Access Keys:


Key Stage 3 Overview

In Years 8, 9 and 10 pupils develop an understanding of the world, its cultures, its environment and its places, and the way in which these interact and bring about change. Pupils are encouraged to ask questions about their local and global environments and to investigate key issues such as sustainability and globalisation. A wide range of exciting geographical concepts and skills promote a curiosity for learning and prepare pupils for future studies.

Fieldwork investigations are focused on the local area and are seen as an essential part of Key Stage 3 Geography at Down High School. Fieldwork brings Geography to life and inspires pupils, giving them a desire to learn about new places. Pupils also have the opportunity to travel to Spain as part of the extra-curricular Spanish-Geography fieldtrip to Barcelona which offers fantastic, memorable Geographical experiences.

Collaborative work, with other departments within the school and with outside organisations, provides many opportunities for personal development, leadership and teamwork.


KS3 Geography News

19th Oct 2018
Year 9 Geography pupils travelled to the Mournes and Tipperary Wood to study the...
9th Feb 2018
A-Level students from Down High School recently welcomed representatives from many...
22nd Sep 2017
Year 9 pupils used fieldwork equipment to measure a number of variables at the source...

GCSE Overview

Year 11 field trip to Slemish and the North Antrim Coast

Geography pupils study the CCEA GCSE course. The course consists of Physical and Human Geography units which include the study of Rivers, Coasts, the Atmosphere and Plate Tectonics as well as Population and Settlement Studies, Development and Managing Resources. Many skills are developed throughout the course including ICT and the use of Geographical Information Systems.

Fieldwork takes place in Year 11 and involves collecting data in order to complete a river investigation. Pupils use this information to complete their Controlled Assessment.

A number of popular optional trips have included visits to Slemish and The Causeway Coast and to the Titanic Quarter in Belfast.

Visiting speakers regularly deliver presentations to GCSE and A-Level pupils about their careers linked to Geography and help to promote an understanding of further study opportunities in this subject.


GCSE Geography News

11th Apr 2017
Donald Ferguson, aviation meteorologist, Met Office trainer and STEM ambassador spoke...
30th Mar 2017
AS Travel and Tourism pupils visited the Slieve Donard hotel where the staff led...
9th Mar 2017
Year 11 Geography pupils participated in fieldwork as part of their investigation...

A-Level Overview

Year 13 Fieldwork at Murlough National Nature Reserve

At AS and A2 level pupils follow the CCEA specification. In Year 13 (AS), compulsory modules are studied and pupils undertake a fieldwork investigation at Murlough National Nature Reserve. In Year 14 (A2), the Department offers optional modules in Human Geography covering The Impact of Population Change and Issues in Ethnic Diversity. In Physical Geography modules in Fluvial and Coastal Environments and The Dynamic Earth are followed. At AS and A2 the Department places emphasis on the acquisition of skills including decision-making and pupils attend the Geographical Association Autumn lecture programme at Queen’s University which supports the specification and allows pupils to widen their knowledge base. Extra-curricular trips on offer have included cultural diversity tours of Belfast and excursions to the North coast of Antrim.


ALevel Geography News

6th Oct 2018
A sunny weekend in The Netherlands was enjoyed by Geography and Tourism pupils. We...
14th Mar 2018
Students from the 2 Downpatrick grammar schools joined together to investigate Belfast's...
25th Jan 2018
Representatives from many sectors of the Tourism Industry delivered presentations...


Mrs J. Smyth (Head of Department)

 Mrs. S. Gillespie

 Mr. J. Crutchley

 Mr. M. Irvine

 Mr. K. Williamson




“Geography is a living, breathing subject, constantly adapting itself to change. It is dynamic and relevant. Geography is a great adventure with a purpose. So many of the world's current issues – at a global scale and locally - boil down to Geography, and need the Geographers of the future to help us understand them.”

Michael Palin: Former President of the Royal Geographical Society