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Geography AS & A Level at Caterham High School

Course description

There are many challenges facing the world today – global warming, development, increasing exposure to hazards, managing environmental processes, environmental destruction and energy security to name but a few. Geographers are uniquely placed to be able to make sense of these challenges and draw conclusions about how best they should be resolved. They not only understand these challenges but their training in a wide variety of skills makes them so desirable in the world of work. It is this that makes geography so relevant to our lives today. Study in the subject is based on two main principles; the interaction between people and the environment and an enquiry based approach to learning. The Geography Department is well resourced with the required text books and ICT, the latter being necessary for students to be able to use Geographical Information Systems. (GIS). During the course, students are encouraged strongly to subscribe to the specialist magazine Geography Review and attend various conferences.

They are expected to keep an up-to-date scrapbook of geography related news as this is vital for personal research. In addition, students take part in a residential field-course in Slapton, South Devon. This is held during the spring term of Year 12 and it is required for them to be able to complete the Individual Investigation which is an integral part of the ‘A’ Level assessment, accounting for 20% of the final mark. A minimum of four days of fieldwork is a basic requirement of the course.

Course content

There are four core themes studied over two years.

  1. Dynamic landscapes – This area includes tectonic processes and hazards, and Landscape Systems – processes and change in either coastal or glaciated landscapes.
  2. Dynamic Places – including Globalisation and Shaping Places which examines how areas change.
  3. Physical Systems and Sustainability including how the carbon and water cycles influence water and energy security
  4. Human Systems and Geopolitics – examining Superpowers and Global development

Entry requirements

7 GCSE’s at grade A*–C including Maths, English at grade C/grade 4 and Geography.


Two papers each worth 30% of the total mark. These examine the themes listed above.

A synoptic paper worth 20% of the total mark, which bring all the core topics together in an examination of a topical issue. The paper will use three strands, Players, Attitudes and Futures.

Independent Investigation – a project based on data collected during the field-trip. This is worth 20% of the total mark. This project can be based on any aspect of the specification and can be a physical, human or integrated physical/human focu

Future opportunities

Geographers are some of the most employable people on the market and they have one of the lowest rates of unemployment for any new graduates. Caterham geographers have an excellent record for going on to read the subject, or others, at university. Geography is one of the Russell Group’s ‘enabling’ subjects necessary for consideration during the application process. Even if Higher Education is not for you, the respect held for geography will open many doors to a wide variety of careers far too numerous to list. However, it is not just the sheer value of the subject in the jobs market but its relevance to everyone in our world, for it plays a vital role in understanding our place in a fast and ever changing world. For that alone, it should be top of the list.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Caterham High School directly.

Last updated date: 03 January 2017
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