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National Curriculum

National Curriculum

National Curriculum 2014

A new geography National Curriculum was implemented from September 2014. The National Curriculum 2014 primary (pdf) and secondary (pdf) documents are available to view.

Recent Society information about the new National Curriculum

View these articles: Teaching the new National Curriculum (PDF), Teaching about the UK (PDF), Global learning with geography (PDF)

National Curriculum for Geography consultation

The Society would like to thank its many members and Fellows, as well as many other geographers, who have responded to the Department for Education review of the draft National Curriculum for geography. It is heartening to know that geography has such an active and engaged community.

There are many positive developments in the draft curriculum which the Society has welcomed. For example, it provides a focus on geographical place knowledge, alongside geographical understanding and skills; rebalances human and physical geography, redressing the erosion of the latter which had occurred over recent years; good coverage of geographical skills, requiring the use of globes, maps (including Ordnance Survey maps) and GIS at Key Stage 3; and an explicit requirement for fieldwork across Key Stage 1, 2 and 3.

The Society’s response, which is consistent with the views that the Society has previously expressed to Ministers and officials, also identifies that climate change should be an explicit requirement within the National Curriculum for geography at Key Stage Three. View the Society’s full response to the consultation (PDF).

The Society also recognises, and we have made the Department for Education aware of this, that our Fellows and members hold a wide range of views about the curriculum. In this context, the Society’s response does not seek to represent the breadth and range of views expressed by its membership.

On 7 February 2013, the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, announced to Parliament details on the future of the national curriculum to be implemented from September 2014, including for geography. This was the culmination of a process for the review of the National Curriculum in England which began in January 2011. The Society was involved in the process, responding to formal consultations and as part of an advisory group to Ministers.

The proposals, on which they were consulting, represented the outcomes of that review. Available documents published include:

Our immediate response: The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) welcomes the proposed new geography Programme of Study for pupils aged 5 to 14. It has a necessary focus on core knowledge: the understanding of locations, country contexts, the key natural and human characteristics of our world, and the human and environmental processes that shape and change the world constantly and differentially. It requires map work and fieldwork at all key stages. In this way it clearly identifies the building blocks of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills that should be taught, and which underpin the understanding of more complex topics in later stages of study.

The Department for Education proposals: In summary - 'A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world helps them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge provides the tools and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.'

Secondary school accountability: At the same time the government has consulted on secondary school accountability. The Society has responded (PDF) and argued that the revised school accountability measures, which would report on a pupils progress in eight subject areas, should include an explicit requirement that pupils study a humanity GCSE (either geography or history).

Further details can be read in this briefing on the curriculum and accountability (PDF).

Previous documentation

Find out more about how the Society has contributed to schools policy.

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