Walton High


Overview of Walton High’s curriculum

Important Messages


GCSE: Results available Thursday 24 August –  9.00am till 10.00am


The Geography Team aims to provide the best possible geographical learning experience for our students both within and outside of the classroom.  Our curriculum enables all students to develop a sense of wonder at the beauty of the natural world and the power of natural processes.

Through the use of a wide variety of high quality resources, we aim to instil an appetite for the discovery of the world.  We nurture a range of transferable skills to enable students to confidently face the opportunities and challenges of life beyond school.  Teaching and learning strategies are adopted that encourage questioning and critical thinking to enable students to develop informed and balanced viewpoints, whilst understanding the effects of their decisions.  We aspire to develop global citizens who recognise the responsibility they have to other people as well as to the sustainability of our planet, in a rapidly changing world.

We are continuously reviewing our curriculum with the view of fully engaging our learners in relevant, interesting geographies.  We place a strong emphasis on fieldwork since we feel that these opportunities are an essential part of a pupil’s geographical education.  Currently we run a number of ALDs (Advanced Learning Days) for all Key Stages including trips to Kew Gardens, Bedford, Birmingham and London.  We are also planning to offer a residential trip to Iceland for Year 12 students this year.  There are also Geography PLCs (Personal Learning Challenges)  that operate on a Wednesday afternoon and currently we offer Orienteering and GIS (Geographical Information Systems) to students in all year groups.


sgmIn September 2012, the Geography Department was awarded the Geographical Association’s Secondary Quality Geography Mark (SGQM) in recognition of our work.




Key Stage 3 Gallery of Work

A-Z of Geography
All Year 7 students were given the challenge of designing and producing a keyword poster related to a letter of the alphabet for one of the topics they had studied throughout the year.  The aim was to use the letter outline creatively to display the keyword, idea or theme.  These are the overall winners:

Model building fun!

These models have been created by Year 7 students as part of their homework.

A-Z of climate change

Year 8 students were asked to design a keyword poster for a word related to the study of climate change.  It could focus on the causes, effects or responses.  These are the overall winners for each letter of the alphabet:

Developing literacy in Geography lessons

Year 8 students were given the opportunity to show their creativity through the production of these 
cross-sections of the rainforest.  To be successful they had to entirely construct their picture from the key terminology that they had been learning.  Here are some of the outstanding examples:


Key Stage 4 Gallery of Work

Here are some amazing examples of classwork, homework and revision notes created by some Year 11 students in preparation for their final GCSE exams.

Key Stage 3

Students study six term-long units throughout Key Stage 3.

Year 7

Unit 1:  Linked Places - Local to Global

Students develop a range of cartographic skills throughout this unit, including how and why symbols are used on maps and how we can accurately locate places using grid references.  Students also explore different techniques such as topological mapping and how we can use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to explore data.  Students study the growth of Milton Keynes as a new town.  The unit concludes with an exploration of the process of globalisation.                                 

Unit 2:  Landscape Change

This unit gives students a deeper understanding of physical Geography.  It begins with a study of how global scale processes have shaped the Earth's surface - continental drift, the formation of fold mountains and the physical features of volcanoes.  Students learn how to show height on maps, how to interpret contour lines and how to construct a cross-section through the landscape.  Students then understand the role of water, ice and the wind in eroding the Earth's surface and the creation of distinctive landforms.  The unit culminates in an introduction to weather and climate.   

Unit 3:  Unequal Places                                                
Students learn what we mean by development and the various ways in which this can be measured.  They examine why the development gap exists and issues surrounding debt, trade and aid in developing countries.  Brazil is used as a case study to look at squatter settlements and how life is different for the people who live there.  The final part of the unit looks at the European Union and the advantages and disadvantages of the UK's membership.  

Year 8

Unit 4:  Threatened Places

The underlying theme to this unit is the way in which humans interact with the environment to bring about positive or negative change.  Students understand the term biome and then study the vegetation of the tropical rainforest and how plants and animals are adapted to life there.  Students explore the reasons for deforestation and the effects this has on people and the environment.  The concept of sustainability is applied to the threats facing the continent of Antarctica and the issues surrounding the disposal of our waste.    

Unit 5:  Dangerous Places 

Students are given the opportunity to understand a variety of natural hazards from around the world.  In pairs students research a recent natural hazard and present this to the class as a short presentation.  Students study the causes, effects and responses to floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and tectonic processes.  Students further develop their map skills by tracking the movement of hurricanes using longitude and latitude. 

Unit 6:  Changing Places - Uncertain Futures

This unit explores the idea of our changing climate and whether this is a natural or man-made phenomena.  The causes, effects and responses of change are examined at a variety of scales.  China is then studied as a country that is undergoing rapid change and students are given the opportunity to complete a research project on any aspect of China at the end of the Summer Term.  

Key Stage 4

We currently follow the AQA A GCSE specification (9030).  For the students who opt to study Geography at GCSE, there are three units.  Units 1 and 2 are examined (each lasts 1 hour 30 minutes) and are both be taken at the end of Year 11. The examinations are offered at two levels of entry. Foundation level is designed for students working towards a grade C and the Higher level for students working towards an A* grade.  Unit 3 is a piece of Controlled Assessment and is based on data collected during a fieldwork day in Year 10 and is then written up during the Summer Term.  The Controlled Assessment accounts for 25% of the final grade.

Unit 1 - Physical Geography

The Restless Earth: The landforms associated with plate margins. Detailed studies of earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis.

Water on the Land: How rivers erode, transport and deposit material and the landforms created by rivers. A detailed look at flooding events, along with a study of hard and soft forms of river management.

The Coastal Zone: Weathering and mass movement at the coast and the landforms created by erosion and deposition. The problem of rapid erosion and how this is managed. The threats of rising sea levels around our coast along with the importance of coastal ecosystems. 

Unit 2: Human Geography

Population Change: The exponential rate of world population growth. The Demographic Transition Model and population structures. Population policies used to control the population. The problems associated with an ageing population and how governments attempt to cope with this. Economic migrants and the movement of refugees.

Changing Urban Environments: The causes and pace of urbanisation. The different zones of a settlement and the issues facing urban areas such as housing and traffic. The characteristics and management of squatter settlements in developing countries. The concept of a sustainable city.

Tourism: Changing patterns of tourist activity through time. The study of tourism in a variety of countries with a view to understanding the economic, social and environmental benefits and problems this brings. The emergence of ‘ecotourism’ in recent years and the increasing trend for ‘extreme tourism’ in locations such as Nepal and Antarctica.

Unit 3: Local Fieldwork Investigation

This is an extended piece of investigative work written by students under controlled conditions. Students will collect primary fieldwork data for their investigation during a one day field visit and will then receive 20 hours of write-up time to prepare their final assignment for submission. The total task must be less than 2000 words and represents 25% of the final GCSE grade.

Post 16

Our chosen specification (AQA 2030) ensures a wide coverage and good balance of physical and human topics.  We are committed to providing a varied, comprehensive and quality experience for our A-Level students.  Every year a significant number of students leave to take up places on courses in Geography and closely-related subjects.

AS Geography

Unit 1—Physical and Human Geographies (35%) 2 hour exam

  • Cold Environments
  • Rivers, Floods and Management
  • Population Change
  • Health Issues
Unit 2—Geographical Skills (15%) 1 hour exam

  • Focuses on investigative, cartographic, graphical, ICT and statistical skills and the assessment of fieldwork that students have undertaken.

A2 Geography

Unit 3—Contemporary Geographical Issues (30%) 2 hour 30min exam

  • Plate Tectonics & Associated Hazards
  • Weather and Climate & Associated Hazards
  • World Cities
  • Development & Globalisation
Unit 4—Geographical Issue Evaluation (20%) 1 hour 30min exam

  • This unit is based upon based on pre-released materials.

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