Skip to content ↓


We aim to provide the students at Silverdale with a topical, challenging curriculum designed to provide them with an understanding of local, national and international issues which shape their lives now and in the future. We aim to introduce them to the awe and wonder of the world, understand how people are living with and changing where they live, for the better and worse. We also want our students to understand what it means to live in a globalised world. We hope our students have a strong sense of social and environmental responsibility. We aim to produce students who are inquisitive and have developed the skills needed to work independently and collaboratively to be able to carry out research, analysis and presentation of information in a variety of forms. We aim to provide the students with a lifelong interest in the world around them.

Students experience fieldwork in every year.

Why choose to come to our school for this subject?

Our Geography department has an excellent track record of results at both GCSE and A-level. The team believe in an enquiry approach to geographical education, promoting independent learning through research, analysis and presentation of results. This mirrors many work-based situations and offers lots of transferable skills. The team are quietly innovative; they won the Geographical Association Bradford Award for Innovation in 2007. More recently, they have introduced a topic of work based around Geography in the News, where students work in groups to research, then plan and teach a lesson to the class on the chosen topic. They are also currently working on ways to develop oracy in geography lessons. 

Silverdale students interviewed by BBC Radio Sheffield about their success in the Shell Bright Ideas competition.

There is a strong programme of fieldwork throughout all years, making good use of the school grounds, local area and locations further afield. In 2016 Silverdale students were the Yorkshire and Humberside region winners of the national Shell Bright Ideas competition, which linked with our classroom topic of locating a wind farm on the school grounds.

Students regularly present their work to both students and teachers, helping develop their oracy skills.

year 7 

  • Where is Silverdale & what is it like? Using fieldwork we develop the student’s skills to process and analyse data to learn where Silverdale is and our understand our attitudes towards a new place.
  • What are our misconceptions of Africa? This topic challenges the students to think about the continent of Africa in a new light to develop an understanding of the diversity within the continent.
  • Is climate change natural or anthropogenic? Inspired by the conflicting views of Greta Thunberg & Donald Trump we take a long term view in the study of climate change to better understand the science behind our changing climate.
  • Is Qatar too hot for football? In this piece of work, the students investigate Qatar as an example of a country in the Middle East. This information is then used by the students to make decisions about the most sustainable future for Qatar.
  • How do we read maps? This topic equips the students with the skills needed to understand and make use of Ordnance Survey maps.
  • How and why do rivers shape the land? This topic looks at the physical geography of rivers investigating how and why the landscape changes from a river’s source to its mouth.
  • Local fieldwork to investigate how the landscape of the River Porter changes downstream.

year 8 

  • How sustainable are our mobile phones? This topic investigates the impacts of globalisation through the study of their mobile phones.
  • What are some of the world’s most incredible places? Here the students learn about a range of different incredible locations around the world with a focus the sustainability of these places.
  • What’s the story? Geography in the news. The students select a topical news story and explore the geographical issues associated with it. 
  • Where should we locate a wind turbine in the Silverdale grounds? This is an investigation into alternative energy provision in the UK, involving fieldwork around the school site.
  • Are cities sustainable? Based on a case study of a major global city, but with comparisons to Sheffield, we investigate the challenges cities pose or create for a sustainable future.
  • Fieldwork to investigate how well Castleton meets the aims of a National Park.

Year 9 

  • Are your actions a cause or solution to climate change? Building on our understanding of anthropogenic climate change students examine their own lifestyles to see how our local actions may have a global impact.
  • Will volcanoes kill us all? In this topic, we investigate the physical geography of volcanoes and learn about the issues associated with a natural hazard. 
  • Is Geography a crime? This is an investigation into the geographical aspects of crime from illegal trade to issues influencing our quality of life.
  • How does trade help or hinder people around the world? This is another opportunity to explore issues linked to globalisation, but this time through the global fashion business.
  • How can people in Sheffield live longer? This is an investigation into socio-economic variations within Sheffield. The aim being able to present solutions for a local geographical issue.
  • Local fieldwork to investigate the effectiveness of crime prevention strategies in Bents Green.




Our course is extremely varied giving you the chance to learn about many of the world’s major human and physical features. The physical geography includes topics as varied as rivers and hot deserts, earthquakes and tropical storms. Human topics range from urban change and regeneration to looking at issues of global food supply. Human and physical geography comes together when we take a long term look at climate change, its impacts and how we can manage it.

Some topics are completely new, like investigating the slums of Mumbai or glaciation while other like tsunamis or tropical rain forests build on the foundations of KS3. Students will travel the world from the classroom, exploring case studies like flood management in Sheffield or York, industrial growth in newly emerging economies like Vietnam or the value of tourism to counties like Egypt.

Students are also encouraged to understand their role in society, by considering different viewpoints, values and attitudes. Overall all lots of big ideas (like poverty, the global shift in economic power and climate change) to get your teeth into!


There are three exams:

  • Challenges in the physical environment (35% 1 hour 30 minutes)
  • Challenges in the human environment (35% 1 hour 30 minutes)
  • Geographical Applications (30% 1 hour)

On all papers questions are a mixture of multiple choice, data response, and short & medium length prose. This includes testing your geographical skills. The Geographical Applications exam is based on a pre-release information booklet and fieldwork (including the student’s own field work).

beyond the classroom 

In every year we ensure we take our students outside into the physical world. Trainee teachers on placement from the University of Sheffield organise a fieldwork day every year. We have also held a Geography Reward Day in conjunction with the University of Sheffield. In 2016 Silverdale students won the Yorkshire and Humberside Shell Bright Ideas competition. Our students regularly take part in local geography competitions with other schools. We have strong links with the local Geographical Association branch.

Silverdale students take part in Geography competitions with other local schools.