“Geography explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future. What could be more important than that?" Michael Palin, Ex-president of the Royal Geographical Society

Geography at HBS

We “will be taught that beneath and behind all of the outward beauty of our lowlands, our uplands and our highlands there lies an inner history which when revealed will give beauty a fuller significance and an added dream.” Archibald Geikie, 1905.

We want students to understand and appreciate the world around them and which they inhabit. Geography provokes and answers questions about the physical and human worlds, using different scales of enquiry to view them from different perspectives. At the heart of studying Geography is the desire to find out more about why, and how, various inter-related elements of this complex world work.  In Geography we aim to foster enquiring minds and help them to understand their world. We do this while building and refining a multitude of intellectual, literary, mathematical, fieldwork, and analytical skills that are transferable across subjects and valued by universities and employers alike. We want students to ‘think like a geographer’ and investigate places and events through social, economic and environmental lenses, while also being able to recognise the links between them. We aim to do this with teaching that has an emphasis on making the subject dynamic, contemporary and relevant. We strive to use the most recent information and examples to illustrate the topics being covered. Through this approach we hope to develop knowledgeable, skilled, aware, and empathetic geographers and students with a passion for the subject which they will take further.

“Geography is an interdisciplinary subject that explores the complex interdependence between the physical characteristics of a place and its politics, economics, and culture. It plays a vital role in shaping history, present crises, and the future solution of the most pressing issues facing human civilisation.” 

Key Stage 3

In Years 7 – 9 we seek to get students to ask questions of the world surrounding them while also developing deep knowledge and understanding of key geographical concepts, processes, and places. Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of the physical and human world around them. We look at the interaction between people and their environment and the global issues that the planet faces. They also learn the skills that are required to be a geographer such as writing in a geographical way, reading maps, using statistics, and assessing points of view to come to a supported judgment. As a popular GCSE choice we want them to start developing these as soon as possible so revisit key skills in every year of Key Stage 3.


Key Stage 4

Over two-thirds of students usually opt to take Geography at GCSE.  We follow the AQA syllabus for GCSE. This is a balanced course that builds on the Key Stage 3 experience. Physical processes are explored, along with the human world, and how these two processes interact with the natural environment. The course enables students to see how these impact on a variety of scales: local, national, and international. These are seen first-hand through a residential field trip to Flatford Mill.


Key Stage 5

At A-Level students will study the Edexcel specification, which is a topical and challenging course. Geographers will need to see the interactions between human, physical and environmental processes. Fieldwork and research skills are key features of the course. The modules show how Geography is a key subject that addresses the key ideas and debates of the world today.

In Year 12 the topics studied in Year 12 include Tectonic Processes and Hazards, Globalisation, Glaciated Landscapes and Change, and Regenerating Places. They will also attend a 5-day field trip to the Lake District which will help them prepare for and start collecting data for their Non-examined Assessment (coursework) which allows them great freedom to investigate an area of Geography they have an interest in.

In Year 13 students finish their Non-examined Assessment (coursework). They also study topics on the Water and Carbon Cycles, Migration, and Superpower Geographies. Finally, they will spend time preparing to bring all their knowledge and understanding together in Paper 3 which asks them to investigate a contemporary geographical issue.

HBS Geography Department Curriculum Statement of Intent

Curriculum activities and trips

The Department runs enrichment opportunities through the Geography Society which is overseen by really enthusiastic Y12 and 13 students. There have been a number of visiting speakers, of quite some renown in the Geography world, that will often speak on topics beyond the curriculum. The department runs field trips at Year 7, GCSE, and A-Level, which may be river-based, coastal, and urban fieldwork.

It is one of the most relevant subjects you could choose to study. In a time full of vital changes (climate change, social issues, migration) there has never been a better time to study the world. You learn so many transferable skills too, including better communication.
Year 12 HBS Student
I enjoy finding out about the world in which I live in, through topics such as population.
HBS Student
I love Geography because it's everywhere. It allows me to understand the world we live in and make independent, informed decisions.
HBS Student
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Academic Programme
We are committed to providing a broad education that is ambitious, varied and stimulating.
Years 7 - 9
At Key Stage 3, we want to enable girls to pursue a wide variety of academic and extra-curricular interests to the full.
Years 10 - 11
Progress into Key Stage 4 is both a psychological one, entering the ‘GCSE years’, as well as a literal one.
Sixth Form
Sixth Form is a vibrant, friendly and happy community, where every student is valued and given individual attention.