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A Level Geography at Sawtry Village Academy

Course description

Geography is about the world in which we live. It is the study of the Earth’s landscape, people, places and environments and how they interact with one another. Geography is unique in bridging society (human geography) and the natural sciences (physical geography). Human geography concerns the dynamics of cultures, societies and economies, while physical geography concerns the relationships between physical landscapes and the environment. Some say that the three biggest challenges facing the world today are population growth, climate change and resource depletion; A level geography addresses all these issues and attempts to understand the interactions between and the complexities of the issues as well as considering possible solutions. Some scientists have gone so far to say that the world has entered a new geological time period, the Anthropocene; the time period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Kill or cure, the future of the world rests in our hands!

At the time of writing, Geography A Levels are in a state of flux; the exam boards have submitted their draft specifications to Ofqual (for checking on behalf of the Department for Education) for review and are currently awaiting accreditation. The Geography department has many years of experience in teaching A-Level across several boards, ensuring that we are prepared for course changes currently being approved by the Government.

There are several themes that run through all the specifications. For example, students will have to undertake a geographical investigation. This will be an independent investigation in which the students themselves will define the issue or question they wish to investigate; both primary and secondary data collection will be used. There will have to be both qualitative and quantitative analysis of their findings and the work will need to be between 3000 and 4000 words long. It will be marked internally by their teachers and moderated externally by the exam board and it will be worth 20% of their final result. Physical geography themes that run through several of the specifications include a study of coasts and coastal environments’ the water and carbon cycle and ecosystems, cold environments, glacial landscapes and tectonic hazards. Human geography themes include global governance, population change, migration and the growth of urban areas and global connections and the environment.

It is likely that AS Geography will be offered as a one year course. Once the specifications have been accredited by Ofqual we will make final decisions about which course to follow.

Entry requirements

Average points score of 42+ and at least grade C in GCSE English and maths.  Students should have an enquiring mind, a willingness to work hard, a desire to read around the subject and a genuine interest in the study of geography. Students need to have the ability to communicate their ideas clearly verbally, during class discussions and presentations and in written work.

Future opportunities

Geography is an intellectually challenging subject. It requires an understanding and application of scientific logic, principles, methods and laws.  It also requires flexibility and openness of mind to deal with a range of different conceptual ideas in both human and physical geography; an ability to develop and test hypotheses and to integrate ideas; analytical capabilities to collect/select, analyse, present and interpret primary and secondary datasets, especially spatial data and the ability to understand and visualise complex data. Most Geography graduates are numerate, literate, good team workers, can think analytically and critically, and are highly computer literate. The nature of the discipline combined with the training Geography students receive at university makes graduate geographers highly employable. In 2010 a poll of over 200,000 graduates from UK universities found that those with Geography degrees had the lowest rate of unemployment six months after graduation of any discipline polled, bar none (Higher Education Career Services Unit).

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Sawtry Village Academy directly.

Last updated date: 02 December 2015
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September