Geography and Travel & Tourism

“Everything has to do with geography.”
Judy Martz

88% A*-C at GCSE and 88% A-C at A Level Geography.

Only taught by specialist Geography  teachers.

Fieldwork opportunities for pupils in the UK and beyond.

Geography is our most popular option subject at GCSE.

The aim of the Geography department is to give every pupil an opportunity to make sense of the world in which they live, and to understand the problems faced by the world now and in the future.

Key Stage 3

The word Geography literally means ‘writings of the earth’ and the new Key Stage 3 Geography course tells a vivid, varied and detailed story of the planet on which we live.

The course closely mirrors the revised National Curriculum and takes the student on a journey through traditional and contemporary geographical issues and places. ‘Our Home’, ‘Our Region’ and ‘Our Planet’ are the three themes covered in Years 7 to 9.

Year 7

  • Plate tectonics
  • Continental drift
  • Structure of the Earth
  • Volcanoes
  • Map and Atlas skills
  • Human Geography – settlement, development, globalisation and production
  • Field trip: Lincoln

Year 8

  • Weather and climate
  • Rainforests
  • Ecosystems
  • Natural hazards – hurricanes
  • Links between people, resources and development
  • Landscape shaping processes
  • Fieldwork: Castleton, Peak District

Year 9

  • Natural hazards – earthquakes and tsunamis
  • Our planet – tourism, leisure and recreation

The Departments actively promotes cross-curricular links with areas including ICT, Citizenship and PSHE.


Geography at GCSE follows the AQA syllabus.

The course allows pupils to:

  • Develop and extend their knowledge of locations, places, environments and processes, and of different scales including global; and of social, political and cultural contexts.
  • Gain understanding of the interactions between people and environments, change in places and processes over space and time, and the interrelationship between geographical phenomena at different scales and in different contexts.
  • Develop and extend their competence in a range of skills including those used in fieldwork, in using maps and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and in researching secondary evidence, including digital sources; and develop their competence in applying sound enquiry and investigative approaches to questions and hypotheses.
  • Apply geographical knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches appropriately and creatively to real world contexts, including fieldwork, and to contemporary situations and issues; and develop well-evidenced arguments drawing on their geographical knowledge and understanding.

Course Content

The six areas of Geography studied in GCSE Geography are:

1. Locational Knowledge
2. Developing competence in Maps, Fieldwork and Geographical Skill
3. Place: processes and relationships
4. Physical geography: processes and change
5. People and environment: processes and interactions
6. Human geography: processes and change

The new GCSE Geography has a specific focus on the geography of the UK. However, case studies include local, national and international locations.

Topics covered include:

  • Ecosystems
  • Tropical Rainforests
  • Urban Issues & Challenges: Rio de Janeiro
  • Tropical Storms
  • Extreme Weather in the UK and Climate Change
  • Energy
  • Coastal Landscapes in the UK
  • Cold Environments & UK Glacial Landscapes
  • Changing Economic World
  • Tectonic Hazards
  • Challenge of Resource Management


There is no controlled assessment (formally known as coursework) in the new Geography GCSE. However, fieldwork experiences will be assessed in a terminal written examination in the summer of Year 11.

Fieldwork will be undertaken in a minimum of 2 contrasting locations throughout the 2 year course and possible fieldwork locations include: The Holderness Coastline, Leicestershire, The Peak District and local visits in and around Lincoln and Lincolnshire. These are likely to be day visits although the opportunity to take part in the bi-annual residential Iceland visit will remain an optional fieldwork experience (GCSE students who do not visit Iceland will not be disadvantaged in any way).


Examination of the GCSE will be by terminal examination at the end of Year 11. Pupils will sit 3 Geography examinations; one testing fieldwork skills and findings and the remaining two focusing on the taught areas of the course.

A Level Geography

Geography is a wide-ranging subject, which brings together the study of people and their environment. It relates to the many social, economic and environmental problems of the contemporary world and allows consideration of different perspectives.

Course requirements

Previous study of GCSE Geography at higher tier (with grade B or above) is most preferable. Pupils who have achieved a grade A or A* at GCSE Geography are more likely to be able to access the highest grades at A level.

At A Level, Geography combines particularly well with Sociology, History, Biology, Information Communication Technology, Travel & Tourism and Languages and it also complements Mathematics, English, Home Economics and Physics. Geography is a facilitating A level subject for both arts and science degree courses.

Course content and methodology

Physical Geography tends to be a concrete factual subject whereas Human Geography gives scope for discussion, argument and even disagreement! Out of the classroom, pupils will need to be prepared to spend time reading and writing notes to build up your knowledge as well as putting this knowledge to the test by answering past examination questions.

Fieldwork is an integral part of Geography A level. Geographers have a minimum of 4 days fieldwork experience in both the collection, interpretation and evaluation of data. Within the subject, fieldwork may include an investigation of settlement patterns and characteristics within the local area, river and coastal visits within the UK, major city studies and visits along with optional international field trips to Iceland and possibly even further afield.

The possible study locations are as changing and varied as the course itself and will be built in to support the curriculum delivery wherever possible.

Topics covered include:

  • Water and the carbon cycle
  • Landscape systems (one of: drylands, coastal landscapes and glaciated landscapes)
  • Global systems and global governance (trade, development, migration and management of global resources)
  • Changing place, changing places (demography, culture and society behaviour)
  • Geographical skills (qualitative and quantitative information, including GIS (Geographical Information Systems)
  • Fieldwork (4 days minimum across the 2-year programme.
  • Personal investigation on a Geographical issue (3000-4000 word study based on fieldwork undertaken during the course, involves data collection, methodology, presentation, analysis and conclusion)


The A level Geography course is under review (by both Government and the school). We are currently deciding which examination board to follow out of either AQA or EDUCAS/WJEC. The course aims to provide a natural progression from GCSE to GCE A Level, and ensure that there is development of content, for example ‘Rivers’ and ‘Population’ whilst also offering new challenges relevant to a modern society.

A Level Travel and Tourism

Do you want to try something different? Can you maintain focus and show initiative? Is your learning style more suited to coursework than exams? Can you work independently and manage your time and studies well?

Course requirements

For the majority of pupils, Travel and Tourism will be an entirely new subject. There is no specific prior subject knowledge required; however a background in either Geography and/or Business Studies is highly advantageous. Sound ICT literacy is necessary along with an ability to give consistent efforts.


Course content and methodology

A lot of lessons involve working independently to research information by using a range of resources such as the internet, journals, newspapers, videos, guidebooks and pamphlets. Also information is gained from trips to tourism organisations and travel destinations. This includes making full use of local and regional resources, such as tourist attractions within East Midlands as well as a national or international visit across the 2 year course.

At AS level, students are strongly advised to participate in the annual visit to Prague in October of year 12. This forms the basis of one of the two pieces of coursework.

An Applied A-Level involves learning by experience and ‘doing’ rather than just being a passive observer. In the Lent term, all students are required to complete up relevant work experience placement (currently 3 days) within the travel and tourism industry. (Please note that pupils are required to arrange their placement – school will provide and oversee the relevant health and safety paperwork).

An Applied A level relies heavily on coursework meaning that although there is a heavy workload throughout both years of the course there is only one exam during each year.

At A2 students are again very ‘hands on’. The Event Management module tasks students to organise and execute a residential visit; almost like a mini ‘Apprentice’ with business plans, budgeting, marketing and risk assessments. Previous events have included Mini-Cruises to Bruges, city breaks in Amsterdam and study visits to London.

The 2nd module is Adventure Tourism and students again are required to organise and participate in this activity; previous visits have included White-water Rafting at the National Water Sports Centre, Skiing at Xscape and Tobogganing.


Four of the six units are assessed through coursework. As this is marked by your teachers there is plenty of opportunity for guidance and improvement as it is being done. Each unit carries equal marks – in other words, both the AS and A2 course is 2/3 coursework and 1/3 external examination. The specification followed is OCR Applied Travel and Tourism.

Introduction to Travel and Tourism: exam
(2 hours, 16.5% of grade)

Customer Service: coursework + work experience
(16.5% of grade)

Travel Destinations: coursework + visit to Prague
(16.5% of grade)

Tourism Development: exam
(2 hours, 16.5% of grade)

Event Management: coursework including visit planning and participation
(16.5% of grade)

Adventure Tourism: coursework including planning of, and participation in, adventure tourism
(16.5% of grade)

Supporting Advanced Performance

The Advanced Performance Team, led by our Director of Studies, seeks to advise staff on how we – as a teaching body – can identify, monitor and experientially enhance the educational opportunities of able, gifted and talented pupils at  Lincoln Minster School.

How do we cater for AP students in Geography?

Geography is followed by all pupils in KS3 and is a very popular subject at key stages 4 and 5, with many of our AP students opting to follow these courses.

With a department of experienced Geography specialists AP students are able to benefit from very high standards of teaching. Teachers within the department all provide differentiated tasks for AP students and extend their knowledge and understanding with extension tasks and leading questions wherever necessary. AP Geography students also receive personal targets which are reviewed on a regular basis.

At KS3 pupils are challenged with longer extended projects and at KS4&5 AP pupils are given regular opportunities for individual case study research to enhance and extend their understanding of the issues being studied. ICT facilities are used wherever possible to aid students in their work.

The department tries to allow students to ‘experience’ Geography and regard fieldwork visits as a crucial part of this. The department tries to offer either a day or residential visit for each year group with locations allowing coverage of both human and physical courses. Urban fieldwork in Hull city Centre, local field work in the Lincoln area, physical fieldwork along the Holderness Coastline and in the Peak District National Park are all offered at KS3 and 4.

Encouraging Advanced Performance outside of lessons

The department offers weekly optional ‘drop in’ sessions in which Geography students are able to further extend their knowledge and understanding, whether this be in general terms or course related. For example, several A2 students have benefitted from tailored support on Geography undergraduate course applications; GCSE students have gained from workshop style revision classes including coaching for achievement of A* grades.

The department stocks a large range of current up-to-date Geographical publications which are available for students to borrow and study. On top of this students are given the opportunity to subscribe to the GCSE and A Level specific publications offered to support and enhance their courses. The department also has good links with external agencies from which AP students benefit from, including the Royal Geographical Society, Geographical Association, Ordnance Survey; the Head of Department works as the Subject Network Leader for the 42 schools within the United Learning group.

The department offers a bi-annual residential trip to Iceland to complement the curriculum covered in both GCSE and A level Geography. This is open to pupils in years 10-13. Students are able to witness first-hand the effects of the most recent volcanic eruptions on the planet, see spectacular geysers in action, climb to the top of fierce waterfalls and climb through lava tubes.

Beyond Lincoln Minster School

Geography A-level is an increasingly important qualification for many careers such as Tourism, Conservation, Management, Journalism and Marketing. You will develop skills that are of value both for further education courses and demanded by many employers.

Former geographers at Lincoln Minster School have gone on to a variety of degree courses including Geography at Cambridge, Oxford, Bristol and Durham, Land Management, Business Studies, Philosophy, History, Medicine and Law.

The travel and tourism industry is dynamic, wide-ranging and fast-growing, and it offers a huge variety of employment opportunities for young people. Past students have gone on to study higher education courses in a range of related courses including Hospitality and Hotel Management, Event Management, Stadium Management and International Tourism both in this country and overseas.

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