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Geography

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“Geography is the subject that holds the key to our future.

More than ever we need the geographer’s skills and foresight

to help us learn about our planet - how we use it and how we abuse it.”

Michael Palin

Geography studies the real world, tackling subjects that directly affect you. You will enjoy this exciting and challenging course if you have an interest in and concern for the environment and want to learn more about the physical and economic forces and decisions that shape our planet. The Geography syllabus is a new, exciting course commencing in September 2016. The course includes both physical and human geography as well as fieldwork and skills. The papers are based on contemporary issues and there is a personal fieldwork 3,000 – 4,000 words enquiry to complete. The course has three components at A level.

The AQA Course Units comprise:

Component 1    Physical Geography – Section A: Water and carbon cycles.  Section B: either cold environments or Coastal systems and landscapes. Section C: either Hazards or Ecosystems under stress (2½ hour exam worth 40% of A level)

Component 2    Human Geography - Section A: Global systems and global governance. Section B: Changing places Section C: either Contemporary urban environments or Population and the environment or Resource security (2½ hour exam worth 40% of A level)

Component 3   Geographical Investigation. Students complete an individual investigation which must include data collected in the field. The individual 3,000 – 4,000 words investigation must be based on a question or issue defined and developed by the student relating to any part of the specification content. (Worth 20% of A level, marked by Westonbirt Geography department and moderated by AQA)

There are opportunities for discussion, decision making, presentations and individual work. Fieldwork is an integral part of the A level course. A residential course is arranged in the Spring Term of Year 12 when data for the coursework is collected and the theory brought impressively to life in the natural environment. It is important that families budget financially and logistically for this in advance. The course costs around £280 and usually takes place over a weekend during the Spring term.

Geography provides a fundamental bridge between the arts and the sciences.  It therefore combines well with all other subjects giving breadth and balance to your Sixth Form studies. Taken with sciences like Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology, it supports applications for almost any science-based university course (e.g. Engineering, Psychology, Environmental Sciences, Oceanography and Geology).  Taken with humanities like English, German, Spanish, French, Politics, History or Sociology, it supports an equally wide range of humanity university courses such as Business, Law, Media, Politics and Philosophy.

With excellent results maintained in the department at A Level, many Westonbirt A Level geographers go on to read Geography at university. Geographers are highly employable in a wide variety of careers owing to their unique position in being able to interpret, analyse and organise a variety of evidence to produce coherent arguments. Some possible career options include:  advertising, the diplomatic service, education, environmental agencies, finance, land management, law, marketing, sales and social/health services.

Mrs Nicola Gill
Head of Geography

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