Key Stage 4

GCSE specification

Our KS4 students study the AQA(B) GCSE course (Specification Code 9035). This is a linear course, and students will be entered for exams in June of Year 11. 

Structure of the course

Students complete six modules. Two modules are ‘controlled assessment’; the other four modules are assessed by examination.

Unit 1a – Managing Places in the 21st Century: The Coastal Environment
With over four billion people living in coastal areas and numbers growing rapidly the need to understand and appreciate the issues involved in managing these areas is critical. Coastal areas are one of the most dynamic global environments and are being constantly re-shaped by both natural processes and the demands of economic development. They have both economic and environmental value and are consequently areas where conflicting demands create the need for complex management and planning strategies. With the increasing threat of rising sea levels, the demand for the sustainable management of coastal areas will become even more critical.

Unit 1b – Managing Places in the 21st Century: The Urban Environment
The world is becoming increasingly urban – it is estimated that by 2020 over 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. In developing countries large numbers of people are moving to core urban-industrial areas in the hope of improving their quality of life. This rapid urbanisation creates challenges for urban planners in relation to housing and the supply of basic services. In developed countries many urban areas have gone through a period of economic decline; the challenge in these areas is often about improving socio-economic conditions and addressing environmental issues.
The global future will be an increasingly urban future and this will create a need to put in place sustainable methods of managing urban living in existing areas and designing new urban centres that operate in sympathy with both people and the environment.

Unit 2a – Hostile World: Living with Natural Hazards
Many people now live in hostile areas of the world. Areas close to plate boundaries and areas that suffer from tropical storms or wildfires can pose dangers for the people who live there. They have to be able to understand the causes and effects of these hazards in order to prepare for and respond to them.

Unit 2d – Shrinking World: Investigating global tourism
Tourism is a rapidly growing industry. Increased opportunities to travel mean that many people have become global consumers of tourism. This growth has impacts on people and places and requires careful management in order to ensure that it is sustainable. The global nature of the modern tourist industry has led to changes in the development gap. This unit focuses on geographical investigation. Candidates should be given the opportunity to investigate a range of places and to consider how global trends and developments in tourism impact specific localities and groups of people.

Unit 3 – Controlled Assessment
We begin Unit 3 at the end of June in Year 10. Students complete two pieces of controlled assessment – one about either energy or water issues (this is a research-based task worth 10% of the final GCSE grade) and one that is based on fieldwork (worth 15% of the final GCSE grade). The titles of the controlled assessment tasks change every year. We are not allowed to share these online.

Course iBook
The course iBook has been written by Dr Hutchinson and is available on the iBookstore.
Natural Hazards -
Coastal Environment -
Urban Environment – due to be published soon
Global tourism -

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