Heenan.  We promote and encourage the highest standards in Geography and lead pupils to become responsible global citizens.

We aim to develop pupils as independent thinkers who take charge of their own learning.


How the Geography Department actively promotes British Values through the curriculum

A culture of mutual respect is created in all classrooms within the geography department.  Pupils’ voices are all heard and valued. Controversial views are challenged in class debate. This includes tolerating those of different faiths and beliefs, especially when studying traditions and cultures in different countries and views about migration.

The concept of democracy is addressed by the ‘Unfair World’ unit in year 8 and the Population Changes study in the Key Stage 4 course. In these studies pupils gain an understanding of the importance of the democratic voice in the development of a country.


Year 7

Autumn Term: Sense of Place, a study of our local area and skill development

The purposes of this module are

  • to stimulate an interest in and a sense of wonder about places;
  • to develop pupils’ ‘geographical imaginations’ of places on a variety of scales
  • to develop pupils’ understanding of the physical and human characteristics of places.

The key concept is space, knowing where places and landscapes studied are located and why they are there, in terms the physical and human processes that have created, changed and sustained them.

Places studied within the unit include:

  • Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean
  • Death Valley, a desert valley in Eastern California, the lowest, driest, and hottest area in North America.
  • Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire

Spring Term: Watery World, a study of how water and weather can affect our lives

  • What causes rain
  • Why rivers flood
  • Why the UK experiences flooding and its impact on both people and the environment
  • The cause and effect of tropical storms
  • Water as a resource.  Commodity or right?

Summer Term: Exploring India

In this country case study pupils will learn about and develop their understanding of the geography of India.

  • Everything comes from India?  Exploring existing viewpoints and knowledge of India
  • Extreme environments?  A look at the varied environments within India
  • A tale of two children – Looking at contrasting rural and urban lifestyles
  • Global power?  An investigation in the city of Bangalore and its place in the global economy


Year 8 

Autumn Term: Global Issues – An investigation into current issues affecting people and the environment in the 21st century

  • The threats which face our planet
  • The cause and effects of overpopulation
  • The cause and effects of malnutrition
  • global warming - causes, effects and solutions

Spring Term: Life on another Island – A study of the similarities and contrasts between the UK and Japan

  • The physical features and landscapes of Japan.
  • Comparing life on an island (cultural comparisons)
  • How does Japan deal with the issue of space.
  • Why do earthquakes occur?
  • Tsunami troubles – Case study 2011
  • When does an earthquake become a disaster?  Factors which affect the impacts; how to reduce impacts

Summer Term:  Unfair World – A study of the global development gap

  • What is development?
  • How do we measure development?
  • Where does the gap come from?
  • Location, location, location - The impact of globalisation in less economically developed countries (LEDCs) – a focus on the global fashion industry
  • Closing the gap – aid, millennium development goals (MDGs) and fairer trade.


Years 10 and 11

Geography is a diverse subject which is relevant to all who live on Earth.  The subject links to learning in a variety of other curriculum areas (especially science, history and mathematics) and many career choices.  GCSE Geography encompasses a variety of skills, including ICT, mapping, graphing, empathy, interpretation of data and geographical information systems (GIS).

Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future. Michael Palin

Pupils follow the AQA examining body’s GCSE Geography Specification A

Physical geography:

  • The Restless Earth – A study of plate tectonics.
  • Living World – A study of global ecosystems.
  • The Coastal Zone – A study of local and global coastal regions

Human geography:

  • Population Change – A study of population theory and real-life population policies
  • Tourism – A study of the global tourism industry
  • Changing Urban Environments – A study of urbanisation and the impact of this global trend on both the developed and developing world


Pupils start the GCSE course in Year 9 and complete a combination of both physical and human geography units each year.  They also gain experience of fieldwork which helps to support them in the completion of the controlled assessment, a fieldwork-based study.

Examples of previous fieldwork investigations carried out by our GCSE pupils include:

  • York – Is York a popular tourist destination?
  • Grassington – Does tourism have a negative impact on the honeypot site of Grassington?
  • Hornsea – Do the coastal management schemes at Hornsea slow down the process of longshore drift?
  • Leeds – Does central business district of Leeds fit the traditional Burgess Model?


GCSE Geography


Paper 1 - Percentage of total mark 35%

Written exam - 1 hour 30 minutes

  • The challenge of natural hazards
  • The living world
  • Physical landscapes in the UK


Paper 2 - Percentage of total mark 35%

Written exam - 1 hour 30 minutes

  • Urban issues and challenges
  • The changing economic world
  • The challenge of resource management


Paper 3 - Percentage of total mark 30%

Written exam - 1 hour 15 minutes

Pre-release booklet made available 12 weeks before the Paper 3 exam.

  • Issue evaluation
  • Fieldwork
  • Geographical skills


The role of fieldwork

Fieldwork will be assessed through examination only. It will comprise 15% of the total assessment weighting (of which 5% is
allocated to skills and 10% allocated to application).

Pupils taking GCSE geography will be required to have had experiences of fieldwork undertaken in two contrasting environments.


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