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Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School

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Many of the world’s current issues, globally and locally, are the result of Geography. Geographers help us to understand issues such as climate change, food and energy security, soil degradation, Geopolitics, spread of disease, causes and consequences of migration, and how economic change affects places and communities. 

“Geography is a living, breathing subject. Constantly adapting itself to change. It is dynamic and relevant. For me, Geography is a great adventure with a purpose”.

Michael Palin

In Aquinas the Geography Department enables its students to:

  • Explore and examine our local and contrasting environments as well as the human impact upon them.
  • Develop a lifelong interest in the world around us.
  • Understand how natural events can impact on physical and human environments.
  • Compare countries in the developed and developing worlds and demonstrate empathy with issues that affect us as global citizens.
  • Explore the concept of sustainability at a local, regional and global scale.
  • Discuss a range of environmental issues such as the depletion of resources and climate change.
  • Analyse and interpret a wide range of secondary sources e.g., maps and photographs.
  • Use a variety of methods to present geographical information, including graphs, field sketches and ICT.
  • Engage in a range of fieldwork activities.
  • Develop a range of transferable skills valued in the world of work, including team working, problem-solving, decision-making, creative thinking and managing information; and
  • Enhance ICT skills through new technologies, including Geographical Information Systems (GIS).




Pupils explore the part they can play in shaping and protecting the environment around them. They develop a sense of place by studying relevant issues and they investigate how societies differ.

Pupils are encouraged to develop a range of geographical skills, including statistical skills, map work, enquiry and fieldwork techniques.

Topics covered at KS3

Year 8

  • What is Geography?
  • Mapskills
  • Regional Geography
  • Settlement
  • Weather and Climate
  • Fieldwork – Aquinas investigation and microclimate study

Year 9

  • Plate Tectonics
  • Rivers and Flooding
  • Population
  • Energy
  • Climate Change
  • Geography in the News

Year 10 

  • Tourism
  • Mournes region as a national park – decision-making exercise
  • Ecosystems and Biomes
  • Loss of Biodiversity
  • Migration
  • Ethnic Diversity
  • Wonders of the World



In Aquinas, GCSE students follow the CCEA Geography specification.  It is relevant in modern society and at the leading edge of technology. This course includes physical and human geography. Students also undertake fieldwork.

This qualification builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills developed through the delivery of the Northern Ireland curriculum at Key Stage 3.

The specification has three units:

Unit 1: Understanding Our Natural World (40% of total GCSE)

Unit 2: Living in Our World (40% of total GCSE)

Unit 3: Fieldwork. (20% of total GCSE)

Unit 1 has four themes covering physical geography processes and systems. Students evaluate river and coastal management strategies and the processes shaping our weather. They explore extreme weather and the forces that create earthquakes and volcanic activity. This specification is unitised, so students sit this unit at the end of year 11.

Theme A – River Environments

Theme B – Coastal Environments

Theme C – Our Changing Weather and Climate

Theme D – The Restless Earth

Unit 2 has four themes covering human geography. Students explore the challenges facing refugees, inner city issues, strategies for sustainable development, and the environmental impact of increasing consumption.

Theme A – Population and Migration

Theme B – Changing Urban Areas

Theme C – Contrasts in World Development

Theme D – Managing our Environment

In Unit 3, students apply the knowledge, understanding and skills gained Unit 1 or Unit 2 to a fieldwork investigation. In Aquinas, we undertake a river study which investigates the changing characteristics of the river with distance from the source. We investigate changes including width, depth, velocity and changes in bedload size and shape.



In Aquinas, students follow the CCEA specification both at AS and A2

AS1 – Physical Geography           

1. Fluvial Environments

2. Ecosystems

3. Weather & Climate

Weighting: 40% of AS, 16% of A Level

AS 2 – Human Geography    

1. Population

2. Rural & Urban Environments

3. Development

Weighting: 40% of AS, 16% of A Level

AS3 – Fieldwork Skills & Techniques    

Students must bring a completed fieldwork booklet as supplied by CCEA. It must include the fieldwork statement and table of data.

There are two compulsory, structured questions. For Question 1 students may be required to present, analyse, interpret and evaluate their fieldwork data and the techniques they used to collect it. For Question 2 students respond to quantitative and qualitative data from secondary sources

Weighting:   20% of AS, 8% of A Level

A21 – Physical Processes, Landforms and Management             

Option A – Plate Tectonics

Option C – Dynamic Coastal Environments

Weighting: 24% of A Level

A22 – Processes and Issues in Human Geography                      

Option C – Ethnic Diversity

Option D – Tourism

Weighting: 24% of A Level

A23 – Decision making in Geography                                               

This is a compulsory decision-making exercise in the form of a case study.

Weighting: 12% of A Level 


There has never been a more important time to use geographical knowledge and skills to pursue a career. None of the changes and challenges facing the UK and the world in the 21st century, including climate change, energy security, migration, urbanisation and globalisation, can be properly understood, let alone tackled, without geography.

This is the discipline that connects the natural and the human, the local and the global and in doing so, enables us to plan sustainably for the future. Whether your future career lies in the environmental sector, business, education, the natural or social sciences, the media, in geospatial industries or in travel, geography opens a range of choices for your future work and career. (Source: Geographical Association) Their website has further information on this


Careers in Geography

Architecture, Archaeology, Agriculture, Leisure and Tourism, Environmental Science, Meteorology, Engineering, Conservation, Charity, Teaching, Environmental and Town Planning, Surveying, Marketing, Airline pilot, Cartography, Environmental Health, Geologist, Climate Change analyst, Emergency Management Specialist, Geomorphologist, Geospatial analyst, GIS, Hydrologist, Renewable Energy Development, Oceanography, Botany, Landscape Architecture, Flood & Coastal Flood Risk Assessment, Surveyor – and more!


  • Mrs Andrea Allen – Head of Department
  • Mr Eugene Leneghan
  • Mr Declan Brophy
  • Mr Ciaran Mac Murchaidh
  • Mrs Marie Mc Cool