Changes to the National Curriculum
Over the next few years there are going to be significant changes made to curriculum and assessment from Primary right through to A Level. This page has been designed to provide you with a quick and handy guide to the changes that are going to be taking place in the National Curriculum with links to websites and documents that will give you further information.
On 7 February 2013 the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove MP, launched a consultation on the new draft National Curriculum, the latest phase of a review that began in January 2011.
The GA hopes that a new National Curriculum will help to define high standards in geography, whilst permitting schools and teachers to identify local curriculum opportunities, preferences and priorities, as well as select their own methods for teaching the content. The GA has consulted widely with its members and will continue to do so to ensure that our their views are shared with the Department for Education and Secretary of State and the GA will do all it can to ensure that members receive support in the transition to a new curriculum.
When are the changes taking place?
The new National Curriculum is currently scheduled to be released in September 2013, with first teaching beginning in September 2014.
What is the GA doing?
The GA has been working hard over the past two years to make sure that the voice of geography teachers is heard during the review of the National Curriculum. Two consultations with our members have enabled us to refine our own proposals for a new Geography National Curriculum and will help shape our response to Government now that the public consultation has begun.
The feedback we have received to our proposals has been overwhelmingly positive with the following key findings emerging:
- A National Curriculum needs clear aims and outcomes statements to support planning and make the rationale for geography clear
- Content can be identified for each key stage which provides coverage appropriate for the core of a student's geographical education
- A concise document can provide an appropriate level of detail for a National Curriculum
- Demonstrating how essential content can be used to develop students' conceptual understanding of geography is valuable to teachers.
- Assessment descriptors for items of content can indicate appropriate standards and outcomes in a way which supports assessment.
- Teachers and schools will require considerable support in order to implement a new national curriculum.
- The GA's proposals for the national curriculum enjoy overwhelming support.
GA DfE teacher feedback meeting
The Department for Education (DfE) asked the Geographical Association to assist in gathering high-quality feedback on the draft Programmes for our subject.
We brought together a select group of primary and secondary teachers of geography together with Phil Bannister from the DfE, in order to discuss the draft face-to-face. We also held a number of smaller meetings including a session at the 2013 annual conference in Derby.
The DfE meeting, held at the Geographical Association in Sheffield on 27 March 2013, addressed the following aims:
1. To provide feedback on the draft Programmes of Study for geography directly to the DfE
2. To identify ways forward for implementation, addressing gaps in subject expertise and teaching materials that might need support for first teaching in September 2014.
In a series of workshop sessions in the morning we discussed and provided critical feedback to the DfE on the draft Programmes for Geography, including items such as the purpose of study and aims, the selected content for KS1-3, the level of challenge, progress and assessment and standards and educational inclusion.
After lunch we examined issues around implementation and support, identifying curriculum elements needing most support, the schools’ ability to implement the changes, sources of support and thoughts on disapplying the current national curriculum early.
We finished the day discussing next steps and the role of the GA in supporting teachers in meeting the challenges posed.
Responses from primary and secondary geography teachers and teacher educators to the question ‘Where do you currently get your support from?’
The formal public consultation about the new draft National Curriculum has now closed, and the GA's response to the draft National Curriculum for geography is now available to download here (16.04.13)
The GA's response to the Secondary School Accountability Consultation is available to download here (02.05.13)
We are considering what support we will give to teachers.
Watch this space! In the meantime feel free to comment on any aspect of the geography National Curriculum and Programme of Study below.
Links and resources
GA Curriculum Consultation 2012 - See the GA's proposals for the new geography curriculum along with feedback from members
DfE - News and information about the school curriculum on the DfE website
The Guardian - Latest news stories regarding the National Curriculum
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