Head of Department

Mrs R Wainwright 

Teaching staff

Mrs H Keelan-Edwards

Mrs N Colville-Robins

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Aims of the department:

The study of geography at Ripon Grammar School gives all students the opportunity to:

  • Acquire knowledge and understanding of a range of places, environments and geographical patterns from local to global, as well as an understanding of the physical and human processes, including decision-making, which affect their development;
  • Develop a sense of place and an appreciation of the environment, as well as awareness of the ways in which people and environments interact, the importance of sustainable development in those interactions, and the opportunities, challenges and constraints that face people in different places;
  • Develop an understanding of global citizenship and the ways in which places and environments are interdependent;
  • Appreciate that the study of geography is dynamic, not only because places, geographical features and issues change, but also because new ideas and methods lead to new interpretations;
  • Understand the significance of people’s values and attitudes, including their own, in how decisions are made about the use and management of environments and resources, in relation to geographical issues and questions;
  • Acquire and apply the skills and techniques – including those of map work, fieldwork and ICT – needed to conduct geographical study and enquiry.

Summary of subject content:

Lower School (KS3)

First year

Mrs Wainwright, talking from her home in lockdown, explains why studying geography at RGS is so exciting:

Map Skills

Exploring Britain


Exploring Africa

Weather and Climate

Rocks and Soils

Second Year


Hot and Cold Landscapes 

Polar and Desert

Globalisation- India

Industry and economic activity


Aerial and marine

Use of natural resources – Energy - link to climate change

Russia and Middle East

Third Year

Plate Tectonics

Water security and management across our planet


Upper School (KS4/GCSE)

Fourth and Fifth forms:

Unit 1: Living with the physical environment

  • Topics studied:
  • Section A: The challenge of natural hazards: Tectonic, Weather and Climate
  • Section B: The living world: Ecosystems, Tropical Rainforest and Hot Deserts

Section C: Physical landscapes in the UK: Coasts and Rivers

Unit 2: Challenges in the human environment

Topics studied:

  • Section A: Urban issues and challenges
  • Section B: The changing economic world
  • Section C: The challenge of resource management: Water

Unit 3: Geographical Application

Critical thinking and problem-solving element of the course designed to examine your understanding and application of topics studied.

Fieldwork: 2 fieldwork days in two contrasting areas.

Full syllabus links for examination classes can be found here

Exam board: AQA GCSE Specification

A revision guide is available

Lower Sixth 

Topic: Dynamic Landscapes: Tectonic Processes

Topic 2: Coastal Landscapes and Change

Topic 3: Dynamic Places: Globalisation

Topic 4A: Regenerating Places

Upper Sixth 

Topic 5: The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity

Topic 6: The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security

Topic 7: Human Systems and Geopolitics: Superpowers

Topic 8: Global Development and Connections; Migration, Identity and Sovereignty.

Fur days of fieldwork will take place during the A Level course to fulfil the requirements of the A Level.   Two days are offered in Year 12, to Leeds and Hornsea and two days are offered at the start of Year 13, to Liverpool and Formby.  These areas are contrasting landscapes and are essential to complete the course.

Non-examination assessment: Independent Investigation (9GE0/04) Non-examined assessment which is 20% of the qualification and based on 70 marks. This is based on two days of fieldwork in Liverpool and Formby.

A level examination format:

Paper 1 (Paper code: 9GE0/01) Written examination: 2 hours and 15 minutes making up 30% of the qualification / 105 marks on Topic 1, 2, 5 & 6

Paper 2 (Paper code: 9GE0/02) Written examination: 2 hours and 15 minutes making up 30% of the qualification / 105 marks on Topics 3, 4A, 7 & 8

Paper 3 (*Paper code: 9GE0/03) Written examination: 2 hours and 15 minutes making up 20% of the qualification / 70 marks based on Issue Evaluation

Full syllabus links for examination classes can be found

Exam board: AQA A level specification

Revision guides are available.


There is no setting in geography. Students in KS3 are taught in form groups; at KS4 and 5, groups are allocated according to timetabling dependent upon students’ choices.

Revision sessions

Six weeks prior to examination dates students will be issued with a revision session timetable (which is also published on the website). All revision sessions are voluntary for students to attend and take place at lunchtime.

Field trips

The department hosts a number of field trips to enhance students’ learning.

First Form: Students in the first term complete a half day field work investigation in the local area visiting Ripon market Place and the Cathedral area.

Second form: A one-day trip to the Holderness Coast to investigate coastal erosion and management, in the summer term;

Third form; A one day fieldtrip to a city.

Fourth form: Students have the option of attending a summer residential field trip to Sorrento, Italy. The trip includes excursions to Mt Vesuvius, Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Amalfi Coast.

Fifth form: A trip focused on the fieldwork skills required for the examination to York investigating the challenges and opportunities of urban living and river studies.

Lower Sixth:

Compulsory: 4 days of fieldwork; two days in March in Leeds and Hornsea and two days in the summer term in Liverpool and Formby.

Optional: Iceland five-day expedition in spring/summer term.