New Geography GCSE brings the world into the classroom

Thursday 16 Apr 2015

Students will travel the world from their classroom in AQA's new Geography GCSE - exploring topics including climate change, poverty and global shifts in economic power.

The draft specification, which has been submitted to Ofqual for accreditation, has been created with help from teachers and subject experts. It has been designed to be familiar for teachers and engaging for students.

The course will be examined in three sections:

Living with the physical environment

Looking at natural hazards, the landscapes of the UK and aspects of the living world including ecosystems and rainforests.

Challenges in the human environment

Covering urban issues, the changing economic world and the challenges of managing natural resources.

Geographical applications

Where students will evaluate geographical issues, carry out fieldwork and understand how different aspects of geography interact.

About the specification

Rupert Sheard, who leads AQA's Geography reform team, said:

"Geography is an ideal subject for allowing young people to engage with the world around them. It gives them the knowledge and skills to understand not only their own environment but also the wider world, and allows them to get to grips with a whole range of contemporary issues such as climate change, natural hazards issues and the stress on resources as the world's population increases.

"But of course geography means more than textbooks and whiteboards. It enables students to get out and actively explore the world beyond the classroom - whether it is in diverse physical landscapes like river valleys or coasts or investigating the pressing human challenges of urban living and the impacts of economic and social change on their environment.

"Geography is inherently a dynamic and contemporary subject. Consider news reports about volcanic eruptions, floods, fracking, oil finds in Surrey or HS2; these, and many more, are all 'geography' stories. By studying AQA's geography specification students will have a greater understanding of the forces and processes associated with such events and issues, and of their consequences and impacts. Studying such issues prepares them to negotiate the resulting, often complex, challenges and opportunities that such events and circumstances cause.

"By studying AQA's geography specification, students will appreciate that the study of geography is not just learning about the processes that have shaped the world, but is also about understanding and being prepared for the challenges and opportunities that they will encounter in their day to day lives."

A linear specification

In line with reforms to GCSEs, all exams will take place at the end of the course, and students will be graded 9-1 rather than A*-G.

Resources

A wide range of free resources is available for teachers including launch events (which teachers can book online), schemes of work, lesson plans, specimen question papers and Preparing to Teach events.