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Current Teaching Staff:
Mr G Neighbour FGS - Head of Department

Curriculum Intent:
To instil a sense of wonder about ‘how the Earth works’: its structure, evolution and dynamics, and its mineral and energy resources and to introduce a branch of science which is a national and international shortage area, so that students can aim for careers or further study in this internationally high demand area

Tweets from @TGGSGeology

Subject Overview

Geology is taught as a GCSE subject in twilight sessions at key stage 4. It is an exciting and stimulating subject that studies the science of not only the planet we live on, but the geology of other planets as well. Study the subject and embark on a "Journey of Discovery" into the world around you.

The subject is also offered at Advanced Level – please see the link below.

Like all forms of science, we study geology to make new discoveries. But we also study it in order to look at some of the most important issues in society today including energy sources and sustainability, climate change, the impacts of developments on the environment, water management, mineral resources and natural hazards. The course provides students with an up-to-​date view of what Geology is all about, both in an academic sense and in relation to employment. It underpins the provision of resources to the UK’s population and industry, delivers a wide range of essential services, and helps us understand how we can live more sustainably on our planet.

Throughout the course the emphasis is very much on practical learning in a group context, though there are ample opportunities for students to display their own individual skills and learning.  Learning in a personalised way will be at the core of the subject, with the teacher taking the role of a guide rather than the font of all knowledge.  The subject lends itself perfectly to this type of learning, given that good observation is the key to things geological. Students will learn how to think differently – they will start thinking like a Geoscientist!  

The GCSE Geology course is focused not only on excellent classroom lessons, but also on the fieldwork opportunities available as part of the course. As a compulsory part of the course there are five fieldwork events:

In year 10 - [1]. An introduction to fieldwork at Cawsand and Kingsand, southeast Cornwall, [2] Sedimentary Environments and Structural Geology at Widemouth Bay, north Cornwall and [3]. Igneous and Sedimentary Environments in Waterside Cove, Paignton. In Year 11, the students have two further fieldwork opportunities, [4]. Investigating the Metamorphic Aureole of west Dartmoor, and [5]. Palaeoenvironments in north Somerset.

In addition to these fieldwork opportunities, additional opportunities are offered such as visits to the Camborne School of Mines Test Mine in west Cornwall, the Etches Collection in Kimmeridge.

Students also have the opportunity to partake in competitions such as the Geological Society (South West Regional Group) Schools Competition and Workshop, as well as various challenges from the Earth Science Teachers Association.

Finally, the students have the opportunity to participate and join in with a number of talks from professionals and academics from the world of Geology, which in the past have included talks from scientists from INGV (Istituto Nazionale Di Geofisica E Vulcanologia) in Italy, the Laboratoire Géoazur, Université Côte d'Azur, as well as a variety of university departments in the UK and abroad.


SMSC is covered on a school wide basis, with SMSC presentations shared with the wider school community to mark particular highlights through the year, for example International Geodiversity Day. Links to both PSHE and Ethics are built into the curriculum to enable students to debate moral and ethical problems for example the issues around mining and extraction of raw materials.

British Values

Open and free debate is encouraged in the subject allowing the students to understand and embrace the fundamental British values of Respect and Tolerance, as well as Individual Liberty


Students are encouraged to read around the subject and there is a well-stocked section in the school library devoted to Geology. In addition, the students have access to the departmental SharePoint where recommended reading is also listed.


Students are encouraged to debate and to discuss issues around Geology and the impact of studying the subject in the wider world.


The schemes of work have been constructed in such a way that the Geology is taught in an applied way, with the discussion of opportunities in the sector frequently discussed.

The department has built links with universities and other Institutes of Higher Education from across the UK, Europe and the World, which allow students to benefit from talks and workshops from leading academics.

Students are also encouraged to attend talks from the Geological Society (from the southwest regional group) which allows them to network and find out about work experience opportunities. Talks and opportunities to hear from professionals are also supported with talks for example from scientists working for the INGV (Istituto Nazionale Di Geofisica E Vulcanologia) in Italy and the Deutschen GeoForschungsZentrums Potsdam in Germany.

Workplace visits are arranged and students from across KS4 and KS5 are encouraged to take the opportunities offered with for instance Tungsten West (Hemerdon, Plymouth), Sibelco (Newton Abbot) and Imerys (Newton Abbot). Students are encouraged to seek work experience with our local Geoscience organisations.

Students are also encouraged to apply for and to participate in the International Earth Science Olympiad – (

An annual Christmas Earth Science lecture is delivered each year by a leading academic and is well attended by both students and parents.

Government Shortage Occupation List – August 2023


Occupation code

Job types included on the shortage occupations list

Areas of the UK where there is a shortage


Physical scientists:
engineering geologist

England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland


Physical scientists –the following jobs in the oil and gas industry:
technical services manager in the decommissioning and waste areas of the nuclear industry
senior resource geologist and staff geologist in the mining sector
Mining Engineers

England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland


Civil engineers – all jobs

England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland


Rock Head Sciences 
International GeoScience Education Organisation
International Earth Science Olympiad | International Geoscience Education Organisation (

Character skills

The curriculum has been carefully mapped to the Essential Skills from the Skillsbuilder Partnership ( and students are encouraged to engage in developing the skills required through a range of opportunities.

Students are assisted in becoming ambassadors for the subject and are encouraged to contribute to the development of the programme of workshops and talks.

Dedicated and focused support is offered to students who wish to pursue the subject further, whether here at TGGS or with another provider, with a bespoke Oxbridge program in place for students wishing to pursue Geology at Oxford or Natural Sciences (Earth Science) at Cambridge.

Rock Head Sciences 
International GeoScience Education Organisation
Mars InSight Mission