Course Overview

This topical and challenging course is packed with up-to-date, real-life case studies that motivate and absorb pupils, and use Scottish and wider-world examples throughout. There is an investigative approach to geographical issues and topics which encourages pupils to work independently, in addition, a range of engaging exercises help pupils build vital geographical skills and specific activities develop literacy, numeracy and ICT skills.

Course Content

There are three units within the course and these are outlined below:

Physical Environment Unit

Pupils will explore the natural events which have shaped the formation of Scottish and UK physical landscapes, the areas studied will vary from coastal features to glaciated landscapes, from limestone scenery to rivers.  They will also examine the pressures on our natural environment, and through case studies look at solutions to managing and sustaining our unique environment. No physical study of the UK would be complete without acknowledging the role that our weather and climate play in influencing our lives, so pupils also look at  develop a better understanding of why our weather is so unpredictable.           

Human Environment Unit

Pupils will study, compare and contrast the  countries of our planet. Key themes will include  inequality  between the rich and poor nations, world population distribution, reasons for the changes in world population growth , global health and disease, case studies looking at changes in urban and rural landscape in the UK and India. 

Global Issues Unit

Pupils will develop a knowledge and understanding of significant global geographical issues. Topics covered here will be chosen from: climate change and sustainability, natural regions, environmental hazards- earthquakes, volcanoes and tropical storms,  trade and globalisation and development & health. They will also explore strategies being adopted to manage these issues.

Added Value Unit: Geography: Project (National 4)

In this unit, pupils will choose an issue for personal study drawn from physical environments, human environments or global issues topics. They will research their issue and present their findings in the form of a booklet, poster, power point or similar.

Added Value Unit: Geography: Assignment (National 5)

In this unit pupils will choose a geographical issue and write up a research project based on fieldwork. This will give them the opportunity to demonstrate their geographical skills and the project will be marked by the SQA.


A variety of active learning and teaching strategies will be involved , from teacher led explanation and discussion to individual work; paired work ;group work ;fieldwork; researching and presenting information ;interpretation and analysis of various geographical sources of information ; self and peer evaluation of work produced. 


Pupils will receive homework on a regular basis, this might involve finishing off class work, revising for assessments or undertaking research into investigation work.

Assessment Approaches

National 4 courses are internally assessed by the class teacher - there is no final exam to sit.

To achieve an award you must pass the assessment  for each of the three units, plus a research based Added Value Assignment (Geography Project). These units including the project are assessed by the teacher on a pass/fail basis.

To gain the award for National 5, you must sit a final SQA exam and send in your Geography Project for the exam board to mark. You must also pass all the internal assessment for each of the three units. 

So to sum up,  the National 5 course assessment will consist of an exam paper which will account for 75% of your final grade and an Added Value Assignment which will account for 25% of your final grade. The course assessment is graded A-D.

Recording and Reporting

All pupil assessments are routinely graded and recorded by the teacher and the results are stored centrally, these results are used by staff to track the progress of the individuals and ensure that their needs are being met. Pupils also review their own attainment and are encourage to identify ways to improve their learning. Staff report formally to parents as per the school calendar, however any concerns about a pupil's progress would be raised our weekly departmental meeting. After speaking with the pupil, if need be we would contact home by phone or letter, discuss our concern with our Guidance and Support for Learning colleagues or indeed with the Senior Management Team.

Below is some useful information provided to parents & pupils from the National Parent Forum of Scotland

 Pointers for parents & pupils

S4 Course Outline