Geography is a dynamic subject. At Monmouth School for Girls we aim to make our classes thought-provoking and fun in order to inspire and develop girls’ understanding of the world around them. We encourage pupils to ask questions about current affairs and think about how important their lives are on a local, national and global scale.  Enquiry is at the very heart of the subject and this is demonstrated by the extensive fieldwork programme offered to all year groups. Lessons include role-play, ICT, map skills and atlas work and the subject is a popular subject at GCSE and A level. The department also organises trips to Iceland and Morocco.


Years 7-9

We believe that Geography taught in Years 7-9 should inspire our pupils to learn more about the world in which they live.  Geography can deliver vital life skills enabling pupils to make concise reports, handle and analyse data, make decisions about issues and think creatively.

We aim to develop the girls’ geographical skills, literacy, numeracy, ICT and independent learning skills. The department uses a variety of teaching strategies and techniques that gives all girls the opportunity to study Geography with enjoyment and a sense of achievement.

Through Years 7-9 we also help to develop pupil awareness of citizenship through the study of moral, economic and environmental issues.

Overview of teaching topics:

Year 7

The focus of Year 7 is to provide a broad introduction to the subject of Geography.

Year 7 explore the following topics:

  • Introduction to Geography
  • Exploring Britain – human and physical geography
  • Making and mapping connections – map skills
  • Changing the way we shop – the influence of out-of-town shopping centres and internet shopping
  • Coping with floods and settlement – how settlements grow and change.
  • The destination of the Year 7 field trip is Cardiff Bay where pupils explore the regeneration of the dockland area.

Year 8

The focus of Year 8 is to further develop pupils’ geographical skills and to explore important global issues, such as climate change, energy use and deforestation of tropical rainforests.

Year 8 explore the following topics:

  • Oi Brazil! – an exploration of life in 21st century Brazil
  • Tropical rainforest ecosystems and the threats they face
  • Natural hazards and energy – a key resource, climate change, sustainable living and weather and climate
  • The current destination of the Year 8 field trip is Southerndown Beach and Barry Island area where pupils investigate coastal processes, landforms and management issues.

Year 9

The focus of Year 9 is one of global issues and processes.  Pupils explore poverty and third world debt, globalisation and the influence of global companies, sustainable tourism and China’s growing influence.

Year 9 explore the following topics:

  • Poverty and development through an investigation of Ghana
  • Cadbury – a multinational company
  • Fair-trade, global fashion and child labour
  • China – a 21st century superpower
  • Antarctica – the last great wilderness

Individual fieldwork projects

Years 7-9 produce an individual fieldwork project linked to their field trip activities.  This gives pupils some independence and control over their learning and the means to develop important academic skills.


Since September 2009 we have taught the OCR B Geography GCSE. This is an exciting course, presenting a ‘modern’ approach to the subject.  A range of human and physical topics are investigated over two years.  Pupils study four periods of Geography each week and are allocated a textbook written specifically for the course.

Why choose Geography?

Geography tackles the big issues of today. The world in which we live is expected to witness great change over the next 50 years due to important geographically related issues, such as climate change, changing global markets and rapid urbanisation. Studying Geography helps explain these changes and it will help you prepare you for the changes that will affect your life.  GCSE Geography bridges the gap between the humanities and sciences; it therefore has links with many subjects, including Biology, Chemistry, History and Mathematics.

So what will studying Geography give you?

Geography offers you opportunities to develop a wide range of essential life skills: spatial awareness – map skills, enquiry skills – asking questions and finding answers, data collection, presentation and analysis skills and also communication, ICT and report writing skills. Geography also encourages problem solving and decision-making. In a competitive world this broad range of skills is essential.

How is the course structured?

The course addresses current global issues and topics; there is a focus on the environment and how societies around the world should be using the Earth’s resources and environments in a sustainable way.

The two-year course is based on four themes: Rivers and Coasts; Population and Settlement; Natural Hazards and Economic Development.

How is the course assessed? (Separate drop-down?)

Examination Duration Weighting
Unit B561: Sustainable Decision Making One hour and 30 minutes exam 25%


Unit B562: Geographical Enquiry Controlled assessment – report linked to field work 25%


Unit B563: Key Geographical Themes One hour and 45 minutes exam 50%

What is the Sustainable Decision Making Exercise (SDME)?

This element of the course gives you the opportunity to develop decision-making skills.  The exam topic is presented as a booklet of resources which is used during the examination.

What does the Geographical Enquiry involve?

This unit is entitled Fieldwork Focus and requires pupils to produce a 2,000 word report. Pupils use fieldwork data they have collated to complete this work in lesson time.

What Fieldwork opportunities are there?

Fieldwork is a very important aspect of the course and pupils are offered a full range of fieldwork activities.  In Year 10 pupils explore Newport as an urban case study, and in Year 11 there is a residential field trip to Slapton Ley Field Studies Council Centre, South Devon, to explore rivers, coasts and tourism, and to collect data for the geographical enquiry.

For further information about the OCR B specification see:

A level
Why study Geography?

The Edexcel course is designed to engage students critically with real world issues and places. Current world issues linked to North Korea and the USA, global trade and Brexit, the carbon cycle and climate change are integral to A level Geography. The course has a contemporary issues-based approach with an emphasis on geo-political issues linked to global trade, political institutions, global environmental issues linked to energy and water resources. Students also learn a wide range of geographical skills and fieldwork.
Being a social science, Geography has links with many subjects including: Biology, Business, Chemistry, Economics, Ethics, History and Mathematics. There has never been a more important time to study Geography with growing interest in issues such as resource use, climate change, migration and environmental degradation.
As a facilitating subject an A level in Geography opens doors. You will find that studying Geography is an excellent step towards a wide range of university courses and/or employment opportunities. Geographers are highly employable, possessing a wide range of transferable skills (problem solving, decision making, report writing and team work) essential to the modern work place. Geography graduates have one of the highest rates of graduate employment, pursuing a wide range of career paths.

Head of Department: Mr N Meek

Course content

Board: Edexcel   A level Syllabus Code: 9 GEO

The course is broadly split between human and physical topics, however there is a constant interdependence between the two that is reinforced throughout the course.  The topics include:

Tectonics processes and hazards Landscape systems, processes and change Water cycle and water insecurity
Carbon Cycle and Energy Security Globalisation Shaping Places – Regenerating places
Superpowers Migration, Identity and Sovereignty


All students will attend a residential fieldtrip to meet the exam board requirement of 4 days of fieldwork, where they will investigate a range of locations and differing geographical techniques.  The data they will collect will be used to develop an independent geographical investigation of 4,000 words.

Method of assessment

Unit 1 – Physical World 9GEO/01

You will be examined on all physical topics studied over the two year course. Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes. 30% of the A level qualification.

Unit 2 – Dynamic Places 9GEO/02

You will be examined on all human topics studied over the two year course. Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes. 30% of the A level qualification.

Unit 3 – Geographical Issues 9GEO/03

A synoptic style written examination supported by a resource booklet: 2 hours 15 minutes. 20% of the A level qualification.

Unit 4 – Independent Investigation 9GEO/04

4000-5000 word fieldwork investigation report. 20% of the A level qualification.

Geographical Society

We give all our students the opportunity to experience university style talks through our Geographical Society. Three lunchtime lectures take place during the year, many presented by lecturers from Cardiff University. In the Summer Term a joint school visit takes place to the Department of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University.
Students are stretched and challenged to participate in national and international geographical competitions, developing their knowledge, research and geographical skills. Our students have been past winners of the Geographical Association’s Worldwise Challenge and the Welshwise Challenge Quiz.