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Geography A Level (Block A) at St John's Catholic Comprehensive School

Course description

Are you interested in how the world works?  Literally?  Then Geography could be the subject for you.

Geography is a pretty unique subject because it looks at both the physical structure of the planet and the social structure (i.e. how we affect our environment and how it affects us) in the past, present and future.

The Geography Department at St John’s is offering you the chance to study topics that show how human intervention affects the environment and how people adapt and lessen the effects of physical processes on their environment, studying how it varies from place to place depending on people's resources, technology and culture.

The course aims to help you:

  • Develop knowledge of locations, places, processes and environments, at all geographical scales from local to global.
  • Develop an in-depth understanding of the selected core and non-core processes in physical and human geography at a range of temporal and spacial scales.
  • Recognise and be able to analyse the complexity of people and appreciate how environmental interactions underpin some of the key issues facing the world today.
  • Develop understanding of, and ability to apply, the concepts of place, space, scale and environment.
  • Gain understanding of specialised concepts such as causality, systems, equilibrium, feedback, inequality, globalisation, migration and adaptation.
  • Improve understanding of the ways in which values, attitudes and circumstances have an impact on the relationships between people, place and the environment and develop the knowledge and ability to engage as citizens.

Course content

Year 12

Tectonic Processes and Hazards

Tectonic hazards – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and secondary hazards such as tsunamis – represent a significant risk in some parts of the world. This is especially the case where active tectonic plate boundaries interact with areas of high population density and low levels of development. Resilience in these places can be low, and the interaction of physical systems with vulnerable populations can result in major disasters. An in-depth understanding of the causes of tectonic hazards is key to both increasing the degree to which they can be managed, and putting in place successful responses that can mitigate social and economic impacts and allow humans to adapt to hazard occurrence.

Globalisation

Globalisation and global interdependence continue to accelerate, resulting in changing opportunities for businesses and people. Inequalities are caused within and between countries as shifts in patterns of wealth occur. Cultural impacts on the identity of communities increase as flows of ideas, people and goods take place. Recognising that both tensions in communities and pressures on environments are likely, will help players implement sustainable solutions.

Coastal Landscapes

Globalisation and global interdependence continue to accelerate, resulting in changing opportunities for businesses and people. Inequalities are caused within and between countries as shifts in patterns of wealth occur. Cultural impacts on the identity of communities increase as flows of ideas, people and goods take place. Recognising that both tensions in communities and pressures on environments are likely, will help players implement sustainable solutions.

Regenerating Places

Globalisation and global interdependence continue to accelerate, resulting in changing opportunities for businesses and people. Inequalities are caused within and between countries as shifts in patterns of wealth occur. Cultural impacts on the identity of communities increase as flows of ideas, people and goods take place. Recognising that both tensions in communities and pressures on environments are likely, will help players implement sustainable solutions.

 

Year 13

The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity

Water plays a key role in supporting life on earth. The water cycle operates at a variety of spatial scales and also at short- and long-term timescales, from global to local. Physical processes control the circulation of water between the stores on land, in the oceans, in the cryosphere, and the atmosphere. Changes to the most important stores of water are a result of both physical and human processes. Water insecurity is becoming a global issue with serious consequences and there is a range of different approaches to managing water supply.

The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security

A balanced carbon cycle is important in maintaining planetary health. The carbon cycle operates at a range of spatial scales and timescales, from seconds to millions of years. Physical processes control the movement of carbon between stores on land, the oceans and the atmosphere. Changes to the most important stores of carbon and carbon fluxes are a result of physical and human processes. Reliance on fossil fuels has caused significant changes to carbon stores and contributed to climate change resulting from anthropogenic carbon emissions. The water and carbon cycles and the role of feedbacks in and between the two cycles, provide a context for developing an understanding of climate change. Anthropogenic climate change poses a serious threat to the health of the planet. There is a range of adaptation and mitigation strategies that could be used, but for them to be successful they require global agreements as well as national actions.

Superpowers

Superpowers can be developed by a number of characteristics. The pattern of dominance has changed over time. Superpowers and emerging superpowers have a very significant impact on the global economy, global politics and the environment. The spheres of influence between these powers are frequently contested, resulting in geopolitical implications.

Migration, Identity and Sovereignty

Globalisation involves movements of capital, goods and people. Tensions can result between the logic of globalisation, with its growing levels of environmental, social and economic interdependence among people, economies and nation states and the traditional definitions of national sovereignty and territorial integrity. International migration not only changes the ethnic composition of populations but also changes attitudes to national identity. At the same time, nationalist movements have grown in some places challenging dominant models of economic change and redefining ideas of national identity. Global governance has developed to manage a number of common global issues (environmental, social, political and economic) and has a mixed record in its success in dealing with them. It has promoted growth and political stability for some people in some places whilst not benefiting others. Unequal power relations have tended to lead to unequal environmental, social and economic outcomes.

 

 

Entry requirements

A minimum of 5 subjects at A* to B (Grade 5 or higher), including a Level 6 in GCSE Geography.

Assessment

Paper 1 - 2 hours 15 minutes

Paper 2 - 2 hours 15 minutes

Paper 3 - 2 hours 15 minutes

Independent Investigation - 3000-4000 words - internally assessed, externally moderated.

Future opportunities

You could take this course with other advanced level courses such as Travel and Tourism or Health and Social Care, to prepare for higher education in areas of Geography, Humanities, Science or more general higher education courses. With further training, you could go on to a job related to geography and work as a Town Planner, Environmental Officer or Weather Forecaster. The course also helps you to develop the basic skills, understanding and knowledge that many employers across lots of industries are looking for. As the subject and this course is so wide-ranging, it is compatible with many other subjects at school and at Higher Education. There are a number of careers which find this a useful and relevant subject including surveying, planning, environmental science, conservation work, water industry, meteorology, oceanography, teaching, transport, travel and tourism, work abroad etc. Obviously other careers will make use of the skills learnt in the subject as well.

Further information

Fieldwork will be an essential part of your A Level course.  You will get to go on a four-day fieldtrip across the 2 years to experience a very different environment to the one where you live.  For example, you will visit a coastal and regenerated area to carry out enquiries relating to issues in these environments.

 

Please Note:  This is a two year course and no qualification will be gained if only one year is completed.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 06 November 2018
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