To celebrate the launch of NEC’s online interactive A level Geography, we spoke to lead tutor Alison Leadbetter about why she loves the subject and her experience.

What can you learn from A level Geography?

“Geography as a subject focuses on the spatial relationships between people, places and the environment. The world around us is constantly changing and even after many years of study I still find the subject both fascinating and exciting. The areas it covers are continually evolving so there is always something new to learn. Geography is unique in the way in which it links together elements of the human and physical world, links that are at the heart of many of the current  issues affecting us today; the NEC A level Geography course deals with topics such as climate change, the causes and consequences of migration (both national and international), food security and human rights. In the media these issues are often dealt with in a very superficial manner but I find studying geography helps me to gain a better  understanding of each of these issues and how they might be resolved.”

Studying A level Geography online doesn’t mean you’re stuck indoors!

“I like the fact that there is a practical as well as a theoretical element to geography. Fieldwork has always been an essential part of geography, there is no substitute for the real world and, even as a school student, I really enjoyed working outside the classroom. As part of the A level Geography  course, students need to carry out an investigation into a topic chosen from one area of the course. There is a real satisfaction to be gained from this type of work which ‘brings alive’ the topic/area being studied. This is original research which can be used to verify, test and develop existing geographical theories; to have an impact on ‘future geography’ in this way can be very exciting.”

Fostering lifelong learning skills

“As a geography tutor with the NEC, I find I learn as much geography from my students as they do from me. The students who enrol with the NEC come from all over the world and the work they submit contains case studies and fieldwork based on the areas in which they live; often these are areas that I have never visited/am not likely to visit. For instance I have received and marked fieldwork based on locations in the Amazon basin, Mongolia, Japan, Thailand, Zimbabwe and Egypt. The work submitted by students who live closer to home is no less important in helping to expand my geographical knowledge. Due to NEC students I now have a much better understanding of a variety of UK physical and human geography topics such as; the distribution of shops serving different ethnic groups living in east London, the growth and development of sand dune ecosystems on the West Lancashire coast, coastal defences in Lyme bay and the economic viability of estate farms in eastern Scotland. 

Geography is a wide-ranging subject that provides a framework with which to make sense of our complex world, which is why above all I continue to enjoy studying it, as well as teaching.”


If you would like to learn more about the world around you, develop field study skills and gain context that can be used in the study of politics, history, biology and more, check out our brand new A level Geography course.

Have questions about the course? Call our Student Recruitment Team on 0800 389 2839 or book a free ticket to our ‘NEC Presents: A level Geography’ webinar where NEC CEO Esther Chesterman and OCR’s Shelley Monk will be taking you through the course features, rationale behind choices made and answering audience questions. Book here.

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