A level curriculum

A level geography from 2016

New A levels are being taught from September 2016 and the GA is here to support you. On these pages you will find information about what has changed including Frequently asked questions, guidance on Choosing your new A level specification, subject knowledge and guidance on how to teach the new A level, and The A level reform process. We also provide support for your students.

GA support for teaching A level

GA publications

The GA publishes a list of publications for use with A level students, such as the Top Spec Geography series and also sells a range of DVDs.

Subscribe to a journal

Geography, the international journal of the GA, contains many articles of recent research by leading geographers. Bundles of Geography articles can also be purchased from the online shop. Teaching Geography is our journal for secondary geography teachers contains subject updates as well as advice and guidance on how to prepare for the new A level.

GA CPD events

Book on a CPD event

Take your students to a GA Branch lecture

We have around 40 GA Branches many of which have a programme of lectures for A level students.

What's changed?

Key features of the new A and AS levels:

  • AS level geography will be ‘de-coupled’ from A level to become a standalone qualification
  • every specification to include core content, amounting to 60% of AS and A level
  • core A level content includes two physical and two human themes (1 each for AS) plus geographical skills
  • core physical themes are water/carbon cycles and Landscape systems
  • core human themes are Global systems/global governance and changing place/changing places
  • at least half non-core content to address people-environment questions and issues
  • minimum two fieldwork days at AS and four days for A level
  • teacher-assessed independent investigation at A level (20%) incorporates fieldwork and research (AS level 100% terminal exam)
  • some ‘new’ human content – e.g. identity and belonging, place making and marketing
  • greater rigour with understanding physical systems and processes

This PowerPoint from Alan Kinder explores the key changes and challenges of the new A levels given at GA CPD events in London and Manchester in November 2015.


Comment on this page

Comments made by GA members appear instantly and don't require security words to be entered - make sure you're logged in! Guest comments will be sent to a moderator for approval.



M.T.Slater Guest

Field work needs to be project based.
I have taught field work now for 4 years with assessment based on exams
At present the students don't even need to have undertaken fieldwork > just drilled themselves for the limited range of potential questions that are asked based on sometimes made up field data!


Barry Taylor Guest

Has anyone noticed that the study of tectonics seems to have been taken off the Geography curriculum both both A-Level and GCSE. I hope I am mistaken!

John Lyon

John Lyon GA Staff

with reference to your comment about A level and the missing study of tectonics, you are right that it is not included in the core of the DfE subject content for AS and A level, but the core only comprises 60% of AS and A level content. AO's are free to select the remaining 40%, drawing in a balanced way from physical and human geography. I imagine you will find tectonics is a prime choice for a topic to be selected by AO's from the 40% non-core content.
That would enable students to return to tectonics again after study at KS3

Join the GA

For professional journals, huge discounts on publications and CPD and online access to member only resources.

Join now


  • Primary Geography
  • Teaching Geography
  • Geography

Free access to subscribers

  • Cambridge International Examinations
  • Become a geography examiner
Receive our email newsletters

Sign up to our email newsletter for all the latest news and updates throughout the year.