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Our Aim in the RGS Geography department is to encourage all boys to become effective global citizens, aware of the world around them, appreciative of their environment – both natural and built - and able to critically evaluate solutions to current global issues to enable sustainable use of available resources.  

The key themes to the study of Geography at the RGS are therefore   

The interaction between man and the environment.

This can be sub-divided into:  

  • Physical environment – processes and landforms  
  • Human environment   - settlements, economic activity, population  
  • The interaction between the physical and human environments  

Enquiry skills (data gathering, presentation, analysing, evaluating)  

With both of these themes are developed through place examples at different scales – local, regional, global  

An RGS geographer will therefore be able to…..  

Look critically at the world around him………look at a landscape and work out how and why it is shaped like it is……….work out why humans are using the landscape like it is…………….be able to consider a range of economic, social, political and environmental  factors when faced with an issue or problem………………….be comfortable in manipulating quantitative data………….and effective at extracting the key points from written sources.   

Years 7 to 9

In Year 7 we introduce key geographical skills of observation, plotting of information on base maps, reading Ordnance Survey maps as well as the human topics of settlement and sustainability and the physical topic of coasts, all on a relatively local scale  

In Year 8 we focus on global issues of the sustainable use of a variety of environments from local rivers to regional rainforests and global oceans  

In Year 9 we look at the sustainable development and use of energy and water uses in emerging and developed nations together with a regional study of India.  

  • Within each topic there are examples from contrasting parts of the world and the boys have a higher level extended writing task to compare them e.g issues of living in deserts in Dubai and Las Vegas or the impacts of Volcanoes in an advanced country (Japan) and an emerging nation (the Philippines).  
  • Within each sub-section there is a progression from information gathering / factual learning to representing and describing patterns; to seeing the links between the physical environment and its human use.  


We follow the EDEXCEL B specification which uses an holistic approach to studying both physical and human landscapes and leads up to a decision making paper based on global and sustainability issues. We find that RGS boys really thrive in the higher level decision making exercises where they have to synthesise a wide range of knowledge and ideas to write reports on issues such as the future of the Rainforest. These skills of research and synthesis were also the skills that would later be useful in constructing A Level essays.  

A Level 

We follow the OCR Specification. Units on Space and Place and Earth’s Life Support Systems are common across all specifications. In addition, we do Glaciated Landscapes, Global migration and Power and borders in Year 12. In Year 13 we look at the Geographical Debates associated with Tectonics and Disease Dilemmas. The latter has proved very useful to those pupils who want to go on to read medicine. The Board requires all pupils to undertake 4 days of fieldwork which we do on a field trip to the Field Studies Council centre at Blencathra in the Lake District. The boys learn a variety of fieldwork techniques which they then use in carrying out their Independent Investigation which is worth 20% of their overall A Level marks.