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Geography is a subject for our times; not just intrinsically interesting and valuable, but inherently multidisciplinary in its approach to understanding and navigating 21st century challenges.

The study of Geography concerns a perceptive and deep description of the world, providing the ‘big ideas’ which help us to organise and attach significance to geographical knowledge and concepts. It is ‘Living Geography’, a framework for thinking about, and seeking explanations for how the world works, leading us to consider alternative futures.

In our approach, the department aims to underpin a lifelong conversation about the earth as the home of humankind. It is unique in its study of human and physical patterns and the interaction of people and their environment in shaping the landscape.

Compatible with the Benedictine tradition, the study of Geography allows young people to reflect upon their everyday experiences growing up and coping with a changing world, linking family, faith and intellectual thought. It also makes a wider contribution to the curriculum in the skills and personal, moral, social and cultural development it fosters. Providing a long term perspective on what has happened in the past, it gives students a local and global sense of place and an appreciation of the challenges that will shape our societies and environment in the future. 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.

Our dedicated and experienced team of subject specialists work with students to draw from their own experiences and curiosity, to enable them to think geographically about a changing world, so that they will be well-placed to be the decision makers of the future. We encourage them to be active participants, investigators and agents for positive change as global citizens. We seek to develop creative and skilful young geographers who are enthusiastic, aware, resourceful and resilient. This includes the opportunity of learning directly in the untidy real world outside the classroom. Through fieldwork and the teaching styles employed we foster the key skills of decision-making, problem-solving and working with others.


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, and investigate first hand, as many different environments as possible. Through this they gain an insight into the way geographical knowledge has been developed and learn the skills essential to undertake their own geographical enquiries.

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. Award winners undergo a rigorous moderation process, and the team of assessors were hugely impressed by the manner in which the department is 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 strong subject leadership for the continued raising of standards of geographical education.

A Compass for Life

Full Boarding & Day School for students aged 11 to 18