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Getting to grips with the new Key Stage 4 Geography subject criteria

The following aims and subject content comes from the QCA GCSE subject criteria for geography. According to the QCA “GCSE subject criteria set out the knowledge, understanding, skills and assessment objectives common to all GCSE specifications in geography. They provide the framework within which an awarding body creates the detail of the specification.”

Key aims and learning outcomes

GCSE specifications in geography should encourage learners to be inspired, moved and changed by following a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study and gain an insight into related sectors. They should prepare learners to make informed decisions about further learning opportunities and career choices.

GCSE specifications in geography must enable learners to:

  • actively engage in the process of geography to develop as effective and independent thinkers with enquiring minds.
  • develop their knowledge and understanding of geographical concepts and appreciate the relevance of these concepts to our changing world.
  • develop a framework of spatial awareness in which to appreciate the importance of the location of places and environments from local to global.
  • appreciate the differences and similarities between people’s views of the world, its environments, societies and cultures.
  • understand the significance of values and attitudes to the development and resolution of issues
  • develop their responsibilities as global citizens and recognise how they can contribute to a future that is sustainable and inclusive
  • develop and apply their learning to the real world through fieldwork and other out of classroom learning.
  • use of geographical skills, appropriate technologies, enquiry and analysis.

Subject Content

GCSE specifications in geography must require students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • new ideas and approaches to the study of geography in the 21st century.
  • a range of places including the UK, Europe and regions and countries in varying stages of development.
  • aspects of physical, human and environmental geography
  • fieldwork and out of classroom learning.
  • topical issues studied from a geographical perspective.
  • the use of new technologies including GIS, to assist geographical investigation.
  • geographical concepts of space, place, scale, environmental interaction and change and interdependence and diversity.
  • human and physical geographical processes and patterns and the way in which they interrelate
  • the importance of geographical location.
  • the importance of attitudes and values in informing human behaviour, influencing human processes and shaping a sustainable future.
  • the relevance of geographical studies to their lives and to the real world.

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