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A Level subject content overviews

To support teachers with the introduction of the 2016 A Level courses, the Society is providing a new range of online resources and support.

The following overview document provides an introduction for teachers to some of the key content, concepts and geographical theories within the new A Levels and will be particularly useful for colleagues who have not previously taught elements of the new content.

These have been written by leading academic geographers, a number of whom were members of the ALCAB subject advisory panel for geography. 

There is particularly focus on the areas of core content.

The rationale for the new ‘global systems and global governance’ section of the A Level Geography curriculum is as follows; to describe and explain how citizens, states and non-state actors make and re-make our contemporary world. It is both a timely and even urgent undertaking as political and civic leaders warn about impending climate change, fossil fuel dependency, worsening economic inequalities, and ongoing resource consumption, including fish, meat and water, of a world population approaching ten billion. The world community faces profound challenges but does so in the context of an international political system, which is predicated on the individual sovereign rights of nearly 200 states and their national territories.

The topic builds on GCSE studies on development and globalisation but introduces students to the geopolitical circumstances and contexts that affect how actors, state and non-state, influence and react to flows of people, money, ideas, technology, resources and ‘extreme events’ such as natural disasters, wars and recessions. At heart lies a tension between the apparently ‘fixed’ building blocks of the international system based on states and their claims to exclusive sovereignty and security with the mobile and fluid spaces and flows of human and non-human systems, which migrate and move across national borders, often with impunity. Whether it be the migration of people from North Africa to Southern Europe and/or the ebb and flow of global financial markets, states and governments can often struggle to regulate those mobile agents and objects.

Download the full A Level Subject Content Overview document from the downloads box.

Written by Klaus Dodds, Professor of Geopolitics, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London


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A Level Subject Content Overview: Global Systems and Global Governance


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