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Students in a geography lesson

We aim to excite, inspire curiosity and fascination about the world, and its people whilst developing an understanding of Human and Physical Geographical processes which shape our planet.

A high-quality geography education should inspire in students a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We aim to equip students with the knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.

Geography is not only up-to-date and relevant, it is one of the most exciting, adventurous and valuable subjects to study today. So many of the world's current problems boil down to geography, and need the geographers of the future to help us understand them.



Why study this subject? 

Geography is a pretty unique subject because it looks at both the physical structure of the planet and the social structure (i.e. how we affect our environment and how it affects us) in the past, present and future. Geography graduates have some of the highest rates of graduate employment. Whilst studying geography, you will not only improve your knowledge and understanding of our subject but develop a range of skills that can be applied to other subjects and careers. Geography is great for any kind of career that involves the environment, planning or collecting and interpreting data. Popular careers for people with geography qualifications include: town or transport planning, surveying, conservation, sustainability, waste and water management, environmental planning, tourism and weather forecasting. The Army, Police, Government, research organisations, law and business world also love the practical research skills that geographers develop. Because geographers learn about human and population development, geography can be useful for jobs in charity and international relations too.

Topics of Study and Assignments 

In Geography we study the following: 

Year 7

The UK’s Place in the World, Rivers, Weather & Climate, Ecosystems, Africa, Global Fashion

Year 8

Amazing Places, Our Restless Planet, Resource Management, Coasts, Geography of Crime

Year 9

Glaciation, then students start their GCSE topics


Students follow the new Edexcel B GCSE Geography 9-1 specification, covering the following topics: Hazardous Earth, Development Dynamics, Challenges of an Urbanising World, The UK's Evolving Physical Landscape, The UK's Evolving Human Landscape, Geographical Investigations (which includes 2 statutory fieldwork investigations: An Urban study of Brighton, and a Coastal study along the Sussex Coast), People and the Biosphere, Forests under Threat, Consuming Energy Resources.

The course is examined with three terminal examinations at the end of Year 11.

​​​BTEC Travel and Tourism

Students follow the BTEC First Award Travel and Tourism and study the following units:

1 The UK Travel and Tourism Sector

2 Travel and Tourism Destinations.

4 International Travel and Tourism Destinations

6 The Travel and Tourism Customer Experience.

The course is examined with a mixture of both internal assignments and an external examination.

The Team

Kate Barnes is Head of Georgraghy.

Lloyd Durbin is a Geography Teacher and is qualified with a BA in Geography and a PGCE. Having lived for most of his adult life in the East End of London, Lloyd has a particular interest in the changing urban and social geography of cities, however his childhood on the Devon coastline has also fostered within him a keen interest in physical landscapes. Lloyd is proud to teach Geography at Varndean, and hopes that he can inspire students to be curious about the human and physical world, and how they interact! 

Adam Michaels has been a Geography teacher for a number of years and is excited to begin his next chapter here at Varndean, having grown up and lived in and around Brighton for most of his life. A keen traveller, he has recently returned form an 8 month trip around South America. His other interests include a love of football and music.

Events and Activities 

The Geography department run a number of extra-curricular activities to both support and engage our students in their learning.

Study Support for GCSE: Daily in F9 from 3.15pm

The David Attenborough Geography Club: Weekly on a Friday in F10 from 3.15pm to 4.30pm

Along with the compulsory field trips for the exam board, we also run an annual GCSE residential trip to Iceland in October half term, and new this year we will have a residential trip to Snowdonia in the Spring. We also have an annual ‘Great Geography Bake Off’ competition in February where students create and decorate a Geographical themed cake, which is kindly judged by Choccywoccydoodah in Brighton.




Twitter: @Varndean_Geog