From September 2016, the Department has followed the linear OCR A Level specification with students sitting three examinations at the end of the two-year course. This builds upon the knowledge, understanding and skills developed by students lower down the School. Geography is a highly valued subject in which students develop a range of transferable skills, and the Russell Group universities list Geography as one of only eight facilitating subjects that open a wider range of University options for students.
Students at Ratcliffe enjoy their A Level studies. As well as more traditional topics such as hazards, landscapes and ecosystems, students investigate contemporary issues such as migration, human rights and disease dilemmas.
Debate is encouraged and students develop a sense of who they are and their place in the wider world.
Debate is also further encouraged by links to the Model United Nations Society. This is a geopolitical debate and discussion forum in which students take on the role of representing a country and debate wide ranging political issues from human rights abuses to disarmament or environmental issues such as exploiting endangered species and climate change. The weekly Debating Society also covers geographical-related issues quite frequently.
There are fieldwork opportunities in both Years 12 and 13, focused around the development of subject understanding and development of skills required for the NEA component. Currently Year 12 students participate in short local visits in lessons and undertake human day fieldwork in Leicester and Nottingham, focused on urban rebranding and perceptions of place. In Year 13 there is a field residential to North Wales, focusing on physical fieldwork skills, including measuring infiltration and interception rates and surveying glacial landscapes.