Sir Graham Balfour School

A member of the Sir Graham Balfour Multi-Academy Trust


Subject overview

“Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future” This quote from Michael Palin perfectly sums up the role which Geography fulfils at Sir Graham Balfour School. Our aim is to inform students about the range of challenges which face our planet in the 21st century and how they can be addressed. Each unit of work from Y7 through to Y13 is divided into three key areas where students will firstly investigate the human and physical causes of these challenges before developing an understanding of the problems and issues these will create. In the final section of each unit students will investigate how each challenge can be managed and what solutions are available to solve the problems being created. By following this structure through the enquiry based approach to learning it is the hope of the Geography Department that the students we teach will develop the ability to think critically about problems and issues and find solutions to them as well as become global citizens able to make a positive contribution to our planet in the 21st century.


Exam Specification – EDEXCEL Geography

Area of Study 1: Dynamic Landscapes

Tectonic Processes and Hazards – Investigating in detail the causes of tectonic hazards and how they can be managed through well planned responses and effective mitigation and adaptation strategies

Coastal Landscapes and Change – Investigating how coastal processes shape our country and produce distinctive landscapes which are becoming increasingly threatened by physical processes and human activity leading to the need for sustainable management

Area of Study 2: Dynamic Places

Globalisation – Investigating how and why globalisation continues to accelerate and change the world for both good and bad, creating opportunities and challenges.

Regenerating Places – Investigating the strategies used to regenerate both urban and rural areas of the UK in the face of significant economic and political change over the last 30 years.

Area of Study 3: Physical Systems and Sustainability

Water Cycle and Water Insecurity – Investigating the vital role water plays in supporting life on earth through the water cycle and how physical and human processes are causing change and creating water insecurity on a global and local level.

Carbon Cycle and Energy Security – Investigating why a balanced carbon cycle is vital for maintaining planetary health and how human activity, particularly energy generation, has changed the balance of the cycle and resulted in threats to future energy security.

Area of Study 4: Human Systems and Geopolitics

SuperPowers – Investigate the current and future global geopolitical situation in the world, how countries develop superpower status and how they impact on the global economy, global politics and the environment.

Health, Human Rights and Intervention – Investigate the patterns of life expectancy, health provision and human rights around the globe and understand the reasons for these variations before considering how governments and international organisation intervene to improve these areas in countries around the world.

Independent Investigation

Students are required to complete an independent investigation of between 3000 and 4000 words. Students define the question or issue within the content of the specification and based on the fieldwork days that will be undertaken during the summer of Y12.


Exam Board – AQA Geography

Brief overview of modules studied.  This should be no more than 100 words for each individual module.

1. Is Nigeria bridging the development gap?

Applying what we learnt about development and Nigeria in Y9 to investigate if the strategies being used in Nigeria are being successful at bridging the development gap for the people living in the country.

2. How do urban areas create challenges and opportunities?

Investigating global patterns of urbanisation and the opportunities and challenges presented by the growth of urban areas in the UK and in developing countries.

3. How is the UK’s landscape shaped by physical processes?

Investigating how the physical landscape of the UK has been shaped over time by key process of erosion, weathering and mass movement associated with Rivers and the Sea.

4. Is the UK prepared for a post-industrial economy?

Investigating how economic activity has changed over time in the UK, the consequences of these changes for our country and if the UK is ready for these changes.

5. Is the world facing a resource crisis?

Investigating the challenges faced by our planet and the people on it in terms of supplying and using key resources such as food, water and energy.

6. How do Natural hazards threaten people and places?

Investigating the causes and consequences of volcanoes, earthquakes and the potential management options available. Investigating the causes and consequences of meteorological hazards such as Tropical Storms and Drought and long term hazards such as Climate Change.

7. How are Human activities threatening the living world?

Investigating the key features of both small UK ecosystem and major global biomes such as Tropical Rainforests, how they operate, why they are important and how they are under threat.

8. Issues analysis and fieldwork skills.

Students will be assessed on their Geographical skills in areas of issue analysis and decision making as well as essential fieldwork skills.

Year 9

Brief overview of modules studied.  This should be no more than 100 words for each individual module.

  1. How can variations in global development be reduced?

An investigation into why our planet contains such significant disparities in level of development and why some countries and regions appear to have developed slowly compared to others before looking at the range of solutions that are available to try and reduce these disparities.

  1. How do Tectonic Hazards threaten people and property?

An investigation into the causes of tectonic hazards, specifically earthquakes, and the impacts earthquakes have when they strike places including an investigation into how these impacts vary between earthquakes striking High Income Countries such as Japan and those striking Low Income Countries such as Haiti. Students will then investigate the strategies that are available to people and places in order to reduce the impacts of Earthquakes.

  1. Is TNC investment good for Nigeria?

An investigation into the rate of economic development in Nigeria as an example of a Newly Emerging Economy looking specifically at its, location, history and connections with other places in the world to understand what may have caused it to develop at a slower rate. Students will then look at the impact of investment by Transnational Corporations such as Shell and Unilever into Nigeria to assess whether this investment has been good or bad for the country.

Year 8

Brief overview of modules studied.  This should be no more than 100 words for each individual module.

1. Can Mega Cities be sustainable?

AN investigation into the factors that have caused urban areas to grow over time and in particular how some urban areas have grown to become Mega Cities creating a wide range of challenged for the people who live in them. In particular students will focus on the challenges posed by slum development in Low Income Country mega cities such as Dharavi in India and investigate how some of these challenges are attempting to be addressed.

2. How does the Weather of the UK cause risks?

An investigation into the weather patterns of the UK and why the UK receives the weather that it does before an in-depth investigation into the extreme weather events which affect the UK such as flooding and storms and how these impact on people. Students will then look at how the UK government and people living in the UK can better prepare for extreme weather events in order to reduce the level of risk.

3. How does Economic Activity change over time?

An investigation into how economic activity in the UK has changed over time from a pre-Industrial to a post industrial economy and how this change has affected the lives of people living the UK creating both opportunities and challenges. Students will then look at how global processes such as globalisation have affected the UK’s economy and how the impacts of these processes can be managed to make the UK’s economy successful.

4. How do Human Actions threaten the planet?

An investigation into how people are causing challenges for our planet such as plastic waste in the oceans and food miles in order to understand the problems and issues caused by these actions. Students will then investigate how people can take individual actions to address these issues.

Year 7

Brief overview of modules studied.  This should be no more than 100 words for each individual module.

  1. Is economic change good for Cambodia?

An investigation into what makes Cambodia a distinctive country and how it compares to the UK in terms of key geographical features such as population distribution and economic development. Students will then develop an understanding of the challenges facing Cambodia has it develops with a particular focus on the benefits and drawback of Chinese investment into Cambodia.

  1. How do Physical and Human processes create risk?

An investigation into how volcanic activity is created by tectonic processes and then how these volcanic eruptions create a range of risk for people and places. Students will then look at how we can manage the hazards created by volcanic activity in order to reduce the level of risk.

  1. How does migration create opportunities and challenges?

An investigation into the causes of migration, including push and pull factors, in order to understand why people may migrate from one place to another and the consequences this has for both the people who are migrating as well as the places where people migrate to. Students will then look at how countries such as the USA are attempting to control migration into their country.

  1. Are we experiencing a Climate Crisis?

AN investigation into how human activity is causing climate change and threatening our planet and how can these threats be reduced? Students will then look at the consequences of climate change and a range of strategies including individual action can offer solutions.



Sir Graham Balfour School
North Avenue
ST16 1NR

For Sat Nav directions:

ST16 1NJ


01785 223490