The study of Geography involves grasping an ever-changing world in an integrated way. It means getting to the heart of environmental and human problems from a local to a global scale. It encompasses themes vital to today's world: the working of the Earth's natural systems, the increasingly problematic interaction between people and the physical environment, nature of human social organisation with all its inequalities, the development gap and the role of economic and political power on regional and global decision making.

Studying Geography gives you skills for life, whatever career you opt for later. You will learn to identify problems, analyse data and suggest solutions. In today's `information age', the ability to sieve large quantities of information, selecting the salient points quickly and critically, is highly valued.

The aim of the Geography curriculum at St Catherine’s is to educate pupils of their role as global citizens, to explore their values and responsibilities to other people, the environment and the sustainability of the planet. It is interesting, challenging, and progressive and covers a broad range of contemporary issues such as the Geography of Disease, Energy Conflict and Climate Change.

Pupils are encouraged to think and study independently through field work enquiry, decision making, debate and research in order to understand the complexity of the problems we face in the century.

Staff List

Mrs Sophie Mackness - Head of Department
Sophie Mackness joined St Catherine's in 2001. She studied Environmental Science at university as she wanted to continue studying some Biology as well as Geography. Her main interest at University was Glacial and Periglacial Environments and Fluvial Processes although she has since developed a keen interest in Geopolitics and has enjoyed teaching this dynamic part of the A2 course. She enjoys creating practical geographical enquiries and encouraging pupils to plan their own fieldwork investigations. She has led trips to The Isle of Wight, Devon, Dorset, West Wittering, Box Hill, London Docklands, Guildford and Godalming, as well as tours to Iceland. She is known for regularly evaluating and changing the Geography schemes of work, ensuring they relate to the latest geographical research and current issues in the news. Her husband and two little boys are also keen geographers and have been on many fieldtrip reconnaissance visits. She enjoys gardening, hiking, eating out in restaurants, cooking, travelling and reading.

Mrs Amanda White
Amanda White joined St Catherine’s in 2000, working part-time in the Geography Department. She has always loved Geography and from a very young age it was her ambition to be a teacher. She relishes teaching such a dynamic subject and particularly enjoys teaching the Pollution and Human Health at Risk, research topic at A2 which requires extensive wider reading. She has run a wide variety of trips and always enjoys getting the girls to experience Geography in the great outdoors; although she is not so sure they enjoy her early morning singing on residential trips! In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children and they can often be found at the local sailing club. She also plays stoolball for her local team.

Mr James Reed
James joined St. Catherines in 2018. He studied Environmental Engineering and Resource Management at The University of Nottingham. After spending 7 years as a computer programmer he decided to travel the world for a year, upon his return he decided to share his passion for the natural world through teaching. James really enjoys teaching the Globalisation topic and is also very keen on weather as both topics encourage students to look outwards at the world which is ever changing. Like all good geographers he really enjoys learning beyond the classroom and is a veteran of more field trips than he cares to remember. James’s spare time is spent with his wife and three children and treading the boards each year in a local pantomime. 

Curriculum - A Level

Examination Board: Edexcel

A Level Specification

Why study Geography?

Geography’s strength comes from its ability to unite knowledge from different disciplines and to interpret the bigger picture within a spatial context, dealing with issues of genuine contemporary significance. Geography is the only subject that combines scientific concepts with social and cultural understanding, making it an ideal subject to place with both Arts and Science subjects. Geography encompasses a vast array of transferable skills such as data collection and analysis, research, decision-making, IT and communication skills.

Course Content

  • Dynamic Landscapes: Tectonic Hazards and Coastal Landscapes and Change
  • Dynamic Places: Globalisation: You will study shifting patterns of wealth and the cultural implications of globalisation. 
  • Regenerating Places: You will study how places are economically dynamic and how regeneration affects people’s lives.
  • Water Insecurity: You will investigate conflict over national and international water sources.
  • Carbon cycle and Energy Security: You will investigate how the carbon cycle maintains planetary health and the consequences of the increasing demand for energy.
  • Human systems and Geopolitics: Superpowers:  The impact of superpowers on the world economy, global politics and the environment. Geopolitical conflict and new geopolitical relations.
  • Global development and Connections. Migration, Identity and Sovereignty: The study of contested borders, the consequences of disunity between nations.



A Level:

  • Paper 1:  Physical 2 hrs 15 mins
  • Paper 2:  Human   2 hrs 15 mins
  • Paper 3:  Synoptic 2 hrs 15 mins 
  • Coursework: Independent Investigation 20% of A Level
  • A Level Independent Investigation: 3000-4000 words marked by teachers and externally moderated. 

Curriculum - IGCSE

Examination board: Edexcel

IGCSE Specification

This course gives pupils the opportunity to develop:

  • Their knowledge and understanding of Geographical concepts and appreciate the relevance of these concepts to our changing world.
  • A framework of spatial awareness in which to appreciate the importance of the location of places and environments from a local to global scale.
  • An appreciation the differences and similarities between people’s views of the world, its environments, societies and cultures.
  • An understanding of the significance of values and attitudes to the development and resolution of issues.
  • Their responsibilities as global citizens and recognise how they can contribute to a future that is sustainable and inclusive.
  • Fieldwork, ICT and research skills.
  • Analytical and decision making skills.

There is one day fieldtrip in the local area.  This gives students the opportunity to learn data collection skills which will be tested in the final exam. 

Section A — The natural environment and people

  1. River environments
  2. Hazardous environments

Section B — People and their environments

  1. Economic activity and energy
  2. Urban environments

Section C — Global issues

  1. Fragile environments

Curriculum - KS3

Upper Three

  • My global connections
  • Issues in the Arctic
  • Who wants to be a billionaire (global patterns of wealth)
  • Why is Allerford at risk from flooding?

Lower Four

  • Why does Danny MacAskill want to mountain bike the Cuillin ridge? (geology/glaciation)
  • The Geography of my stuff ( globalisation)
  • Afghanistan ( development)
  • Local development issues

Upper Four

  • Myanmar - migration
  • Tectonic processes and earthquakes
  • Climate change and sea-level rise
  • Sustainable urban development