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YEAR 7 (1)


GEOGRAPHY Mapwork (using Ordinance Survey maps; field work -orientation; identify features on different types of maps) physical geography: tectonic processes (moving boundaries); meteorological processes (microclimates; variation of temp and rainfall in UK); geomorphological processes (formation of various landforms; flooding)


Age 11-12

(A) Map work (ordinance Survey maps; fieldwork) (B) Physical geography: tectonic, meteorological and geomorphological processes in more detail (C) Optional deeper study of one area from this year’s work: Renaissance Exploration

(A) Mapwork


(i)Further Ordinance Survey map-work skills

Orientation: (revise 8 points of the compass); 6 figure grid references; distance; area; follow routes; identify relief and landscape features (slope steepness, plateau, flood plain, valley, headland, bay etc.)


Study shaded (choropleth) maps; annotated sketch maps; flow maps, annotated field sketches and photographs


(ii) Fieldwork and enquiry skills

Designing and using questionnaires; sampling; surveys.


(B) Physical geography


(i)  Tectonic processes: Study constructive and destructive boundaries and what causes them to move Study the global distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes


(ii)  Meteorological processes: Study microclimates

Case study: the causes of temperature and rainfall variation from place to place in the British Isles


(iii)   Geomorphological processes: Study transportation and deposition in understanding the development of the following landforms:

valley, waterfall, gorge, meander, caves, arches, stacks, stumps, beaches, spits

Study the causes and effects of and responses to a flood. 


(C) Optional topic    

Renaissance Exploration c.1500s – 1600s


  1. Amerigo Vespucci
  2. Cortes
  3. Pizarro
  4. Magellan
  5. Drake
  6. Northeast passage



For a summary of the main areas covered in the National Curriculum for KS3, click here

For a summary of the more challenging Common Entrance requirements for age 11-13, click here.


In the middle years, map-skills become more complex, with the study of ordinance survey maps and how to use them, along with some local fieldwork.

For map work (including field work, orientation and identifying features on different types of maps), the most obvious thing is to learn how to use Ordinance Survey maps. For this we’ve used two books: Map Skills for Common Entrance is a basic introduction for age 11+, then for more detail you might want to use The Ordinance Survey Map Skills Book. This is much more dated (unfortunately there has not been a more recent edition published as far as I know), but it is much more detailed and if you can overcome the look of the book (very 1980s!) there is much to learn from it.

For physical geography, revisiting at this stage tectonic, meteorological and geomorphological processes, there is a standard textbook: Geography for Common Entrance. However, we were quite disappointed with this. It contains six chapters: in addition to three on physical processes, there are three on human geography (settlement, economics and environment) which are often not particularly interesting for a child of this age. (You could, however, cover these chapters in the following year as per the schedule for human geography 12-13).

One alternative is to move at this point to a text on Earth Science which would cover everything from the water cycle to minerals to erosion to plate tectonics. We have used Concepts and Challenges in Earth Science as recommended by Laura Berquist. This book is American but is available second hand for about £5 including shipping from America. It is thorough in terms of coverage and includes a lot of information, though it is quite simplistic in style: it would not be challenging to a bright 11/12 year old but would fill a gap if nothing better was available (I’m still searching – recommendations welcome!).



The GCSE has controlled assessment/coursework, but IGCSEs are offered by both CIE and Edexcel with an ‘alternative to fieldwork’ paper. For the mapwork paper, some past map extracts have been made available to the HE Exams Yahoogroup.   Here you will also find recommendations for textbooks.

YEAR 7 (2)



Books I used for secondary level.

I don’t feel I can recommend books in geography at the lower secondary level and usually made up my own projects using various books I got from libraries etc. Examples would be a topic such as volcanoes in geography.

Edexcel offered a good international exam without coursework and therefore I used them a lot. Once you have chosen a course to follow there is usually an appropriate textbook offered by the board.


YEAR 7 (3)