Reception: 01235 520173

Admissions: 01235 530593

Executive Assistant to the Headmistress: 01235 546502

Bursary: 01235 520657

Joint Bus Service: 01235 546565

St Helen and St Katharine, Faringdon Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 1BE

How to find us



Geography is a subject that bridges the gap between humanities and science subjects, allowing students to study for a variety of future careers including medicine, engineering and architecture. It is a subject that considers the complex and ever-changing relationship between people and their world. The curriculum is wide-ranging and students enjoy how much the topics overlap with their other subjects at A-level. For example, global governance links well with politics and economics while coasts links to biology and mathematics. A-level Geography also provides the opportunity to learn a variety of valuable skills – analysing and using data, writing reports, using statistics to test a hypothesis, presenting and selling ideas, and working collaboratively in groups; all are highly relevant in the 21st century workplace.

Topics studied

Unit 1: Physical geography – 2 hours 30 minutes exam, 40% of A-level

  • Water and the carbon cycles
  • Coastal systems and landscapes
  • Hazards

Unit 2: Human geography – 2 hours 30 minutes exam, 40% of A-level

  • Global systems and global governance
  • Changing places
  • Contemporary urban environments

Unit 3: Non-examined assessment – 3000-4000 words, 20% of A-level

Students complete an individual independent investigation which must include data collected in the field. The individual investigation must be based on a question or issue related to coastal environments, changing places or urban environments. As part of the course, students will be given the opportunity to learn how to collect data during the four days of fieldwork which will take place during Lower Sixth.

Trips, visits and extracurricular

As part of the A-level course students are required to complete four days of fieldwork. This includes a two-day residential to study coastal geography in Dorset. In addition, students also visit areas of Oxford to study urban processes as well as Witney to examine perceptions of place. The department offers students the opportunity to attend a biannual four-day residential visit to Iceland. This allows students to further their understanding of the hazards unit as part of their physical geography paper.

Each week students meet at lunchtime to discuss and debate issues ranging from food miles to the future of indigenous communities. In addition, the Geography Society arranges regular lectures from prominent speakers such as Tim Marshall, author of Prisoners of Geography. Each year we hold a Sixth Form Geography Dinner with Radley College. Oxbridge applicants are supported through a weekly group to provide further opportunities to go beyond at A-level. This year we have also introduced a Geology of Wine event with Radley College for Upper Sixth students.

What students say

"The essay-writing really helped my other subjects by finding a way of incorporating case studies effectively."

"I really enjoyed tectonics and I also liked how geography complemented my other subjects."

Who to contact

Mrs H Finch-Noyes, Head of Geography

Results 2020

87.2% A*–A

100% A*–B