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Keywords:

  • Geography;
  • participation;
  • widening access;
  • geodemographics

Geography is not a compulsory subject of study beyond the age of 14 in English schools and this has had an impact on both absolute and relative participation rates over recent years. Geodemographic analysis reveals that pupils domiciled within more affluent and less ethnically diverse areas record the highest rates of participation and attainment in GCSE Geography, and that the stratified patterns of participation have increased between 2005 and 2009. Within this period, those schools that have stopped supplying successful GCSE Geography entries by 2009 were found to have overall low aggregate attainment and to draw pupils from more deprived areas. The profile of schools visited by the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) (RGS-IBG) Ambassador Scheme was also considered to assess the extent that the schools visited are representative of pupils who are most at risk of non-participation.