Geography Curriculum Consultation 2011

Consultation summer 2011, report published early 2012

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During 2011, the GA worked in close contact with the government and its curriculum advisers on the geography curriculum. We know that they will consult on the official National Curriculum in the first part of 2013. The 2012 consultation took place here.

Geography Curriculum Consultation 2011

From 15 July to 31 October 2011 we asked you to tell us what you think about our Curriculum Proposals and Rationale and the response was fantastic. Full and summary reports of the findings of the consultation are available to download below:

GA Curriculum Consultation Full Report (PDF, 299k)
GA Curriculum Consultation Summary Report (PDF, 139k)

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the consultation.

David Lambert
GA Chief Executive

Consultation documents

Although the consultation has now closed, you can still view the key documents and resources:

You can also view the current national curriculum for geography on the QCDA website - Key Stage 1 (5-7), Key Stage 2 (7-11) and Key Stage 3 (11-14).

Your responses

We had hundreds of responses to our geography curriculum consultation through the questionnaire and open comment forms. Some public comments are available to read below and on the feedback page and a full report is available to download below:

GA Curriculum Consultation Full Report (PDF, 344k)
GA Curriculum Consultation Summary Report (PDF, 141k)

Thanks also to Dr Alex Standish for sharing his own vision of a new geography curriculum (PDF) together with this accompanying explanation (PDF).

Become a GA member and keep up with the debate

The Geographical Association receives no core funding and is highly reliant on membership subscriptions for its charitable work. By becoming a GA member you can support us as we make the case for geography.

If you are already a member, please check your subscription is current. If you are in a school with a group membership, consider the low cost personal Entry Level Membership add on – this gives you your own copy of the termly GA Magazine to keep in touch with developments.

The GA's journals will also be carrying articles on the curriculum debates.

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.


GA Member

An interesting and vital debate. Agree with much of what has been said in the proposals and rationale. I really like the 7 concepts that currently underpin the KS3 curriculum and make these quite explicit in my lessons, I love the analogy of these concepts being the grammar where core knowledge is the vocabulary. I hope that a conceptual holistic approach to teaching geography remains as these provide the understanding into which students can plug in the core knowledge and apply their understanding to new contexts.

However with regards to place I think that yes it is crucial that we teach about globally 'significant' places such as the USA or China but I firmly believe that students should be involved in the dialogue about what makes a place significant. They should be given the chance to study places that are significant to them. This will allow them to apply their understanding of the core concepts of Geography to a place that matters to them and will begin to get them looking at the world as a 'geographer'.


David Cooper Guest

A rather rapid scan, but overall if we could achieve the aims and better the objectives of the document, then Geography would have its rightful place in the curriculum, local, national, regional and international. The Association tries, and needs all the supporrt it can get, to have teachers who can teach this curriculum. What will still need to avoid it doing USA three times and China never on the way.

Charles Rawding

Charles Rawding GA Member

Dr Standish's proposals are frighteningly out of date - regional geography became discredited during the 1960s and 70s - to take such an approach today would be a seriously retrograde step. It would also result in a chasm opening between what was taught in schools and what students would then encounter when undertaking a Geography degree.

GA Member

I think one of the reasons why geography is a valued subject and was included as an option in the English Baccalaureate is because, as Margaret Thatcher once said, ‘geography is a good general knowledge subject’ and with the emphasis on core knowledge and a better understanding between types of knowledge, it would be even more so. With the government looking to emphasise core knowledge in subjects, I consider it a positive move by the GA to make a distinction between what is core knowledge and other knowledge in geography. I also agree with Charlotte in that the woolly nature of the proposed curriculum would enable greater flexibility for teachers as it would allow them to explore current issues, keeping geography relevant and prepare students for the world of today. This is what makes geography unique in comparison to other stagnant subjects. However, there are topics in geography that I feel should be compulsory such as climate change and sustainability that are missed in the proposal – what does everyone else think? Personally, I think the current geography curriculum is prescriptive and this slimmed down version of the curriculum would be a step in the right direction. My one fear is that, in primary schools there is a greater emphasis on the core subjects of maths, science and English, as a result I feel the proposal is optimistic at what it expects pupils to know by the age of 11. Therefore, the first thing to do would be to know where the pupils are in relation to the subject.


Ash Lucas Guest

I am in complete support of the new Geography curriculum proposed by the Geographical Assocation. The current curriculum is overly concerned with too many key concepts which disrupts the way teachers can effectively teach them in the classroom. For example many of the current curriculum key concepts such as scale and interdependance should be explored through other themes and investigations rather than focusing on them specifically. The new curriculum allows a streamlined approach to Geography and will enable teachers to plan more creative lessons as there seems to be less control over what children learn.

I am also in total support of the idea of "core knowledge". Children in schools should be taught capital cities, river names and flag recognisation. If children have a strong core knowledge then it will allow concepts to be explored with more depth and a greater understanding of the subject. I propose that teachers should encorportate core knowledge into lessons either through a weekly research task or weekly testing.


Jeremy Linton Guest

I feel that the proposals for change from the Geographical Associate to the Geography Curriculum are fair and justified. All organisations that represent professional teachers of a particular discipline I believe should be allowed to have significant input to the planning and implementation of their subject’s curriculum. Rather than the curriculum of some subjects it being thrown together by those who are not necessarily on the front line of their subject.

The focus on the core knowledge of Geography within the proposed curriculum is essential. Even though students may indeed learn core geographical knowledge throughout Primary School, I believe that students should be explicitly informed or taught that what they are leaning as they are learning it is indeed Geography, rather than what could possibly be perceived as only general knowledge.

The key concepts of the existing National Curriculum with regards to Geography are indeed relevant, however the GA's point of allowing teachers more freedom in planning their own curriculum is essential with regards to the future of Geography in schools and the ability of teachers to teach within reason what they want to teach, the way they want to teach it. The existing curriculum I think is too broad for Geography to significantly begin in Secondary School and much more effort should be taken to slim the existing curriculum to improve its efficiency and also improve the amount of effectively taught Geography in Primary Schools.

GA Member

So, let me get this right, according to Standish, students not choosing to continue geography to KS4 will have no idea about some of the major areas in the world today - USA, China etc. because his model says we do those at GCSE. Hmmm...

Did environmental geography do something wrong? Perhaps students expressing opinions over issues is unacceptable? Or perhaps it is harder to test!?

Whilst I agree we should have high expectations of pupils, Standish suggests state schools and private schools should have the same expectations - absolutely, but I teach classes of 32 - show me a private school that does that! My expectations for my pupils are extremely high (and the FFT and ALIS targets are often higher!) but lets be realistic - the two situations are not comparable. Grrr...


Ian Murray Guest

The geography offered by Standish is entirely conformist and passive. The obvious attempt to remove politics from geography is in itself an enormously politically charged statement.

There is nothing about rainforest deforestation, global warming, eutrophication, planning issues. It is all functionalist with everybody acting together making wise decisions in the common interest. Students are expected to learn but not question.

It heralds a return to dams as feats of engineering genius, new crops as victories for science, new housing on greenfield sites as in the national interest.

Human geography is about decision taking - there are vested interests, there are conflicting views, there are people out to look after themselves at the expense of others, there is misinformation and propaganda, corruption exists. It is a messy, imperfect world.

But for Standish everything is as settled and harmonious as the curriculum of a 1950s prep school.


Nick C Guest

The proposals seem to hark back to when the National Curriculum was introduced. Very prescriptive and although we always find a way to make topics interesting many of these seem sadly uninspiring.

I think if I look hard enough I will probably find some old schemes of work and textbooks from the 1980's 1990's that we can use to deliver the new course and at least it will stop me having to bother planning my lessons too much!

It will reduce uptake into KS4 and the proposals could kill off the subject sadly.


Sharlina Guest

i very much like the geographical associations rationale for the geography curriculum, this is because i believe that most of the themes outlined in the scheme of work are suitable for such a contemporary, fast changing society. The GA's proposal deals with many human aspects of geography as well as 'relevant' physical facets such as hazards. this is in contrast to how geography was taught before the pre-war period where it was vey much systematic and regional, meaning that much of the geography that was taught then, was probably not relevant to the lived experiences of the students.
The fact that the proposal explicitly outlines the key concepts, processes, content and curriculum opportunities makes it easier for teachers as curriculum makers to grasp a good understanding of what it means to teach geography and how that should be embedded within teaching and learning.
I especially liked the idea of catergorising the notion of knowledge into three groups, such as core knowledge, content knowledge and procedural knowledge as i believe all three are important to help create successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens within the subject of geography, as this makes geography engaging and dynamic for the students.

GA Member

The GA has put forward some interesting suggestions to enable geography to take its rightful place in the school curriculum. The proposals put forward by Dr Standish seem to return us to the difficult times of the 1991 GNC with lists of facts many of which would have little relevance to today's young people, particularly in his regional geography section. Teachers need to work with a curriculum which can engage young people and show that geography is a dynamic and relevant subject and in this way help them to learn about our world.


Tracy Barker Guest

After talking to friends from school that did this type of Geographer, they could never understand why I continued and regularly ask if I now teach about the amount of coal that is produced in the United States of America.

Lets not go backwards, yes students and then citizens need to know about their locality, their country and the region that they live in but not at the expense of the freedom that schools have follow exciting topics that inspire students and that at the moment can be incorporated into GCSE exams.

Some of the gushingly positive comments on here, made me wonder what are these teachers teaching that they can see this as a positive outlook.

GA Member

I have just started my PGCE and a huge draw of the flexible format that the current curriculum provides and that the GA's proposed curriculum suggests is that I will be able to teach the Geography that is relevant to the students in a shifting world, in such a way as to prepare them for their undefined futures. The adaptability of the format reflects the very essence of Geography. The divisions of 'core' 'content' and 'procedural' are not too restrictive and are therefore helpful in terms of giving to others an explanation for Geography that as a discipline it is so frequently accused of lacking.
I find the proposal by Alex Standish rather unpalatable to be completely honest. I think that all children should understand the places they live, however, his interpretation of what knowledge should be administered is disconcerting. I think that the encouragement of specialists into the teaching field is undermined in his rationale. Geography is the only curriculum subject which has the ability to evolve on a daily basis and the teaching of it should embrace that quality. I will struggle to remain as enthusiastic if forced to teach such a retrograde curriculum as that proposed by Mr Standish.


- Guest

Alex Standish's curriculum would in my opinion, be disastrous for geographical education. It is extremely dated in that it takes no account of the developments in academic geography and geographical education that have taken place in the last 50 years. His human geography takes no account of, for example, human agency in decision making, conflicting viewpoints on what should be done, on the political and economic contexts in which these decisions are made and of the way places are represented and understood. His physical geography takes no account the complex interplay between human action and physical processes; rivers, coasts, hazards can be managed and are influenced by human action. He does not include thinking on environmental issues. Standish’s geography is simplistic, is mainly descriptive and lacks intellectual rigour.
Geographical education in England currently goes beyond Standish’s description and factor analysis and has developed investigative approaches which enable students to study a wide range of complex issues through the analysis and interpretation of evidence, presented not only on maps, but in statistics, graphs, text, photographs and film.
There are several reasons why a dated curriculum would matter.
First, school geography would become even more detached from the academic discipline and would not be able to benefit from constructive liaison between academic and school geographers. It would stagnate.
Second, it would become difficult to attract good geography graduates into teaching as they would not be able to make use of the subject knowledge gained during their degree course and contribute to the development of the curriculum
Third, children and students in school would find this curriculum unrelated to the lives they lead and to the way they encounter the world through the media. For example, how would knowing about ‘hamlets’ or ‘linear settlements’ or ‘central place theory’ increase students’ understanding of UK's urban areas? Students would find this curriculum irrelevant and boring.
Fourth, the respect that many countries, e.g. Singapore, have for the English geography curriculum and geographical education would be lost. Many geography educators, internationally, would greet a curriculum based on Standish’s ideas with disbelief or ridicule.
Fifth, the Standish curriculum would not enable students to develop an understanding of the major issues we face in the 21st century: globalisation; global warming; increasing urbanisation; use of water and resources; energy supply; feeding the world’s population; huge national and global inequalities; fragile ecosystems and environmental change; local, national and international conflicts.
In my view the Standish curriculum is a stagnant curriculum and every effort should be made to prevent it having any influence on the new geography national curriculum. For the complex demands of the 21st century, we need a geography curriculum which is informed by the latest academic thinking in geography and which excites and engages young people and develops their understanding of the changing and complex world in which they are growing up and in which they will live their adult lives.

Margaret Roberts, GA Member

Lucy Sarah Rawe

Lucy Sarah Rawe GA Member

Alex Standish's proposals will lead to disengagement of both students and their teachers from the joys of geography.

It seems to be entirely irrelevant to the challenge of the 21st century that we should be preparing our students for.

There is too much emphasis on the accumulation of knowledge a lot of which is outdated and irrelevant and too little on how students will understand and process the world they live in.


Aidan Hesslewood Guest

Having trained as an academic and now currently training to be a geography teacher, I hope, by writing these comments, I’m not speaking out of turn. I have very little experience of geography in school and can only speak from a more academic perspective (and of experiencing the stagnant school geography of the 1990s when I was at school). Anyway, I think trifurcating these geographical knowledges can be rather confusing. I’m unsure of what is actually meant in Kn1? Is it suggesting that we continue with the sometimes superfluous subject matter that some (popular geographers (Standish?!)) consider the meat and drink of the discipline? I thought that geographers posited their capacity to spatially analyse as their ‘core knowledge’ - to be able to see the world through a geographical lens? If not, then surely this is content rather than context.

Table 1 makes a lot of sense at first glance. However, if we really think about it ‘place’ seems to be somewhat confused with ‘space’ here. If they are used to refer to key geographical concepts (cf. extant KS3 curriculum 2007), then notions of territories and regions need to come under the space banner, being inextricably linked with geopolitics, rather than the cultural politics of meaning and representation: ‘place’ (delineated through 1970s humanism) refers not to the political production of ‘space’ that gives rise to territorial cleavages and the like, but to values invested in culturally bound geographical imaginations. In short, then, why have ‘imaginative geographies’ been dropped?

My only other concern is that ‘Geog Enquiry’ in the table, as well as Kn3, seems to forget that geography IS very much a science – both a natural and social science – and I believe teaching and learning should cover that a great deal indeed. Geographical enquiry should involve a well-justified, technically diverse methodology, followed by a series of robust and resounding conclusions, but it should – as mentioned in the proposals – also be able to take these further to have wider social, environmental and political ramifications: school geography should involve activism based on some sound science; it should implore as much as it explores. I wholeheartedly agree with Lambert in this respect that teachers may need to engage more with epistemology. This would surely create a spark and enable exciting new geographies to unfold. Issues of power, vested interests, social and environmental injustice, resistance and exclusion seem to be the most pertinent ‘living geographies’ of young people – especially when they are identified as one of our most excluded social groups.

GA Member

The subject is definitely creating debate, I don't believe Alex Standish consulted pupils or had discussions with teaching staff when he came up with his proposal. I'm sure pupils would be against learning by rote.

He's ignored what I see as the strengths of the syllabus and the prescribed countries... goes against keeping geography topical, current, global and interesting.

I think he is lacking in "cultural understanding" (also omitted from his suggestions) to what makes the syllabus great, what makes it work and what children enjoy.

How much money has been wasted on his consultation process when "tweaking" would have been more cost effective and better supported by teachers, pupils. If it's not broke why is he being asked to fix it. The GA proposals are definitely better but I still wonder “why are we initiating these changes?” Were the 2007 proposed changes really no good?

As said by Whelan, "Curriculum is being corrupted by politics" sadly and ultimately it will be children who suffer.


grd Guest

I have just read the suggestions by Dr Standish and I agree that he identifies some many areas of Geography that we should teach -rivers, continents, maps, countries, etc - this "core" can be neglected as we fast track to the exciting "hands on" parts of our subject.

I say 'can' because a well planned programme would include this core before developing an understanding of process, evaluation of issues, assessment of management and then perhaps a practical application of this knowledge perhaps via a role play exercise or decison making task. (structured around Bloom's taxonomy is a good start)

My worry is that Dr Standish's proposal seems to be promoting this core as the be all and end all of Geography not the essential foundation. I have taught Geography for 16 years now and this proposal reminds me of the Geography from 1980 - since then we have had 30 years of development in this subject- some of it good some of it less so.

This proposal seems to simply ignore all of the positive progress and simply initiate a "system restore" back to 1985.

GA Member

I agree with Standish on some points, introducing more geography into primary schools and allowing teachers to make the final decision HOW something is taught in the classroom. However, to suggest that geography teachers in state schools currently have low expectations of how much their students can learn is insulting, and whilst ‘a core knowledge base’ must help geographical understanding , it seems to me he is suggesting quantity over quality. If students exit school knowing virtually all the features on the globe have they really learnt geographical thinking? Have they learnt any skills? The most worrying part of the proposal is the re-introduction of regional geography-cultural and landscape. I think this is out dated and teaching about different regional cultures reinforces stereotypes people have about places which can be propagated by the media and people they know. In addition, with globalisation, ‘different’ cultures and ideas continue to spread across the globe, so is it accurate to say there is such thing as a regional culture? This angle of teaching emphasises difference rather than similarity which may install the ‘them and us’ way of thinking in students. For example when looking at MEDC and LEDC buildings built to survive earthquakes, why not look at similarities in the thinking behind them? They both create underlying structures which provide stability, they are both using the materials available to them which they have learnt survive best, they both have to think very carefully about the constructions for the foundations - rather than a ‘spot the difference’ exercise. Or is this too idealistic? I suppose regional landscape geography is a little less controversial, as different places on the globe do have different landscapes and different features.

I also a agree with a posting (unnamed) on the GA website which mentions that the UK curriculum is taught across the globe and this new curriculum may seem irrelevant, too UK-centric and outdated in those places where it will be taught.


James Carr Guest

I think that Standish has a very 2D approach to the Geography curriculum as he seems to place the emphasis upon 'Regional' geography and upon factual based studies of the continents. The study of regions obviously does have a place within geography but I believe the future of geography is in the dynamic aspects which have a real relevance in the 21st century. These include the concept of a global community, of interdependence and of working together for a sustainable future. I think these are the major concepts which should be driving the geography of today and these are distinctly lacking in Standish's proposal. Without these I believe the curriculum, while of course having academic worth, would be a grey subject, lacking in imagination and thus a step back. The GA proposal still promotes a 'core knowledge', which the public deems geography to lack, but it also adds colour and vitality to this. Our understanding of the world as a whole through holistic enquiry and how we are more interconnected and interdependent than ever before in history, is brought into focus.

GA Member

I do agree with the majority of the GA’s proposals, as it stops the de-skilling of the geography educators, by allowing them to become the curriculum makers. If you want to inspire students with geography, you need to allow the teachers to work to their full potential and enthusiasm; not within a straight jacketed approach. With ownership of the subject can come passion and pride. I do however, believe that there needs to be more prescription within primary schools for teachers who are likely not to be specialists in the subject. I think it is very positive that the GA’s proposals are very student centred and one which itself looks beyond exams and perhaps one of the most important aims of geography “to encourage and underpin a lifelong conversation about the Earth as the home of human kind.”

In response to the proposal by Standish; There seems to be a degree of resistance towards regional geography, so if it cannot be sold to educators, then surely it seems logical that it cannot be sold to the geographers of tomorrow, those who are the future of the subject, those who would be studying this curriculum. I myself cringe at the thought at putting regional geography on the subject list; not exactly inspiring and whilst Standish may claim it is not important to “sexify” subjects, it is important to make them relevant and exciting to those who are studying them.
I do not feel it is necessary to distinguish regional geography, it is something which was integrated well within the curriculum, when subjects are studied on the local, regional and national scale. It would also have to be questioned what would a region be defined as? Europe is seen as a region, yet surely its constant expansion makes it less of a homogenous landscape with similar characteristics. Is the definition of a region so well agreed upon, that it can be a basis for school geography? Strangely it seems to miss out areas such as fieldwork and the associated skills, and the exclusion of Australasia as a region. Why are these areas not included? Why are these not deemed important?


Annie Bainbridge Guest

The use of "knowledge" worries me as it doesn't do justice to a subject which is so broad and concept based. High level geographers understand that it's not so much the retention of knowledge which is needed, but more the deep understanding of the interconnected nature of our planet. Only that understanding will allow us to truly manage it sustainably in the future. Knowledge is only the start of the journey! Dividing into sections is also somewhat reductive. Geography's main achilles heel is our identity. The ignorance of others (and I include policy makers in that) as to what our subject is is our downfall.

David Lambert

David Lambert GA Member

Hi Annie,
I do understand your point. But do we really want to suggest that conceptual understanding can be developed without knowledge? Are we saying knowledge is low level - only to do with rote? Let's be more ambitious! I hope the GA's proposals help to move us beyond this (false) dichotomy between knowledge and understanding. The main contents (Kn2) is concerned with deep learning -ie conceptual understanding.
It seems to me that all highly regarded subjects on the curriculum are fairly clear about their contribution to human knowledge

Joe Follows

Joe Follows GA Member

When I think that I turned to teaching Geography for a love and passion for the subject, I remember the amazing experiences I had whilst at school, being encouraged to discover new things, to explore what I was interested in and to think outside the box. I think back to the fieldwork experiences, and the fact that I didn't quite understand the rapid changes the world was seeing. Geography bought that passion and raw excitement of the world to me. Unfortunately, I cannot see that passion and raw excitement in the new proposal by Alex Standish. A return to mid 1900s geography of tick-box learning and not a mention of fieldwork in sight. A dismal effort to bring one of the most contemporary content filled subjects on the curriculum into the modern education system. Geography should be celebrated for its ability to change every day and move with society, and it should be there to help prepare the children in education today for a world that is also changing on a daily basis, that they are growing up into. Something the stagnant Standish proposal severely lacks.


Dr Kevin Cook Guest

It is interesting to note how Dr Standish's proposed curriculum has brought the geography community together in opposition to his views. I will add my name to those who find his approach outdated and certainly lacking in imagination. One of the difficulties of basing so much of the curriculum at all stages on the 'region' is that of defining what makes up your region and who chooses what 'regions' to study. I thought the new National Curriculum was supposed to allow teachers to become the curriculum makers. Following the Standish approach would increase control of what is taught rather than reduce it.

It is possible to determine where Dr Standish positions himself if one reads his short bio. He is writing having been invited to do so by the current government.; he speaks as someone with only ten years experience of teaching in UK schools, now lives and lectures in the US and his dismissive comments of the geography teaching and learning currently being undertaken in UK state schools won't has won him many friends.

I have a suggestion to make. Why not invite Dr Standish to come to conference and defend his curriculum. I am sure this would provide an interesting debate. I for one would like to listen to his justification for a curriculum that includes very few opportunities for fieldwork, is centrally driven and takes us back to the regional approaches of the 1930s.


swhitch Guest

The GA proposals appear very sound and have been developed using the acquired knowledge of a vast number of highly experienced professionals at the centre of Geographical education in the UK in the 21st Century. To fail to take this advice and guidance on the ways forward for the most relevant subject currently being studied by students in the UK would be a great shortcoming to the education thisd generation. It provides clarity in its content and progression from one key stage to another - joined up thinking is what education in the UK cries out for and this seems to provide the skills and knowledge that many feel necessary to see the subject not only survive in a competitive world but to thrive. Well done the GA.
ps cannot find the School membership number so have had to log on a guest.

GA Member

As a PGCE student, it is clear that Mr Standish's proposals are out-of-date. In contrast, the ideas presented in the GA's proposal are exciting and will hopefully give teachers a greater flexibility to prepare creative and relevant lessons for their pupils, highlighting the dynamic nature of geography as a contemporary subject unlike many stagnant subjects. I like this idea of 'core knowledge' and feel that this will make it clear what I am expected to teach, without restricting the strategies I use to do so. Agreeing with Aza I would argue that certain topics such as climate change and sustainability should be complusory, as they are contemporary issues which may impact the lives of the students we teach. Overall though, very impressed!


swansea university Guest

If anyone is interested in a research video of greenland climate change


Rosana Guest

I am a professor of geography at a secondary school in Buenos Aires Argentina, wanted to know how I could contact other professors that geography in




Kelly M Guest

This may not fit with others opinions within the comment section on this page (and beyond), but I don't have much of an issue with the current geography curriculum (2007). This may be as I am not far within my teaching career so forgive me if I say something inaccurate but I like the fact that the key concepts and processes etc are vaguely listed. I feel that it does provide teachers with some autonomy of what content they are going to teach and how they are going to teach it.
However, the GA proposal provides a good mental framework for teachers when planning ‘their curriculum’ and lessons. I like the ideas of the language metaphor and the three forms of geographical knowledge (core, content and procedural).
I think that the way the proposal explains core knowledge is very important... it is the basis, the foundations on which the house can be built. This is an area which I feel is overlooked so that teachers avoid trivialising the subject. Speaking from my own school experience- I feel that my core geographical knowledge is in some respects very poor!
What I think needs to be focused on more is this core knowledge, especially with regards to primary geography. If more teaching time was devoted at these early stages then we may find that as the pupils enter KS3, they will be more prepared and better equipped with the tools they need to build on that prior knowledge and understanding.
Further to the GA proposal I would definitely like to see a part of the curriculum which has an academic influence and which is not commonly taught within school (mainly ideas and topics which are covered at university level). For example: ideas of virtual geographies, health geographies and gender and development (challenging misconceptions). They would not be taught in as much depth as they are in university (obviously) but I think it would bring something fresh to the subject and show pupils how vast, interesting, relevant and modern the subject matter can be!


James Innes Guest

I think that the addition of the content orientated “core requirements” makes an important contribution to what is currently a very abstract curriculum, and I think that the range of topics represent a comprehensive and engaging selection of geographical content. My only criticism is that each topic is restricted by the year group, as opposed to revisiting topics with greater depth as the students’ progress. I also think that the topics that cover “challenges to man”, such as hazards and energy, also include the opportunities and positive aspects that these processes encompass, rather than simply reverting to the traditional disaster narrative, the world is much more complex than a raft on impending threats. A very quick example might look into how energy resources can benefit indigenous communities etc.

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