Geography A Level at Newent Community School and SIxth Form Centre
Geography is highly valued by universities as an A Level choice. The Russell Group report published in 2011 names geography as one of the eight facilitating subjects. This is a subject most likely to be required or preferred for entry to degree courses and choosing facilitating subjects will keep more options open to students at university.
The AS/A2 Level geography course at Newent covers both the physical and human environments and the complex interaction of processes that shape our world. It also, importantly, shows the applied side of the subject - how human intervention affects the environment and how people adapt and mitigate the effects of processes on their environment. This is complex and dynamic and varies from place to place depending on people’s resources, technology and culture. Throughout the course there is plenty of room for discussion and extended research which helps our students become independent thinkers and learners. By the time they get to their exams students are able to show their understanding of a range of opinions and are able to illustrate their answers with case studies from local, national and international examples.
During the course students learn in a wide variety of ways such as by using maps, GIS skills, data analysis, photos, videos, podcasts, twitter as well as attending lectures with the latest research from experts and a 5-day residential field trip. Students are encouraged to frame their own questions using higher level thinking skills and showing their grasp of complex issues through report and essay writing. In Year 12 students study two units. Unit 1 covers topics including global hazards, climate change, globalisation, population change, migration, and megacities. This is examined by a 1hr 30 min exam. Unit 2 covers the topics of ‘Crowded Coasts’ and ‘Rebranding Places’. The exam is 1hr 15 min and expects students to use ideas from fieldwork and research they have done and learnt about on the residential field trip. In Year 13 students study a further two units. Unit 3 covers topics including Energy security, Water conflicts, Biodiversity under threat, Superpower geographies, Bridging the development gap and Technological fix. This unit is examined by a 2hr 30min exam. Unit 4 is a research unit and looks at Tectonic activity and hazards. It is assessed by a 1hr 30min exam.
Geography combines well with both arts and science subjects. You may already be thinking ahead to potential university and career choices so it is worth bearing in mind that geography is a broad based subject that really fits well for your future progression. For example, for careers in sustainability and green issues, urban regeneration, energy supply, retail location, managing the effects of hazards and climate change geography is an obvious choice. For careers in the world of business an understanding of global economics forms an important part of geography. If you are thinking of a career in law, human rights, international relations or welfare then geography gives you the opportunity to consider relevant issues such as; how do we measure development? What are the consequences of migration on societies? If you are aiming at a future course in Medicine or Vet Med then geography is a good choice to give your A Level options the breadth that universities like as you will gain a clear understanding of how the environment affects health and survival of people, animals and ecosystems as well as enhancing your skills of writing essays and extended reports.
Of course many A Level students do not yet have a clear idea of what kind of career they might want to pursue so if this is you then remember that geography as an A level gives you the chance to keep your options open as it covers both arts and science components. It is quite likely that when you choose geography your classmates will all be doing different combinations of A Level subjects – this adds to the interest when it comes to discussions on issues as everyone will have very different ways of thinking and expressing their opinions.
It is highly recommended that you studied Geography at GCSE in order to take an AS or A Level course in the subject with Grade B being the minimum requirement. Alternatively if you did not study Geography at GCSE it is still possible to take it at A-level but will require a Grade B in English at GCSE. For either route what is equally important is that you should have a lively and enquiring mind, an interest in the environment and current affairs, a willingness to explore new ideas and an ability to communicate your ideas effectively.
Jobs directly related to your degree: Cartographer, Commercial/residential surveyor, Environmental consultant, Geographical information systems officer, Planning and development surveyor, Secondary school teacher and Town planner.
Jobs where your degree would be useful: International aid/development worker, Logistics and distribution manager, Market researcher, Nature conservation officer, Tourism officer and Transport planner.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Newent Community School and SIxth Form Centre directly.