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A level Geography Years 12 & 13


EDEXCEL - The specification and assessment structure can be found at the link:


For the pupil to experience hard work, intellectual stimulation, enjoyment and success, consistent with his ability.

Methods of Teaching & Learning

At A level all students will study core human and physical geography. In each area of study, students will consider their own values and attitudes to the issues being studied and support their learning of ideas through the study of specific case studies. Students will also develop a variety of geographical skills, which will broaden and deepen existing knowledge and be employed with a greater degree of independence. It is expected that the department staff will use a range of appropriate teaching skills for whole group lectures, as well as tutorial style work for individuals and small groups. Pupils will be encouraged to learn through independent work which will be structured to include ICT and practical work.  Fieldwork and research skills are a mandatory part of the course in order to be able to produce a fieldwork project and undertake an issue evaluation exercise. It is anticipated that two experienced KS5 geography teachers will be attached to each group.

Qualities and Qualifications Needed to Study Geography

To be accepted for the course the department follows the school policy of accepting six GCSEs and a minimum of a Grade 6 in Geography. Elements of the analytical part of the subject require a keen understanding of science and an ability to apply mathematics through statistics is also an advantage. The most significant attribute required is a willingness to quest individually for a wider and deeper knowledge of our world and to accept the challenges this may bring.

Why Study Geography?

Geography is a topical subject which intrudes constantly into our way of life and as such has a significant bearing on the modern world.  Current issues of both the physical and human environment are of major concern at both the world and local scale. The subject focuses on a wide range of key skills transferable both to further academic study and the world of work. The subject is readily studied alongside either science or arts subjects, and can be read at University in both disciplines, leading to a BA or BSc depending on the focus. Geography is eagerly accepted in the work place as being a sound subject providing analytical and practical skills appropriate to a range of careers.

Paper 1 – 30%

  • Area of study 1 Topic 1: Tectonic Processes and Hazards.
  • Area of study 1 Topic 2: Landscape Systems, Processes and Change.
  • Area of study 3 Topic 5: The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity.
  • Area of study 3 Topic 6: The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security.
  • Area of study 3 Topic 7: Climate Change Futures.

An externally assessed written examination comprising four sections and lasting 2 hours. Students answer all questions in Section A (Tectonic Processes and Hazards), Section C (The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity) and Section D (The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security). Students answer either Question 2 (Glaciated Landscapes and Change) or Question 3 (Coastal Landscapes and Change) in Section B (Glaciated Landscapes and Change and Coastal Landscapes and Change).

The examination may include short open, open response and resource-linked questions. The examination includes 10 mark and 15 mark extended writing questions.

Paper 2 – 30%

  • Area of study 2 Topic 3: Globalisation.
  • Area of study 2 Topic 4: Shaping Places.
  • Area of study 4 Topic 8: Superpowers.
  • Area of study 4 Topic 9: Global Development and Connections.

An externally-assessed written examination comprising four sections and lasting 2 hours. Students answer all questions in Section A (Globalisation) and Section C (Superpowers). Students answer one question from Section B (Regenerating Places and Diverse Places) and one question from Section D (Health, Human Rights and Intervention; Migration, Identity and Sovereignty).

The examination may include short open, open response and resource-linked questions. The examination includes 10-mark and 15-mark extended writing questions.

Paper 3 – 20%

The specification contains three synoptic themes within the compulsory content areas:

  • Players.
  • Attitudes and actions.
  • Futures and uncertainties.
  • The synoptic investigation will be based on a geographical issue within a place-based context that links to the three synoptic themes and is rooted in two or more of the compulsory content areas.

An externally assessed written examination comprising three sections and lasting 1 hour 45 minutes. A resource booklet will contain information about the geographical issue. Students answer all questions in Section A, Section B and Section C.

Sections A, B and C all draw synoptically on knowledge and understanding from compulsory content drawn from different parts of the course. The examination may include short open, open response and resource-linked questions. The examination includes 6-mark, 15-mark and 18-mark extended writing questions. Calculators may be used.

Coursework: Independent Investigation – 20%


The student defines a question or issue for investigation, relating to the compulsory or optional content. The topic may relate to any aspect of geography contained within the specification.

The student’s investigation will incorporate fieldwork data (collected individually or as part of a group) and own research and/or secondary data.

The fieldwork which forms the focus and context of the individual investigation may be either human, physical or integrated physical-human.

The investigation report will evidence independent analysis and evaluation of data, presentation of data findings and extended writing.


The investigation report is internally assessed and externally moderated. The student will produce a written report of 3000–4000 words.

Specification: EDEXCEL

The specification and assessment structure can be found at the link below:

Year 12

  Topic Further details about the topic Skills
Autumn Term
1 Globalisation

Globalisation is a long standing process which has accelerated because of rapid developments in transport, communications and businesses.

Political and economic decision making are important factors in the acceleration of globalisation.

Globalisation has affected some places and organisations more than others.

The global shift has created winners and losers for people and the physical environment.

The scale and pace of economic migration has increased as the world has become more interconnected, creating consequences for people and the physical environment.

The emergence of a global culture, based on western ideas, consumption and attitudes towards physical environment is one outcome of globalisation.

Globalisation has led to the dramatic increases in development for some countries but also widening development gap extremities and disparities in environmental quality.

Social, political and environmental tensions have resulted from the rapidity of global change caused by globalisation.

Ethical and environmental concerns about unsustainability have led to increased localism and awareness of the impacts of a consumer society.




Visual imagery


Information processing

Map skills


Independent work

Group work



The coast, and wider littoral zone has distinctive features and landscapes.

Geological structure influences the development of coastal landscapes at a variety of scales.

Rates of coastal recession and stability depend on lithology and other factors.

Marine erosion creates distinctive coastal landforms and contributes to coastal landscapes.

Sediment transport and deposition create distinctive landforms and contribute to coastal landscapes.

Subaerial processes of mass movement and weathering influence coastal landforms and contribute to coastal landscapes.

Sea level change influences coasts on different timescales.

Rapid coastal retreat causes threats to people at the coast.

Coastal flooding is a significant and increasing risk for some coastlines.

Increasing risks of coastal recession and coastal flooding have serious consequences for affected communities.

There are different approaches to managing the risks associated with coastal recession flooding.

Coastlines are now increasingly managed by holistic integrated coastal zone management.

As above
Spring Term
1 Regeneration

Economies can be classified in different ways and vary from place to place.

Places have changed their function and characteristics over time.

Past and present connections have shaped the economic and social characteristics of your chosen places.

Economic and social inequalities changes people’s perceptions of an area.

There are significant variations in the lived experience of place and engagement with them.

There is a range of ways to evaluate the need for regeneration.

UK government policy decisions play a key role in regeneration.

Local government policies aim to represent areas as being attractive for inward investment.

Rebranding attempts to represent areas as being more attractive by changing public perception of them.

The success of regeneration uses a range of measures, economic, demographic, social and environmental.

Different urban stakeholders have different criteria for judging the success of urban regeneration.

Different rural stakeholders have different criteria for judging the success of rural regeneration.

As above


The global distribution of tectonic hazards can be explained by plate boundary and other tectonic processes.

There are theoretical frameworks that attempt to explain plate movements.

Physical processes explain the causes of tectonic hazards.

Disaster occurrence can be explained by the relationship between hazards, vulnerability, resilience and disaster.

Tectonic hazard profiles are important to an understanding of contrasting hazard impacts, vulnerability and resilience.

Development and governance are important in understanding disaster impact and vulnerability and resilience.

Understanding complex trends and patterns for tectonic disasters helps explain differential impacts.

Theoretical frameworks can be used to understand the predication, impact and management of tectonic hazards.

As above

Summer Term
1 Geographical skills

Identifying an appropriate research question.

Critical questioning of data sources.

Demonstrating knowledge of practical field methodologies.

Know techniques to analyse field data.

Understand field observations.

Analyse fieldwork findings.

As above


Fieldwork projects

Individual projects between 4000 to 5000 words related to the specification.

  • Introduction
  • Method
  • Data presentation
  • Analysis
  • Conclusion
  • Evaluation
As above

Year 13

  Topic Further details about the topic Skills
Autumn Term

The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity

5.1a The global hydrological cycle’s operation as a closed system (inputs, outputs, stores and flows) driven by solar energy and gravitational potential energy. 

5.1b The relative importance and size (percentage contribution) of the water stores (oceans, atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, groundwater and surface water) and annual fluxes between atmosphere, ocean and land.

5.1c The global water budget limits water available for human use and water stores have different residence times; some stores are non-renewable (fossil water or cryosphere losses).

5.2a The hydrological cycle is a system of linked processes: inputs (precipitation patterns and types: orographic, frontal, convectional), flows (interception, infiltration, direct runoff, saturated overland flow, throughflow, percolation, groundwater flow) and outputs (evaporation, transpiration and channel flow).

5.2b Physical factors within drainage basins determine the relative importance of inputs, flows and outputs (climate, soils, vegetation, geology, relief).

5.2c Humans disrupt the drainage basin cycle by accelerating processes (deforestation, changing land use) and creating new water storage reservoirs or by abstracting water (Amazonia).

5.3a Water budgets show the annual balance between inputs (precipitation) and outputs (evapotranspiration) and their impact on soil water availability, and are influenced by climate type (tropical, temperate, polar examples). 

5.3b River regimes indicate the annual variation in discharge of a river and result from the impact of climate, geology and soils as shown in regimes from contrasting river basins (Yukon, Amazon, Indus). 

5.3c Storm hydrographs’ shape depends on physical features of drainage basins (size, shape, drainage density, rock type, soil, relief and vegetation) as well as human factors (land use and urbanisation) (P: the role of planners in managing land use). 

Enquiry question 2: What factors influence the hydrological system over short- and long-term timescales?

5.4a The causes of drought, both meteorological (short-term precipitation deficit, longer trends, ENSO cycles) and hydrological. 

5.4bThe contribution human activity makes to the risk of drought: over-abstraction of surface water resources and groundwater aquifers (Sahelian drought, Australia).

5.4a The impacts of drought on ecosystem functioning (wetlands, forest stress) and the resilience of these ecosystems.

5.5a Meteorological causes of flooding, including intense storms leading to flash flooding, unusually heavy or prolonged rainfall, extreme monsoonal rainfall and snowmelt. 

5.5b Human actions that can exacerbate flood risk (changing land use within the river catchment, mismanagement of rivers, using hard engineering systems).

5.5c Damage from flooding has both environmental impacts (soils and ecosystems) and socio-economic impacts (economic activity, infrastructure and settlement) (UK flood events 2007 or 2012).

5.6a Climate change affects inputs and outputs within the hydrological cycle: trends in precipitation and evaporation.

5.6b Climate change affects stores and flows, size of snow and glacier mass, reservoirs, lakes, amount of permafrost, soil moisture levels, as well as rates of runoff and stream flow.

5.6c Climate change resulting from short-term oscillations (ENSO cycles) and global warming increase the uncertainty in the system; this causes concerns over the security of water supplies (F: projections of future drought and flood risk).

Enquiry question 3: How does water insecurity occur, and why is it becoming such a global issue for the 21st century?

5.7a The growing mismatch between water supply and demand has led to a global pattern of water stress (below 1,700 m³ per person) and water scarcity (below 1000 m³ per person). 

5.7b The causes of water insecurity are physical (climate variability, salt water encroachment at coast) as well as human (over-abstraction from rivers, lakes and groundwater aquifers, water contamination from agriculture, industrial water pollution).

5.7c The finite water resource faces pressure from rising demand (increasing population, improving living standards, industrialisation and agriculture), which is increasingly serious in some locations and is leading to increasing risk of water insecurity (F: projections of future water scarcity).

5.8a The causes of and global pattern of physical water scarcity and economic scarcity, and why the price of water varies globally. 

5.8b The importance of water supply for economic development (industry, energy supply, agriculture) and human wellbeing (sanitation, health and food preparation); the environmental and economic problems resulting from inadequate water.

5.8c The potential for conflicts to occur between users within a country, and internationally over local and trans-boundary water sources (Nile, Mekong) (P: role of different players). 

5.9a The pros and cons of the techno-fix of hard engineering schemes to include water transfers, mega dams and desalination plants (water transfers in China).

5.9b The value of more sustainable schemes of restoration of water supplies and water conservation (smart irrigation, recycling of water) (Singapore) (A: contrasting attitudes to water supply).

5.9c Integrated drainage basin management for large rivers (Nile, Colorado) and water-sharing treaties and frameworks (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Water Convention, Helsinki and the Water Framework Directive and Hydropower, Berlin) (P: role of players in reducing water conflict risk).




Visual imagery


Information processing

Map skills


Independent work

Group work



7.1a Superpowers, emerging and regional powers can be defined using contrasting characteristics (economic, political, military, cultural, demographic, and access to natural resources). 

7.1b Mechanisms of maintaining power sit on a spectrum from ‘hard’ to ‘soft’ power, which vary in their effectiveness.

7.1c The relative importance of these characteristics and mechanisms for maintaining power has changed over time (Mackinder’s geostrategic location theory).

7.2a The maintenance of power during the imperial era by direct colonial control (British Empire, multi-polar world 1919–1939).

7.2b Multi-faceted, indirect control (political, economic, military, cultural) including neo-colonial mechanisms, has become more important (Cold War era; emergence of China as a potential rival to the USA’s hegemony). 

7.2c Different patterns of power bring varying degrees of geopolitical stability and risk.

7.3a A number of emerging countries, including Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) and other G20 members, are considered increasingly important to global economic and political systems, as well as a global environment governance (UN Climate Change Conference).

7.3b Each has evolving strengths and weaknesses (economic, political, military, cultural, demographic and environmental) that might inhibit or advance their economic and geopolitical role in the future.

Global environment governance

7.3c Development theory (world systems theory, dependency theory, modernisation theory) can be used to help explain changing patterns of power.

Enquiry question 2: What are the impacts of superpowers on the global economy, political systems and the global environment?

7.4a Superpowers influence the global economy (promoting free trade and capitalism) through a variety of IGOs (World Bank, IMF, WTO, World Economic Forum (WEF).

7.4b TNCs (public and state-led) are dominant economic forces in the global economy and economic and cultural globalisation in terms of technology (patents) and trade patterns. (P: role of TNCs in maintaining power and wealth)

7.4c Global cultural influence (the arts, food the media) and ‘westernisation’ are important aspects of power, linked to economic influence and technology.

7.5a Superpowers and emerging nations play a key role in global action (crisis response, conflict, climate change). (P: role of powerful countries as ‘global police’)

7.5b Alliances, both military (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), The Australia, New Zealand and United States Security Treaty (ANZUS) and economic (EU, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), ASEAN) and environmental (IPCC) increase interdependence and are important in geostrategy and global influence.

7.5c The UN (Security Council, International Court of Justice, and peacekeeping missions and climate change conferences) are important to global geopolitical stability. (A: actions and attitudes of global IGOs)

7.6a Superpower resource demands (food, fossil fuels, and minerals) can cause environmental degradation and their carbon emissions contribute disproportionately to global warming. 

7.6b There are differences in the willingness to act (USA, EU, China and Russia) to reduce carbon emissions and reach global agreements on environmental issues. (A: attitudes and actions of different countries)

7.6c Future growth in middle-class consumption in emerging superpowers has implications for the availability and cost of key resources (rare earths, oil, staple grains and water), as well as for the physical environment.

Enquiry question 3: What spheres of influence are contested by superpowers and what are the implications of this?

7.7a Tensions can arise over the acquisition of physical resources (Arctic oil and gas) where ownership is disputed and disagreement exists over exploitation. (A: attitudes and actions in relation to resources)

7.7b The global system of intellectual property rights can be undermined by counterfeiting, which strains trade relations and TNC investment.

7.7c Political spheres of influence can be contested leading to tensions over territory and physical resources (South and East China Seas) and in some cases resulting in open conflict (Western Russia/Eastern Europe) with implications for people and physical environments.

7.8a Developing economic ties between emerging powers and the developing world (China and African nations) increase interdependence, generate environmental impacts and bring opportunities and challenges. (P: role of emerging powers)

7.8b The rising economic importance of certain Asian countries (China, India) on the global stage increases the geopolitical influence of the region but also creates political and economic tensions within the region. 

7.8c Cultural, political, economic and environmental tensions in the Middle East represent an ongoing challenge to superpowers and emerging powers due to complex geopolitical relations combined with the supply of vital energy resources. (A: contrasting cultural ideologies)

7.9a Economic problems (debt, unemployment, economic restructuring, social costs) represent an ongoing challenge to the USA and EU.

7.9b The economic costs of maintaining global military power (naval, nuclear, air power, intelligence services) and space exploration are questioned in some existing powers.

7.9c The future balance of global power in 2030 and 2050 is uncertain and there are a range of possible outcomes (continued USA dominance, bi-polar and multi-polar structures). (F: uncertainty over future power structures) 

As above
Spring Term

Carbon cycle

6.1a The biogeochemical carbon cycle consists of carbon stores of different sizes (terrestrial, oceans and atmosphere), with annual fluxes between stores of varying size (measured in Pg/Gt) rates and on different timescales.

6.1b Most of the earth’s carbon is geological, resulting from the formation of sedimentary carbonate rocks (limestone) in the oceans and biologically derived carbon in shale, coal and other rocks.

6.1c Geological processes release carbon into the atmosphere through volcanic out-gassing at ocean ridges/subduction zones and chemical weathering of rocks.


6.2a Phytoplankton sequester atmospheric carbon during photosynthesis in surface ocean waters; carbonate shells/tests move into the deep ocean water through the carbonate pump and action of the thermohaline circulation.

6.2b Terrestrial primary producers sequester carbon during photosynthesis; some of this carbon is returned to the atmosphere during respiration by consumer organisms.

6.2c Biological carbon can be stored as dead organic matter in soils, or returned to the atmosphere via biological decomposition over several years.


6.3a The concentration of atmospheric carbon (carbon dioxide and methane) strongly influences the natural greenhouse effect, which in turn determines the distribution of temperature and precipitation.

6.3b Ocean and terrestrial photosynthesis play an important role in regulation the composition of the atmosphere. Soil health is influenced by stored carbon, which is important for ecosystem productivity.

6.3c The process of fossil fuel combustion has altered the balance of carbon pathways and stores with implications for climate, ecosystems and the hydrological cycle.


Enquiry question 2: What are the consequences for people and the environment of our increasing demand for energy?


6.4a Consumption (per capita and in terms of units of GDP) and energy mix (domestic and foreign, primary and secondary energy, renewable versus non-renewable). 

6.4b Access to and consumption of energy resources depends on physical availability, cost, technology, public perception, level of economic development and environmental priorities (national comparisons USA versus France).

6.4c Energy players (P: role of TNCs, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), consumers, governments) have different roles in securing pathways and energy supplies.


6.5a There is a mismatch between locations of conventional fossil fuel supply (oil, gas, coal) and regions where demand is highest, resulting from physical geography.

6.5b Energy pathways (pipelines, transmission lines, shipping routes, road and rail) are a key aspect of security but can be prone to disruption, especially as conventional fossil fuels deplete (Russian gas to Europe). 

6.5c The development of unconventional fossil fuel energy resources (tar sands, oil shale, shale gas, deep water oil) has social costs and consequences for the resilience of fragile environments. (Canadian tar sands, USA fracking, Brazilian deep-water oil.) (P: role of business in developing reserves, versus environmental groups and affected communities.)


6.6a Renewable and recyclable energy (nuclear power, wind power and solar power) could help decouple fossil fuel from economic growth; these energy sources have costs and benefits economically, socially and environmentally, and in terms of the contribution they can make to energy security. (changing UK energy mix)

6.6b Biofuels are an alternative energy source that are increasing globally; growth in biofuels however has implications for food supply as well as uncertainty over how ‘carbon neutral’ they are. (Biofuels in Brazil). 

6.6c Radical technologies, including carbon capture and storage and alternative energy sources (hydrogen fuel cells, electric vehicles) could reduce carbon emissions, but uncertainty exists as to how far this is possible.


Enquiry question 3: How are the carbon and water cycles linked to the global climate system?


6.7a Growing demand for food, fuel and other resources globally has led to contrasting regional trends in land use cover (deforestation, afforestation, conversion of grasslands to farming) affecting terrestrial carbon stores with wider implications for the water cycle and soil health. 

6.7b Ocean acidification, as a result of its role as a carbon sink, is increasing due to fossil fuel combustion and risks crossing the critical threshold for the health of coral reefs and other marine ecosystems that provide vital ecosystem services.

6.7c Climate change resulting from the enhanced greenhouse effect may increase the frequency of drought due to shifting climate belts, which may impact on the health of forests as carbon stores. (Amazonian drought events).


6.8a Forest loss has implications for human well-being, but there is evidence that forest stores are being protected and even expanded, especially in countries of higher levels of development (environmental Kuznets’ curve model). (A: attitudes of global consumers to environmental issues.)

6.8b Increased temperatures affect evaporation rates and the quantity of water vapour in the atmosphere with implications for precipitation patterns, river regimes and water stores (cryosphere and drainage basin stores). (Arctic) (F: uncertainty of global projections.)

6.8c Threats to ocean health pose threats to human well-being, especially in developing regions that depend on marine resources as a food source and for tourism and coastal protection.


6.9a Future emissions, atmospheric concentration levels and climate warming are uncertain owing to natural factors (the role of carbon sinks), human factors (economic growth, population, energy resources) and feedback mechanisms (carbon release from peatlands and permafrost, and tipping points, including forest dieback and alterations to the thermohaline circulation). (F: uncertainty of global projections.)

6.9b Adaptation strategies for a changed climate (water conservation and management, resilient agricultural systems, land use planning, flood-risk management, solar radiation management) have different costs and risks.

6.9c Re-balancing the carbon cycle could be achieved through mitigation (carbon taxation, renewable switching, energy efficiency, afforestation, carbon capture and storage), but this requires global-scale agreement and national actions, both of which have proved to be problematic. (A: attitudes of different countries, TNCs and people.)

As above


Health Human Rights and Intervention

8A.1a Human development has traditionally been measured using the growth of GDP as an end in itself but the relationship between human contentment and levels of wealth and income is complex (Happy Planet Index) and many dominant models are contested  (Sharia law, Bolivia under Evo Morales).

8A.1b Improvements in environmental quality, health, life expectancy and human rights are seen by some (Rosling) as more significant goals for development while economic growth is often the best means of delivering them.

8A.1c Education is central to economic development (human capital) and to the understanding and assertion of human rights; this view is, however, not universally shared (attitudes to gender equality in education) as both access to education and standards of achievement vary greatly among countries (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

8A2.a. There are considerable variations in health and life expectancy in the developing world that are explained by differential access to basic needs such as food, water supply and sanitation, and which impact particularly on levels of infant and maternal mortality.

8A2.b Variations in health and life expectancy in the developed world are largely a function of differences in lifestyles, levels of deprivation and the availability, cost and effectiveness of medical care.

8A.2c There are significant variations in health and life expectancy within countries (UK, Brazil) that are related to ethnic variations (Aboriginal peoples in Australia) and income levels and inequalities, which, in turn, impact on lifestyles.

8A.3a The relationship between economic and social development is complex and dependent on decisions made by governments on the importance of social progress; this ranges from welfare states with high levels of social spending to totalitarian regimes run by elites with low levels of spending on health and education.

8A.3b The dominant IGOs (World Bank, IMF, WTO) have traditionally promoted neo-liberal views of development based on the adoption of free trade, privatisation and deregulation of financial markets but also, recent programmes have been aimed at improving environmental quality, health, education and human rights.

8A.3c Progress against the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been mixed in terms of individual countries, global regions and targets; the UN post-2015 development agenda expands on the MDGs, setting new goals to include sustainable development.

Enquiry question 2: Why do human rights vary from place to place?

8A.4a The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a statement of intent and a framework for foreign policy statements to explain economic or military intervention but not all states have signed the Declaration.

8A.4b The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was drafted by the nations of the Council of Europe to help prevent conflict and integrated into the UK by the Human Rights Act of 1998; the ECHR remains controversial as some see it as an erosion of national sovereignty.

8A.4c The Geneva Convention forms a basis in international law for prosecuting individuals and organisations who commit war crimes and is endorsed by 196 countries; however few cases come to trial and over 150 countries continue to engage in torture.

8A.5a Some states frequently invoke human rights in international forums and debates whilst others prioritise economic development over human rights and defend this approach.

8A.5b Some superpowers and emerging powers have transitioned to more democratic governments but the degree of democratic freedom varies the protection of human rights and degree of freedom of speech varies.

8A.5c Levels of political corruption vary and can be measured (Index of Corruption); high levels of corruption are a threat to human rights as the rule of law can be subverted.

8A.6a In some states (post-colonial states) there are significant groups, defined by gender and/or ethnicity that have had fewer rights than the dominant group.

8A.6b Differences in rights are frequently reflected in differences in levels of health and education (indigenous populations in both North and South America).

8A.6c A demand for equality from both women and ethnic groups has been an important part of the history of many states in recent years (Afghanistan, Australia, Bolivia) with progress taking place at different rates.

Enquiry question 3: How are human rights used as arguments for political and military intervention?

8A.7a There is a wide range of geopolitical interventions to address development and human rights issues: development aid, trade embargoes, military aid, indirect and direct military action.

8A.7b Interventions are promoted by IGOs, national governments and NGOs (Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch) but there is seldom consensus about the validity of these interventions.

8A.7c Some Western governments frequently condemn human rights violations and use them as conditions for offering aid, negotiating trade agreements, and as a reason for military intervention, which challenge ideas of national sovereignty.

8A.8a Development aid takes many forms from charitable gifts to address the impacts of hazards (Haiti) administered both by NGOs (Oxfam, Christian Aid) and national governments, to IGOs offering loans.

8A.8b. The impact of development aid is contested; successes include progress in dealing with life threatening conditions (malaria) and improvements in some aspects of human rights (gender equality) but critics suggest that it encourages dependency, and promotes corruption and the role of the elite at the expense of human rights and minority groups.

8A.8c. Some economic development, both by superpowers and

TNCs, has very serious impacts on the environment in which minority groups live and disregards their human rights to their land and culture (oil in the Niger Delta or Peruvian Amazon and land grabs in East Africa). 

8A.9a Global strategic interests might drive military interventions but are often justified by the protagonists in terms of human rights.

8A.9b Military aid, both in terms of training personnel and weapons sales, is sometimes used to support countries that themselves have questionable human rights records.

8A.9c Direct military intervention is  increasingly part of a ’war on terror’, which is partially justified as promoting human rights of minority communities but is compromised by the use of torture by combatant states that have signed the Declaration of Human Rights.

Enquiry question 4: What are the outcomes of geopolitical interventions in terms of human development and human rights?

8A.10a Measurements of success comprise a wide range of variables, including improvements in health, life expectancy, educational levels, gender equality, freedom of speech and successful management of refugees as well as increases in GDP per capita.

8A.10b For some governments and IGOs, the introduction of democratic institutions is deemed important and freedom of expression is seen as central to the development of democratic and capitalist societies.

8A.10c For other countries, success is measured in terms of economic growth with less attention to holistic development (human wellbeing) or human rights and the development of democratic institutions.

8A.11a The relationship of aid, development, health and human rights is unclear, with relative success stories in some states contrasted with relative failure in other states.

8A.11b. In some states that receive substantial development aid, economic inequalities have increased while in other states economic inequalities have decreased; this in turn impacts on health and life expectancy.

8A.11c The extent to which superpowers use development aid as an extension of their foreign policies and judge success in terms of access to resources, political support in IGOs and military alliances and formation of military alliances.

8A.12a The recent history of military interventions, both direct and indirect, suggest that there are significant costs, including loss of sovereignty and human rights and contrasts between short-term gains with long-term costs.

8A.12b Other non-military interventions may have a stronger record of improving both human rights and development (Cote d’Ivoire 2011).

8A.12c Lack of action also has global consequences which may impact negatively on progress in environmental, political and social development (human wellbeing and human rights).

As above
Summer Term


Revision of both physical and human topics using past papers/question/the revision work booklet and revision booklet

As above


Resources Topic Type of assessment
CAT 1 Globalisation and Coasts Examination question

Regeneration and Tectonics

Examination question
CAT 3 All topics

Mock examination


Water cycle


Examination question

Carbon cycle

Health and human rights

Examination question

CAT 6 All topics Examination question

Main Resources

Resource Details Term
Set texts

All pupils are issued with the course textbook for EDEXCEL A level Geography


Recommended reading

Wider reading connected to globalisation, coasts, regeneration and tectonics.

Recommended Websites

Student action on world poverty:

United Nations:

The Environment Agency:

The Met Office:

Search Engine:

(Encyclopedia of the Atmospheric Environment (2006) Weather)

Encyclopedia of the Atmospheric Environment:



Internet Geography:

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

Food and Agricultural Organisation:

S-Cool Revision Site:


Revision Notes:


Enrichment opportunities

Activity Day and time or term
Holderness Pilot Study Fieldwork September Year 12

Hull Pilot Study Fieldwork

March Year 12
NEA Project Work June Year 12
Individual project fieldwork 11 and 12 June
Revision sessions From February Year 13
Sixth Form Hazards Conference   November Year 13
University of Liverpool Seminary and Lecture Visit January Year 13
Geography Association lectures Dates to be confirmed by Nottinghamshire, and Lincolnshire GA
Geography Review magazine subscription November Year 12 and Year 13
Iceland Overseas Expedition – Exclusively for Y10 and Y12 Geographers April Year 12

Where Next