The Knights Templar School

The Knights Templar School

The Knights Templar School images


Geography is a popular and dynamic subject in this school.  Through an understanding of social and physical processes within the context of places and regions Geography enables us to recognise differences in cultures, political systems, economies, landscapes and environments across the world.  It connects the social sciences with the natural sciences and so it has a wide appeal and usefulness.  The study of Geography encourages students to have curiosity and a sense of wonder about places, people and the environment.   Geography provides a mechanism for students to better understand many issues at different scales – global and local.

Therefore the range of topics covered is wide, and reflects both National Curriculum requirements and the diverse specialist interests of the teaching staff.  We aim for students from year 7 onwards to develop a wide range of transferable skills including numeracy, literacy, analytical, presentation and debating skills.  We have long believed in the value of ‘Geography outside the classroom’ and field work has always been a particular strength at Knights Templar. Thus from a half day local map trail in the Weston Hills to a residential field trip to Iceland, there is a wide range of activities covering many aspects of the syllabus.  In addition we aim to instil awareness of contemporary issues from tectonic incidents on a global scale to local issues such as arguments against the building of additional houses in Baldock.

Staff  List

Mrs S. Beckingham   Head of Geography   Mrs Beckingham teaches Geography throughout the school and specialises in teaching Physical Geography at AS level. Her interest and involvement with this aspect of the subject has developed from a love of the great outdoors whether it’s walking in the Peak District National Park or exploring the local countryside around Baldock. She enjoys the challenge of introducing new and contemporary topics throughout the school and is looking forward to incorporating a range of exciting teaching methods into her lessons, e.g. use of play-doh to model coastal processes. Mrs Beckingham has established a Geography Quiz Club that has successfully competed against schools from across Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire in the Geographical Association’s Worldwise Quiz.

Mr D. Hopkins Mr Hopkins joined Knights Templar in 2001, having studied both Geography and Geology at Aberystwyth .   He specialises in teaching Physical Geography to AS and A2 level but has also taught Human Geography at this level.  He has particularly enjoyed developing a range of field work activities at GCSE and AS level, based on rivers and coasts.  Mr Hopkins is the software specialist in the department as we seek to bring in new approaches to the subject.

Mrs J Evans Mrs Evans joined the Geography department in 2017, having previously taught in Bishop’s Stortford. She grew up in Hertfordshire and then studied Geography at the University of Bristol where her dissertation focused on homelessness in the city. Her particular interests are in social and cultural Geography but she has taught both Human and Physical Geography through to A Level.  Mrs Evans is passionate about students learning more about their world through case-studies, from the local to the global scale, as we are living in such rapidly changing times.  She enjoys linking geographical theory to current events and encourages students to get to know their local area, follow the news and watch the latest documentaries such as Blue Planet II.

Miss M. Staines Miss Staines joined the department in 2013 and specialises in teaching Human Geography through to A2 Level. Her particular interests are Environmental Geography and International Development, and she takes an active part in leading the school’s Environmental and Sustainability Team. As the school’s Head of PSHCEE for the last 3 years, she has been working on improving the awareness of environmental issues (such as global warming and deforestation) throughout the school including organising visits from several high-profile visitors such as Phil Williams. Miss Staines continues to combine her love of stationary and all things bright and colourful to encourage students to develop more interactive revision techniques such as pop-up posters and flashcards.


What will pupils learn at Key Stage 3?

At KS3 we follow the new National Curriculum for Geography which was introduced in September 2014.  We are gradually adapting our existing curriculum and schemes of work to incorporate new topics whilst keeping successful and stimulating elements from previous topic areas.  The following are extracts of student aims from the new specification.

Locational knowledge
Extend their locational knowledge and deepen their spatial awareness of the world’s countries using maps of the world to focus on Africa, Russia, Asia (including China and India) and the Middle East focusing on their environmental regions including polar and hot deserts, key physical and human characteristics, countries and major cities. 

Place knowledge
Understand geographical similarities, differences and links between places through the study of human and physical geography of a region within Africa and of a region within Asia.

Human and physical geography
Understand through the use of detailed place based exemplars at a variety of scales, the key processes in:

  • Physical geography relating to geological timescales and plate tectonics, rocks, weathering and soils, weather and climate, including the change in climate from the ice age to the present, and glaciations, hydrology, coasts.

  • Human geography relating to population and urbanisation, international development, economic activity in the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary sectors, and the use of natural resources.

  • Understand how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate, and how human activity relies on effective functioning of natural systems.


Year 7 Geography: Pupils will complete a unit on map skills which is designed to upskill students on a range of essential skills such as grid references and Ordnance Survey maps. They will have the opportunity to actively apply these skills on a Walk to Weston which is held in the summer term. Pupils will also study a fascinating but challenging Physical Geography unit on Rivers & Hydrology. This is where pupils begin to learn some essential processes that will underpin their understanding of Physical Geography throughout the school.

Year 8 Geography: The year kick starts with a geographical enquiry into weathering on gravestones at St Mary’s church in Baldock where pupils will learn about enquiry skills and draw conclusions against a hypothesis. Pupils will then complete a Human Geography unit on urban environments. The year will conclude with a fieldtrip to Norfolk in the summer term.

Year 9 Geography: Pupils will study their first unit focusing on environmental geography where they explore the contemporary topic of Global Warming & Climate Change before moving on to a popular unit of Plate Tectonics.


What will pupils learn at Key Stage 4?

Year 10: We will follow the AQA syllabus which will be taught for the first time in 2016. All students will be entered for the same exam paper and will be assessed on the new 1-9 grading system.

The syllabus is divided into:

Unit 1: Living with the Physical Environment (Physical Geography)

The exam will last 1 hour and 30 minutes and will be marked out of 88 which includes SPaG (spelling, punctuation, grammar and specialist terminology). It will account for 35% of the course.

  • Challenge of natural hazards

  • The living world

  • Coastal landscapes in the UK

  • Glacial landscapes in the UK


Unit 2: Challenges of the Human Environment (Human Geography)

The exam will last 1 hour and 30 minutes and will be marked out of 88 which includes SPaG (spelling, punctuation, grammar and specialist terminology). It will account for 35% of the course.

  • Urban issues and challenges

  • The changing economic world

  • Challenge of resource management and use of energy


Unit 3: Geographical Skills and Issue Evaluation (Fieldwork)

The exam will last 1 hour and 15 minutes and will be marked out of 76 which includes SPaG (spelling, punctuation, grammar and specialist terminology). It will account for 30% of the course.

  • Issue evaluation – pupils will be given a pre-release booklet 12 weeks before the exam and will form a section of the exam.

  • Fieldwork – pupils will be examined on a piece of physical and human fieldwork that they have completed during the GCSE course.

Year 11: We will follow the AQA Syllabus 'A'. The syllabus has two levels or tiers which are called Higher and Foundation.  Students are entered for either the Higher tier (which will enable them to get a grade between an 'A*' and a 'D’), or the foundation Paper which will allow access to grades ‘C’ to ‘G’. 

The syllabus is divided into three parts, Physical Geography, Human Geography and the Controlled Assessment.

The first paper, ‘Unit 1’, is called Physical Geography and consists of TWO sections. Candidates must answer ONE question from each section, plus a third from either section. 


The topics which we study are shown in bold below:

Section ‘A’

The Restless Earth

Section ‘B’

Water on the Land

Rocks, Resources and Scenery

Ice on the Land

Challenge of Weather and Climate

The Coastal Zone

Living World

The second paper, ‘Unit 2’ is called Human Geography and again consists of TWO sections, each with three questions.  Again, one question from each section and then any third question from either must be answered. 

Section ‘A’

Population Change

Section ‘B’

The Development Gap

Changing Urban Environments


Changing Rural Environments



Each paper is one and a half hours long which means each question should be answered in about 30 minutes.  Each question is worth 25 marks, and both papers together are worth 75% of the final mark.   Paper 2 now includes marks awarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar.  All exams are taken at the end of Year 11.

The third section is called Controlled Assessment.  This is done in school, partly under exam conditions, and is based on the processing of data collected from fieldwork.  This is worth 25% of the final grade.

All pupils will be taught material which will allow them to enter either the Higher Tier or the Foundation Tier of the exam.  A final decision on the appropriate tier will be taken after the Mock Exam results in December of year 11.  The Controlled Assessment does not have a tier.

Revision guides will be offered for sale to pupils during their Year 10 and in advance of the school exams.

What will pupils learn at Key Stage 5?

Pupils will have the option of either studying AS or A-level GCSE Geography. Both courses will follow the AQA specification. Pupils will have separate teachers for Human and Physical Geography.

In the Human units pupils will learn a range of topics including:

  • Changing Places

  • Global Systems and Governance

  • Contemporary Urban Environments

  • Population and the Environment

  • Resource Security

In the Physical units pupils will learn a range of topics including:

  • Coastal Systems and Landscapes

  • Hazards

  • Water and Carbon Cycles

  • Glacial Systems and Landscapes

  • Hot Desert Systems and Landscapes

  • Ecosystems under Stress

If pupils choose to study the AS qualification they will sit 2 exams at the end of Year 12:

Component 1: Physical geography and people and the environment – the exam will last 1 hour and 30 minutes and it will be marked out of 80. The exam will account for 50% of the final AS course.

The exam is made up of two sections:

  • Section A: Coastal systems and landscapes

  • Section B: Hazards

Component 2: Human geography and geography fieldwork investigation – the exam will last 1 hour and 30 minutes and it will be marked out of 80. The exam will account for 50% of the final AS course.

The exam is made up of two sections:

  • Changing places

  • Geography fieldwork investigation and geographical skills

If pupils choose the study the A-level qualification they will set 2 exams at the end of Year 13:

Component 1: Physical Geography – the exam will last 2 hours and 30 minutes and it wil be marked out of 120. The exam will account for 40% of the final A-level.

This exam is made up of 3 sections:

  • Section A: Water and carbon cycles

  • Section B: Hot deserts and landscapes or Coastal systems and landscapes or Glacial systems and landscapes

  • Section C: Hazards or Ecosystems under stress

Component 2: Human Geography - the exam will last 2 hours and 30 minutes and it will be marked out of 120. The exam will account for 40% of the final A-level.

The exam is made of 3 sections:

  • Section A: Global systems and global governance

  • Section B: Changing places

  • Section C: Contemporary urban environments or Population and the environment or Resource security.

Component 3: Geography fieldwork investigation – students will complete an individual investigation which must include data collected in the field. The individual investigation must be based on a question or issue defined and developed by the student relating to any part of the specification content.

  • 3000-4000 words

  • 60 marks

  • 20% of A-level

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