Geography is the subject that is the key to our future!

Throughout the Geography course there is an emphasis on investigating as broad a range of situations and places as possible. These are studied and compared using a wide range of techniques that include traditional geographic methods such as cartography and statistics, and results are presented using a variety of media. Class discussion plays a large part of developing pupil awareness of geographical and citizenship issues and this is complemented by investigative work, fieldwork in every year group and the use of information technology whenever appropriate.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9)

Throughout Years 7 to 9 pupils study a range of topics covering physical and human geography:

Year 7

  • About the UK
  • Settlement and mapping
  • Rivers and flooding
  • Earning a living

Year 8

  • Population
  • Weather and climate
  • Urbanisation and world cities
  • Coasts

Year 9

  • Natural hazards (earthquakes, volcanoes, tropical revolving storms)
  • Our warming planet-climate change
  • Nigeria – a country of contrasts
  • Global issues-rainforests under threat, sustainable tourism, plastic in the oceans

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 to 11)

We follow the AQA GCSE Geography course. This gives a wide and interesting blend of geographical themes, both human and physical, and is an excellent extension to the foundation built in the Lower School.

Trips and visits

Fieldwork takes place each year to enhance what geographers learn in the classroom:

  • Year 7: combined Geography and Mathematics trip to Littleover and Derby
  • Year 8: Trent Washlands
  • Year 9: Castleton, Peak District
  • Years 10 and 11: Hornsea and Stratford-upon-Avon.


Derby Grammar School - history
Year 10 trip to Hadrian’s Wall

History is a subject that fires the curiosity and imagination of pupils. It is the aim of our course to harness enquiring minds, to impart a body of knowledge and understanding of the past and to

lead pupils to a better understanding of the world they live in. The syllabus gives pupils a broad chronological overview as well as a depth of understanding. They are encouraged to ask important questions, evaluate evidence, identify and analyse different interpretations of the past, and learn to substantiate any arguments they make.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9)

The Year 7 to 9 syllabus is designed to give pupils a broad chronological understanding. A full understanding of the modern world requires understanding of development across many different periods. Our pupils are encouraged to see how these periods are connected into a whole.

  • In Year 7 pupils trace the foundations of human history from the earliest times to the middle ages: The spread of humans across the planet; the neolithic revolution and agriculture; the origins of civilization; the rise and fall of the ancient empires and the nature of medieval society.
  • In Year 8 pupils focus on the ‘Early Modern’ period (1500-1700). They will learn about the impact of exploration and the creation of the first global trade networks and the growth of new ideas in the scientific revolution and the reformation.
  • Year 9 brings pupils up to today with the ‘Modern Revolution’ (1700-2000). They will learn about political revolution and reform, the creation of modern industrial societies, colonialism and the changing nature of warfare in the twentieth century

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 to 11)

We follow the OCR (B) Schools History Project course at GCSE. This offers a breadth of historical topics and periods and will engage pupils in historical enquiry to develop as independent learners. Topics studied include:

  • The Norman Conquest 1065–1087: an in depth study into the complex of political, military, religious economic and social forces in England in the 11th century.
  • The People’s Health 1250–present: a thematic study to help pupils understand change and continuity, making comparisons between different periods.
  • The Making of America 1789 – 1900: a period study which follows the story of the United States from its creation to becoming a world power, including its westward expansion, Civil War and the legacy of slavery.
  • Living Under Nazi Rule 1933 – 1945: this in-depth study will help pupils understand the impact of Nazi dictatorship in Germany and occupied Europe.
  • History Around Us – Hadrian’s Wall: a study of this site and its varied history. This includes a field investigation in Year 10.

Religious Studies (RS)

Religion, philosophy and ethics has played a significant role in shaping our values, history and culture. In teaching this subject, the aim is always to encourage pupils to ask questions, explore issues and to seek to understand the world around them.  

Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9)

In Years 7 and 8 pupils cover an introduction to the six main world religions. In Year 7 the focus is on Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, looking at the origins and founding figures, main beliefs and practices, religious texts, buildings and the customs. In Year 8 the focus is on Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

In Year 9 pupils consider a number of twentieth century topics in which religion has been a significant influence. These include the period of the Raj in India, culminating with the life of Gandhi and the country’s independence, aswell as the Holocaust and the ending of the slave trade.

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 to 11)

The GCSE Religious Studies course covers three key areas:

  • Christianity
  • Islam and religion
  • Philosophy and ethics in the modern world from a Christian perspective.

Trips and visits

Aspects of religion feature in a number of trips and visits that run across the whole curriculum, and aren’t always badged as RS trips, for example, visits to concentration camps during the German exchange. Sites of religious significance have been included in classics trips to Italy and Greece.

During the GCSE course pupils visit various places of worship to enhance their learning.