Geography at Ampleforth

Geography is an essential component in preparing young people for life in the twenty-first century. As the pace of change quickens, communications get faster and challenges to the environment multiply, a knowledge and understanding of geography is more vital than ever.

Geography is unique in its study of human and physical patterns and the interaction of people and their environment in shaping the landscape. It also makes a wider contribution to the curriculum in the skills and personal development and also the moral, social and cultural development it fosters.

Through fieldwork and the teaching styles employed we foster the key skills of decision making, problem solving and working with others. The department is also well resourced in ICT with a suite of networked computers, data projectors and interactive whiteboards in each room.

Geography is recognised as the main vehicle for the delivery of Education for Sustainable Development, now an established cross-curricular theme. We also contribute to the provision of Citizenship education by investigating the interdependence of places and how geographical processes cause interactions on a variety of scales - local actions resulting in global effects.


Fieldwork is central to geography at Ampleforth and to geographical study in general. Geography is essentially the study of the real world and therefore students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in as many different environments as possible. They can investigate first hand the physical environments studied and the human environments created by the interaction of people with the environment. Through this the students gain an insight into the way geographical knowledge has been developed and learn the skills essential to undertake geographical enquiry.

The department gives great importance to fieldwork in the geographical education of students and also their personal and social development. Students can develop their key skills of teamwork, problem solving and decision making. We lead residential field courses in the Lake District, the Holderness Coast and the North Yorkshire Moors and local field visits to the Yorkshire Dales and in the Ampleforth Valley. In addition, we run a biannual trip abroad, including previous trips to Iceland, Malaysia and Namibia.

The Secondary Geography Quality Mark

In September 2017, Ampleforth College was awarded the Secondary Geography Quality mark (SGQM).  The SGQM is a prestigious award which recognises quality and progress in geography leadership, curriculum development and learning and teaching in schools. All the award winners undergo a rigorous moderation process, and the team of assessors were hugely impressed by the manner in which all are continuing to embrace new and innovative approaches to teaching geography. The SGQM recognises student attainment, progress and achievement in geographical knowledge, understanding, values and skills, and sets expectations about the quality of teaching in geography. It promotes effective subject leadership and management, helping subject leaders raise the standards of geography in their schools.

The department aims to:

  • Ensure excellent standards of achievement across the whole ability range in geography.
  • Engender good attitudes towards work and foster a desire to appreciate the learning process.
  • Through specific management of people and resources provide a curriculum that is challenging, interesting and relevant to current needs of society and which satisfies the requirements of both College, Examination Boards and National demands.
  • Support College structures and liaise with the Acting Head and Tutors to provide for the full development of students.