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Environmental Studies AS and A level at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School Penrith

Course description

This course examines how human activity affects the environment. How can these impacts be managed to limit the damage caused and to secure healthy surroundings for us and for future generations? These are increasingly urgent issues, relevant across a range of curriculum and policy areas.

Course content

Unit 1: Life support systems and the uniqueness of planet Earth are examined. Ecological principles and the importance of conserving species are illustrated through a number of topics such as biomimetics (mimicking nature). Global biodiversity is under threat and conserving habitats and species is not as easy
as it may appear.

Unit 2: Out of 13,950 peer reviewed studies into climate change, only 24 suggest human activity is not a principal cause. Climate change management and mitigation are highly relevant today. The course also examines ozone depletion, the hydrosphere (water pollution and treatment), biogeochemical cycling and
the environmental costs of mining and quarrying: can these important economic activities be done sustainably?

The course involves fieldwork which will be undertaken locally. Costs will not exceed £50.
Unit 3: The looming energy gap is assessed as well as the benefits and disadvantages of different energy sources. The second part of this unit identifies the properties of pollutants and their effects on life. It assesses pollution sources, pathways and management techniques, identifying how pollutants can be
controlled and their impacts minimised.
Unit 4: This wide ranging unit investigates the population-resource balance-
or imbalance-and the resultant impacts on the planet’s life support systems. It includes an in-depth analysis of agricultural techniques, forestry and fishing. There is a strong synoptic aspect to this unit which poses a significant question: can we live sustainably?

Entry requirements

A grade B in GCSE level Biology is essential.

Future opportunities

Environmental Studies courses are increasingly popular at universities and new legislation means that industry and the public sector are urgently seeking well qualified graduates with a background in the subject.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Queen Elizabeth Grammar School Penrith directly.

Last updated date: 15 August 2016

Key information


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    • The school was founded by Royal Charter in 1564. It was formerly situated in the centre of Penrith near St. Andrew's Church, but moved to the new buildings on its present site in 1915. The main school was extended in 1937 and 1958. The Donald Fay Memorial Building consisting of four Technology rooms and two Information Technology rooms was completed by September 1995 and a new building providing six Science laboratories, four Mathematics rooms and another Technology room was opened in July 1998. In November 2001, the Peter Kremer Sports Hall and four English rooms were completed. Further building work in 2004, 2009 and 2014 has provided additional office space and four classrooms. The extensive playing fields are adjacent to the school.