Subject Leader: Mrs N Williams

If you wish to learn more about our curriculum please contact the Subject Lead by clicking on their name above.

Key Stage 4

GCSE Geography A (2016) KS4 (Years 9-11)

Exam Board: AQA

Course Overview

This course consists of three externally examined papers:

Component 1: Living with the physical environment (35% of the qualification)
Content overview:

  • The challenge of natural hazards

  • The living world

  • Physical landscapes in the UK

  • Geographical skills

Component 2: Challenges in the human environment (35% of the qualification)
Content overview:

  • Urban issues and challenges

  • The changing economic world

  • The challenge of resource management

  • Geographical skills

Component 3: Geographical applications. (30% of the qualification)
Content overview:

  • Issue Evaluation

  • Fieldwork

  • Geographical skills

The aims and objectives of this qualification are to enable students to build on their Key Stage 3 knowledge and skills to:

  • Develop and extend their knowledge of locations, places, environments and processes, through different scales, including global, regional and local and of social, economic, environmental, political and cultural contexts (know geographical material).

  • Gain understanding of the interactions between people and environments, change in places and processes over space and time, and the interrelationship between geographical phenomena at different scales and in different contexts (think like a geographer).

  • Develop and extend their competence in a range of skills including those used in fieldwork, in using maps and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and in researching secondary evidence, including digital sources, and develop their competence in applying sound enquiry and investigative approaches to questions and hypotheses (study like a geographer).

  • Apply geographical knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches appropriately and creatively to real world contexts, including fieldwork, contemporary situations and issues, and develop well-evidenced arguments drawing on their geographical knowledge and understanding (applying geography).

Assessment: 100% examination

Key Stage 5

A Level Geography (Years 12-13)

Key Stage 5

A Level Geography (Years 12-13)

Exam Board: AQA

Course Overview

This qualification is linear. Linear means that students will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessment at the end of the course.

Students sit two papers – one on physical geography and one on human geography.  There is also the NEA based on 4 days of fieldwork.

Component 3.1: Physical Geography(40% of the qualification)
Content overview:

  • Carbon and water cycles

This section of our specification focuses on the major stores of water and carbon at or near the Earth’s surface and the dynamic cyclical relationships associated with them. These are major elements in the natural environment and understanding them is fundamental to many aspects of physical geography.

This section specifies a systems approach to the study of water and carbon cycles. The content invites students to contemplate the magnitude and significance of the cycles at a variety of scales, their relevance to wider geography and their central importance for human populations. 

  • Coastal systems and landscapes

This section of our specification focuses on coastal zones, which are dynamic environments in which landscapes develop by the interaction of winds, waves, currents and terrestrial and marine sediments. The operation and outcomes of fundamental geomorphological processes and their association with distinctive landscapes are readily observable. In common with water and carbon cycles, a systems approach to study is specified.

Student engagement with subject content fosters an informed appreciation of the beauty and diversity of coasts and their importance as human habitats. 

  • Hazards

This optional section of our specification focuses on the lithosphere and the atmosphere, which intermittently but regularly present natural hazards to human populations, often in dramatic and sometimes catastrophic fashion. By exploring the origin and nature of these hazards and the various ways in which people respond to them, students are able to engage with many dimensions of the relationships between people and the environments they occupy. 

Component 3.2: Human Geography(40% of the qualification)
Content overview:

  • Global Systems, Global Governance

This section of our specification focuses on globalisation – the economic, political and social changes associated with technological and other driving forces which have been a key feature of global economy and society in recent decades.

Increased interdependence and transformed relationships between peoples, states and environments have prompted more or less successful attempts at a global level to manage and govern some aspects of human affairs. Students engage with important dimensions of these phenomena with particular emphasis on international trade and access to markets and the governance of the global commons. Students contemplate many complex dimensions of contemporary world affairs and their own place in and perspective on them. 

  • Changing Places

This section of our specification focuses on people's engagement with places, their experience of them and the qualities they ascribe to them, all of which are of fundamental importance in their lives. Students acknowledge this importance and engage with how places are known and experienced, how their character is appreciated, the factors and processes which impact upon places and how they change and develop over time. Through developing this knowledge, students will gain understanding of the way in which their own lives and those of others are affected by continuity and change in the nature of places which are of fundamental importance in their lives.

Study of the content must be embedded in two contrasting places, one to be local. The local place may be a locality, neighbourhood or small community either urban or rural. A contrasting place is likely to be distant – it could be in the same country or a different country but it must show significant contrast in terms of economic development and/or population density and/or cultural background and/or systems of political and economic organisation.

  • Contemporary Urban Environments

This optional section of our specification focuses on urban growth and change which are seemingly ubiquitous processes and present significant environmental and social challenges for human populations. The section examines these processes and challenges and the issues associated with them, in particular the potential for environmental sustainability and social cohesion. Engaging with these themes in a range of urban settings from contrasting areas of the world affords the opportunity for students to appreciate human diversity and develop awareness and insight into profound questions of opportunity, equity and sustainability. 

Component 3.3: Fieldwork NEA – (20% of the qualification)
Content overview:

  • Fieldwork – NEA 

All students are required to undertake fieldwork in relation to processes in both physical and human geography. Students must undertake four days of fieldwork during their A-level course. Fieldwork can be completed in a number of ways: locally or further afield, on full days or on part days. Schools and colleges will be required to confirm that all A-level geography students have been given an opportunity to fulfil this requirement.

Students are required to undertake an independent investigation. This must incorporate a significant element of fieldwork. The fieldwork undertaken as part of the individual investigation may be based on either human or physical aspects of geography, or a combination of both. They may incorporate field data and/or evidence from field investigations collected individually or in groups. What is important is that students work on their own on contextualising, analysing and reporting of their work to produce an independent investigation with an individual title that demonstrates required fieldwork knowledge, skills and understanding.

Assessment: 80% examination, 20% NEA

Curriculum Content

Year 7

Term 1+2 - What can we learn from maps?
Term 3 - How are the UK and world populations changing?  
Term 4 - What is weather and how does it affect us?
Term 5 - What happens where the land meets the sea?
Term 6 - What impacts employment and the economy in the UK?                        
Term 6 - What are the UK’s social and environmental problems and how can we solve them?

Year 8

Term 1 - What challenges will we face in creating an equal world?
Term 2 - Why is the living world important?
Term 3 - How does Africa’s geography present challenges and opportunities for its population?
Term 4 - How have UK landscapes been shaped by rivers and glaciers?
Term 5 - What makes the Middle East a significant world region?
Term 6 - How and why are global cities changing?
Term 6 - How can we use GIS to analyse, view and interpret places?

Year 9

Term 1 - How does life vary for people living in Asia?
Term 2 - How does Russia’s geography present human and physical challenges?
Term 3+4 - Will natural hazards always control our lives?
Term 5 - How do people live with weather hazards?
Term 6 - How are people living with climate change?
Term 6 - How do we carry out a geographical enquiry around the local area?

Year 10

Term 1 -· How are our coastlines changing?
Term 2 -· How do ecosystems work? and Why are tropical rainforests important and how are they changing?
Term 3 - What are hot deserts and how are they changing?
Term 4 -· How are our rivers changing?
Term 5+6 - How are we living with our urban world?

Year 11

Term 1 - How are we living with our Urban world?
Term 1 - What are geographical skills?
Term 2 - What are the challenges facing the UK and the wider world in terms of resources and how can they be resolved?
Term 3 - How is our economic world changing?·
Term 4 - How do we live with the physical environment?
Term 5 - What are the challenges with the human environment?

Useful Information

Out of School Learning (OSL) and Extra-Curricular Activities

Mondays for year 11
Fridays for year 13

Suggested Revision Guides and Books

Revise AQA GCSE (9-1) Geography revision guide and workbook (Pearson)
CGP - GCSE Knowledge Organiser and Knowledge Retriever Collins GCSE 9-1 Geography Revision Cards

AQA A Level Physical & Human Geography revision guides (Hodder Education)

AQA A Level Physical & Human Geography revision guides (Oxford)

AQA A Level Exam Practice and Skills Revision Guide (Oxford)

Website Links

Seneca Learning - For KS3 and KS4
BBC Bitesize - BBC Bitesize for GCSE