Geography at Durham Johnston Comprehensive School


"Thinking geographically is a uniquely powerful way of seeing the world. The ideas and concepts embedded within Geography can help us see the connections between places and scales to better understand and engage with the world around us."
The Geographical Association (2020)


Geography underpins a lifelong ‘conversation’ about the earth as the home of humankind. It starts very early, when a young child encounters and begins to discover the world. Geography can nourish and enrich a whole lifetime of learning. Geography is not a narrow academic subject for the few but is fundamental for everyone.

Geography fascinates and inspires: the beauty of the earth, the terrible power of earth-shaping forces – these things can take us out of ourselves. Geographical investigation both satisfies and feeds curiosity and a geographical perspective deepens understanding of many contemporary challenges such as climate change, food security and energy choices.

Geography serves vital educational goals: thinking and decision making with geography helps us to live our lives as knowledgeable citizens, aware of our own local communities in a global setting. It is directly relevant to people’s lives and the world of work, it is about change and recognises that the past helps explain the present, whilst remaining current and futures oriented.

Geographers are ‘deeply observant’ individuals who look beneath the surface to identify the mechanisms that change environments and societies, with a critical understanding of big ideas like ‘sustainable development’, ‘interdependence’ and ‘globalisation’. Geographers are skilful: using maps and mediated images of people and place, numerical data and graphical modes of communication and getting to grips with the geographic information systems that underpin our lives, making geographers multi-skilled and employable.

The Geography Department aims for all students to:

  • Develop awe and enthusiasm for the world around them.
  • Be informed individuals, enabling students to make educated decisions during their time in school and beyond.
  • Respect people and the planet, with an awareness of the impact of our decisions and actions.
  • Positively contribute to the school and wider community.
  • Be autonomous life-long learners who can apply their knowledge, skills and understanding to confidently face challenges in the future.

To achieve these aims the Geography Department have:

  • Developed a curriculum that is engaging, relevant and dynamic, reflecting the nature of the rapidly changing world around us. As the world changes, so does the curriculum.
  • Designed lessons that challenge all students, providing breadth and depth of subject-specific and transferable knowledge and skills.
  • Teachers who are knowledgeable and passionate about our subject, and convey that enthusiasm to our students.
  • Created a learning environment where questioning, critical thinking and the freedom to learn from mistakes are encouraged. Geography underpins a life-long conversation about the world around us and our place in it.
  • Provided opportunities for all students to engage with geography beyond the classroom through fieldwork, supra- and extra-curricular activities. 

GCSE and A level students follow the AQA exam board specification, which can be found at the links below: