Skip to content ↓


KS5 (Sixth Form)


We aim to provide a high-quality geography education which should inspire in students a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching should equip students with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As students progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments which will be explored through fieldwork.

Course details


Theme (with topics)



  • Passport to the world

A one off introductory sub-topic to explain the purpose and meaning of geography as well as introducing core ideas and the UK context.


  • Settlement
  • Population and Migration
  • Globalisation

A focus upon human interaction in a variety of places and at a range of scales and the challenges people of different backgrounds face across different parts of the world in deferent contexts.


  • Rising superpowers: India and China
  • The Development Gap

A focus on human geography relating to international development and the current geopolitical climate; economic activity in different sectors; and the use of natural resources.


  • Environmental issues
  • Tectonic hazards
  • Weather hazards

A focus on the understanding of the tectonic, biological and meteorological processes and features in different environments, and the need for management strategies governed by sustainability and consideration of the direct and indirect effects of human interaction with the Earth and the atmosphere.


  • Rivers
  • Coasts
  • Glaciation

A focus on the understanding of the geomorphological processes and features in different environments and the need for management strategies governed by sustainability and consideration of the direct and indirect effects of human interaction with the Earth.


  • Antarctica: the frozen continent
  • Japan
  • Tropical Rainforests – The Amazon

Students should understand geographical similarities, differences and links between places through the study of the human and physical geography of a region.


  • Map skills
  • West End fieldwork
  • Fieldwork Skills


  • The Geography of Conflict

Students should build on their knowledge of globes, maps and atlases, and apply and develop this knowledge as well as interpret Ordnance Survey maps including using grid references and scale, topographical and other thematic mapping, and aerial and satellite photographs.  Ideally they should use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to view, analyse and interpret places and data.  Students should use fieldwork to collect, analyse and draw conclusions from geographical data, using multiple sources of increasingly complex information.

Topical subjects are subject to change.







Students will travel the world from their classroom, exploring case studies in the United Kingdom (UK), higher income countries (HICs), newly emerging economies (NEEs) and lower income countries (LICs). Topics of study include climate change, poverty, deprivation, global shifts in economic power and the challenge of sustainable resource use. Students are also encouraged to understand their role in society, by considering different viewpoints, values and attitudes.

Upon completion of this two year course, students will have the skills and experience to progress onto A Level and beyond. You can find out about all our Geography qualifications at

Our two compulsory trips are to Reading town centre and also Mudeford spit where we respectively look at urban regeneration and coastal processes.

We also run an optional residential to Swanage for our Year 10 cohort each year, where we complete additional fieldwork tasks and take pleasure in writing up the results in the evenings!


Course Details – AQA Geography

Unit 1 - Living with the physical environment

This unit is concerned with the dynamic nature of physical processes and systems, and human interaction with them in a variety of places and at a range of scales. The aims of this unit are to develop an understanding of the tectonic, geomorphological, biological and meteorological processes and features in different environments, and the need for management strategies governed by sustainability and consideration of the direct and indirect effects of human interaction with the Earth and the atmosphere.

Unit 2 - Challenges in the human environment

This unit is concerned with human processes, systems and outcomes and how these change both spatially and temporally. The aims of this unit are to develop an understanding of the factors that produce a diverse variety of human environments; the dynamic nature of these environments that change over time and place; the need for sustainable management; and the areas of current and future challenge and opportunity for these environments.

Unit 3 - Geographical applications

- Section A: Issue evaluation

This section contributes a critical thinking and problem-solving skills.  A resource booklet will be available twelve weeks before the date of the exam so that students have the opportunity to work through the resources, enabling them to become familiar with the material. Sources could include maps at different scales, diagrams, graphs, statistics, photographs, satellite images, sketches, extracts from published materials, and quotes from different interest groups.

- Section B: Fieldwork (NOT controlled assessment)

Fieldwork is an essential aspect of geography. It ensures that students are given the opportunity to consolidate and extend their geographical understanding by relating learning to real experiences of the world.  Students need to undertake two fieldwork enquiries, one physical and one human - they will not be submitted but questions asked about them in the exam.

Geographical skills

In addition, students are required to develop and demonstrate a range of geographical skills, including cartographic, graphical, numerical and statistical skills.

Assessment Objectives required skills and knowledge  


Demonstrate knowledge of locations, places, processes, environments and different scales (15%).


Demonstrate geographical understanding of: concepts and how they are used in relation to places, environments and processes; the interrelationships between places, environments and processes (25%).


Apply knowledge and understanding to interpret, analyse and evaluate geographical information and issues to make judgements (35%, including 10% applied to fieldwork context(s)).


Select, adapt and use a variety of skills and techniques to investigate questions and issues and communicate findings (25%, including 5% used to respond to fieldwork data and context(s)).

How will I be assessed?

Exam Board:    AQA

Specification:   8035

100% Externally marked exam

Exam Papers

% of GCSE


Unit 1: Living with the physical environment

35% of GCSE

• Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes

• 88 marks (including 3 marks for spelling, punctuation, grammar and specialist terminology (SPaG))

Unit 2: Challenges in the human environment

35% of GCSE

• Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes

• 88 marks (including 3 marks for SPaG)

Unit 3: Geographical applications

30% of GCSE

• Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes

• 76 marks (including 6 marks for SPaG)






At Gordon’s our A Level Geography course 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.

The aims and objectives of the A Level enable students to:

  • develop their knowledge of locations, places, processes and environments, at all geographical scales from local to global across the specification as a whole
  • develop an in-depth understanding of the selected core and non-core processes in physical and human geography at a range of temporal and spatial scales, and of the concepts that illuminate their significance in a range of locational contexts
  • recognise and be able to analyse the complexity of people–environment interactions at all geographical scales, and appreciate how they underpin understanding of some of the key issues facing the world today
  • develop their understanding of, and ability to apply, the concepts of place, space, scale and environment, that underpin both the national curriculum and GCSE, including developing a more nuanced understanding of these concepts
  • gain understanding of specialised concepts relevant to the core and non-core content.  These must include the concepts of causality, systems, equilibrium, feedback, inequality,  representation, identity, globalisation, interdependence, mitigation and adaptation,  sustainability, risk, resilience and thresholds
  • improve their understanding of the ways in which values, attitudes and circumstances have an impact on the relationships between people, place and environment, and develop the knowledge and ability to engage, as citizens, with the questions and issues arising (‘circumstances’ in this case refers to the context of people's lives, and the socio-economic and political milieu in which they find themselves)
  • become confident and competent in selecting, using and evaluating a range of quantitative and qualitative skills and approaches, (including observing, collecting and analysing geolocated data) and applying them as an integral part of their studies
  • understand the fundamental role of fieldwork as a tool to understand and generate new knowledge about the real world, and become skilled at planning, undertaking and evaluating fieldwork in appropriate situations
  • apply geographical knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches in a rigorous way to a range of geographical questions and issues, including those identified in fieldwork, recognising both the contributions and limitations of geography  


A squall of Year 13 geographers


Geographically orientated

Course dETAILS


The course is examined at the end of Year 13.

Year 12 (Year 1 - A Level) content

Dynamic landscapes:

  • Topic 1: Dynamic landscapes - Tectonic processes and hazards.
  • Topic 2b: Landscape systems, processes and change - Coastal landscapes and change.

Dynamic Places:

  • Topic 3: Dynamic places - Globalisation
  • Topic 4a: Shaping Places - Regenerating places

Year 13 (Year 2 - A Level) content

Physical systems and sustainability:

  • Topic 5: Physical systems and sustainability - The water cycle and water insecurity
  • Topic 6: Physical systems and sustainability - The carbon cycle and energy security

Human systems and geopolitics:

  • Topic 7: Human systems and geopolitics - Superpowers.
  • Topic 8: Global development and connections - Health, human rights and intervention.


  • Paper 1 Written examination 2 hours and 15 minutes (30% of qualification - 105 marks)
  • Paper 2 Written examination 2 hours and 15 minutes (30% of qualification - 105 marks)
  • Paper 3 Written examination 2 hours and 15 minutes (20% of qualification - 70 marks)


Independent Investigation: A 4000-word fieldwork project using higher level skills. 70 marks and 20% of the A Level.


Paper 1: Dynamic landscapes and Physical systems and sustainability

  • Thirty per cent
  • Section A relates to Topic 1, section B relates to Topic 2. Students answer questions on either

Topic 2A: Glaciated Landscapes and Change or Topic 2B: Coastal Landscapes and Change.

Section C relates to Topic 5: The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity and Topic 6: The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security.

Paper 2: Dynamic place and Human systems and geopolitics

  • Thirty per cent
  • Section A relates to Topics 3 and 7 and section B relates to Topic 4. Students answer questions on

either Topic 4A or 4B. Section C relates to Topic 8. Students answer questions on either Topic 8A: Health, Human Rights and Intervention or Topic 8B: Migration, Identity and Sovereignty.

Paper 3: Geographical Issues analysis

  • Twenty per cent
  • An externally-assessed written examination comprising three sections. A resource booklet will contain information about the geographical issue. Sections A, B and C all draw synoptically on knowledge and understanding from compulsory content drawn from different parts of the course.

Coursework: Independent Investigation

  • Twenty per cent
  • Students are required to undertake an independent investigation that involves (but which need not be restricted to) fieldwork. The focus of the investigation must be derived from the specification the student is studying. The guidance for word length is 3,000-4,000 words.


  • Geography Review – Phillip Allen magazines (Essential)
  • National Geographic Magazine - National Geographic Society
  • Waugh, D (2009): Geography; An integrated Approach, Nelson Thornes



Geography can be a demanding subject.  A GCSE grade 6 in Geography at is required alongside a GCSE grade 6 in Maths and a GCSE grade 5 in English.

Biology usually needed if planning to study Geology at University.

Course details