Geography - A level

Studying geography at A level provides students with an unrivalled opportunity to deepen their understanding of the socio-economic and environmental world in which they live. Geography spans the divide between arts and science disciplines complementing the study of a wide range of subjects.

Studying tectonic processes and hazards along with landscape processes and the water and carbon cycles allows student to understand how planet earth works. While an in-depth investigation of contemporary issues such as the impact of superpowers and emerging superpowers on the global economy, global politics and the environment, equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to make sense of their own fast changing world. 

In addition the study of geography provides students with a range of transferable skills which are in high demand by employers and required for study at degree level.

At its heart, geography is a practical subject and students will need to produce a report for an independent investigation based on fieldwork. Four full days of fieldwork are built into the programme of study. There will be opportunities to investigate sand dune ecosystems, river flooding and urban regeneration as well as time to process samples and data in the laboratory.

Geography has allowed me to satisfy my natural curiosity about the way the world works.
Matthew McCormack, Year 12 student

Year 12

Learning outcomes

Students follow the Edexcel A level specification which encourages students to gain enjoyment, satisfaction and a sense of achievement as they develop their knowledge and understanding of the subject. This A Level course will enable students to be inspired by their geographical understanding, to engage critically with real world issues and places, and to apply their geographical knowledge, theory and skills to the world around them. Students will grow as independent thinkers and as informed and engaged citizens, who understand the role and importance of geography as one of the key disciplines relevant to understanding the world’s changing peoples, places and environments.

Topics taught

  • Tectonic processes and hazards
  • Why do natural hazards become disasters?
  • Governance and natural hazards
  • Hazard management theoretical models
  • Coastal landscapes and systems
  • Geology and the coast
  • Coastal erosion, transportation and deposition
  • Sea level changes and coastal flooding
  • Managing coasts in a holistic way
  • Understanding globalisation
  • Switched on and switched off worlds
  • The global shift: winners and losers
  • Global interconnections and the development gap
  • Consequences, ethics and sustainability
  • Investigating places
  • Changing places – London’s East End
  • Investigating the need for regeneration
  • Regenerating rural and urban places
  • How successful is regeneration and who are the key players?

Year 13

Learning outcomes

Year 13 is an engaging and contemporary issues-based approach which offers an issues-based approach to studying geography, enabling students to explore and evaluate contemporary geographical questions and issues such as the consequences of globalisation, responses to hazards, water insecurity and climate change. The content gives students the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of physical and human geography, the complexity of people and environment questions and issues, and to become critical, reflective and independent learners. Content is framed by enquiry questions that encourage an investigative and evaluative approach to learning. It will encourage students to make links between different geographical themes, ideas and concepts through synoptic themes embedded in the compulsory content.

In addition, students are required to carry out a minimum of 4 days fieldwork investigating contemporary issues based on human and physical geography. Students design their own hypothesis to investigate through the use of quantitative geographical skills, including developing observation skills, measurement and geo-spatial mapping skills, together with data manipulation and statistical skills applied for field measurement.

Topics taught

  • The global hydrological cycle
  • Water balance and river regimes
  • Surpluses and deficits within the hydrological system
  • Water insecurity – causes, consequences and managing supplies
  • The carbon cycle
  • Energy security
  • Fossil fuels and the alternatives
  • Threats to the carbon and water cycles
  • Responding to climate change
  • What is a superpower and the emerging superpowers?
  • Global networking and key players
  • Superpowers and the environment
  • Challenges for the future
  • Migration identify and sovereignty
  • Causes and consequences of migration
  • Nation states and borders
  • The role of the UN and IGOs
  • National identity and disunity

Using geographical skills including:

  • Complex data sets and scaling
  • Using logarithmic scales
  • Correlation techniques
  • Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient
  • Chi-squared and student t-test
The main reason I chose to study geography at A level is because it gives me an insight into the reasons behind important world events. I also receive a lot of support from the geography staff who are extremely helpful.
Courtney Stewart, Year 12 student