Mission Statement

The Geography Department at Loreto College Cavan seeks to allow students to develop an understanding and appreciation of their physical and human surroundings. The interrelationships between the physical and human environments will be explored. Students will develop geographical skills necessary to analyse issues at local, national and international levels. Learning through experience is encouraged and the goals of self-esteem, self-discipline and self-fulfilment are promoted.

Subject Aims

The Geography Department in Loreto College Cavan aims;

• To promote awareness of the spatial patterns of environmental phenomena, both natural and cultural.
• To develop an understanding of natural, social and economic processes.
• To develop an understanding of complex interactions in the world and their constant changes.
• To encourage to be sensitive to awareness of their own country and elsewhere.
• To contribute to students understanding of current issues.
• To encourage students to develop their natural curiosity.
• To develop organised thinking and cognitive abilities.
• To improve numeracy and literacy in all students.

Subject Objectives


Students should be encouraged to develop understanding of the:
• Physical environment
• Social and cultural phenomena
• Interactions and effects of the interactions of physical, cultural, social and economic phenomena.
• The nature and diversity of physical and cultural environments in Ireland and elsewhere.


Students should develop the following skills:
• Figure Drawing/Interpretation
• Map Drawing/Interpretation
• Photograph Analysis
• Investigative Skills
• Presentation skills
• Communication skills
• Social Skills – e.g. team work
• Information Technology Skills

Junior Cycle:

Geography is a compulsory subject up to the end of the Junior Certificate examination. Three lessons per week are taught from 1st year through to third year.

Junior Cycle Geography focuses on providing students with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, values and behaviours that allow students to explore their world. The new Junior Cycle Geography specification was introduced into schools in September 2018.

The study of junior cycle geography enables students to become geographically literate. It develops knowledge, skills, values and behaviours that allow students to explore the physical world, human activities, and how we interact with our world. It stimulates curiosity, creating opportunities for students to read, analyse, synthesise and communicate about their immediate environment and wider world.

Learning Outcomes
The learning to be experienced by students in Junior Cycle Geography is described in learning outcomes. These are statements that describe the knowledge, understanding, skills and values students should be able to demonstrate after their three years of Junior Cycle. There are 28 learning outcomes across the three strands and teachers select learning outcomes from across the strands in first, second and third year.

Structure of the Specification



The specification is informed by the concept of Geoliteracy. This refers to students’ ability to develop far-reaching understandings through geographical thinking and reasoning. The core components of Geoliteracy are the three I’s:

• Interactions
• Interconnections
• Implications


There are three interconnected strands:

• Exploring the physical world
• Exploring how we interact with the physical world
• Exploring people, place and change


The elements inform how students will experience the learning outcomes within the strands. Students will approach the learning outcomes through the lens of each of the elements.

• Processes, patterns, systems and scale
• Geographical skills
• Sustainability

Assessment and the learning journey

Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement
The assessment of geography for the purposes of the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) will comprise two Classroom-Based Assessments. In addition, the second Classroom-Based Assessment will be followed by a written Assessment Task that will be prepared and marked, along with a final examination, by the State Examinations Commission.

Classroom Based Assessment

Classroom Based Assessment 1: Geography in the news

• Structured inquiry through a response to a recent geographical event
• At the end of a three-week period students will report on their inquiry.
• Reports may be presented in a wide range of formats • Completed in the second term of second year

Classroom Based Assessment 2: My geography

• Structured inquiry into a geographical aspect(s) in a local area
• Students will, over a three week period, investigate an aspect of geography in a local area
• Completed in the first term of third year

After completion of each CBA, a Subject Learning and Assessment Review (SLAR) meeting takes place providing teachers with the opportunity to share samples of their assessment of student work and build a common understanding about the quality of student learning.

Assessment Task

On completion of the second Classroom-Based Assessment, students will undertake an Assessment Task. It will be marked by the State Examinations Commission and will be allocated 10% of the marks used to determine the final examination grade awarded by the SEC.

Final Examination

There will be one examination paper at a common level, set and marked by the State Examinations Commission (SEC). The examination will be no longer than two hours in duration and will take place in June of third year.

Senior Cycle:

The Leaving Certificate geography course follows on from Junior Cycle geography, covering similar topics as well as new topics in more detail. Leaving Certificate geography will help students develop an understanding of the changing relationships between the physical and human worlds. Through their study of geography, students will develop geographical skills that will help them to make informed judgements about issues at local, national and international levels.

Higher level students are required to study:
Core Unit 1 Patterns and processes in the physical environment
Core Unit 2 Regional geography
Core Unit 3 Geographical Investigation and Skills

Elective Unit 4 Patterns and processes in economic activities
Elective Unit 5 Patterns and processes in the human environment

One of the following four optional areas of study
Optional Unit 6 Global interdependence
Optional Unit 7 Geoecology
Optional Unit 8 Culture and identity
Optional Unit 9 The atmosphere—ocean Environment

Ordinary level students are required to study:

Core Unit 1 Patterns and processes in the physical environment
Core Unit 2 Regional geography
Core Unit 3 Geographical Investigation and Skills
Elective Unit 4 Patterns and processes in economic activities
Elective Unit 5 Patterns and processes in the human environment

Geographical Investigation

In Loreto College Cavan, we place a focus on active learning. As part of the geographical investigation of the course, 5th year students travel to Tanagh Outdoor Education Centre, Co. Cavan and actively participate and interact in groups and teams to investigate the river’s processes of erosion, transportation and deposition. All students gain first-hand experience in conducting such an investigation and acquire the skills to analyse, interpret and represent the data and findings they collected. The geographical investigation is a core area of study and as such is compulsory for all students. Field studies and investigations using primary and secondary sources are central to the geographical education and experience of all students. The investigation will allow the student to experience the practical application of the core geographical skills that are central to all units of the syllabus. The geographical investigation will allow the student to experience the key aims of the syllabus in the context of their own environment. This is done by our students at the end of Fifth Year and is worth 20% of their Leaving Cert exam. This is done in the local environment and works on both Practical skills as well as social skills such as team building.

Leaving Certificate Examination

Assessment will take the form of a written examination and a report on the geographical investigation.
There will be a separate written examination for Higher and for Ordinary level students.
The terminal written examination will have an assessment weighting of 80%.
The report on the geographical investigation will have an assessment weighting of 20%.
The Paper is 2 hours and 50 minutes
The written examination will consist of questions requiring short answers and multi-part questions requiring more developed answers.
Longer essay-style discursive answers will be required only in the optional units at Higher Level.

Career Opportunities

There are many career opportunities available to students who study geography for their leaving certificate. Some of which include;
• Marketing
• Tourism
• Agriculture
• Outdoor leisure
• Oceanography
• Environmental science
• Anthropology
• Development studies
• International aid / NGO work
• Community development
• Local government planning
• Weather and climate analyst
• Land surveyor
• Teaching (Primary/ Post-primary / TEFL)
• Urban planning
• GIS specialist
• Landscape architect