These proposals have arisen from the review of A Level content undertaken by a panel of experts appointed by the A Level Content Advisory Board (ALCAB) in February 2014. The Society will be responding formally to the consultation in due course, and also encourages colleagues from across the geographical community to make their own individual consultation responses.
The Society would like to make these initial comments:
The proposals are a welcome and marked improvement on the draft proposals of summer 2013 and support the decision taken by the Secretary of State in February 2014 to refer geography to ALCAB for major review.
In our view, the specified 60% core content in the proposals is appropriately demanding, relevant, shows good progression from GCSE and introduces new areas of study for students. It should ensure that all students, regardless of the Awarding Organisation specification that they are studying, are introduced to a more sophisticated conceptual underpinning to this important subject. They will study new content and approaches, including systems and integrated approaches across spatial scales from local to global.
The core content offers appropriate preparation for those going on to study geography at university. It also provides rigour and interest for those students who chose not to continue their studies beyond A Level.
The draft criteria require a welcome balance, within all specifications, between human and physical geography and good coverage of human/environment interactions across the course as a whole. The Awarding Organisations are given a good degree of flexibility in determining the 40% non-core topics. There is a clear framework of objectives, enabling them to create distinctive specifications while sustaining a consistent level of demand and progression.
The Society is particularly pleased to see fieldwork, a fundamental learning and research method in the subject, recognised as statutory at A Level. We also welcome the requirement for students to study, understand and apply both quantitative and qualitative field data collection and analysis methods, including geo-spatial methods. We continue to support strongly the need for independent research through a fieldwork investigation, assessed by an internally marked and externally moderated independent study.
Notes to editors:
1. The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) is the learned society and professional body for geography. Formed in 1830, our Royal Charter of 1859 is for 'the advancement of geographical science'. Today, we deliver this objective through developing, supporting and promoting geographical research, expeditions and fieldwork, education, public engagement, and geography input to policy. We aim to foster an understanding and informed enjoyment of our world. We hold the world's largest private geographical collection and provide public access to it. We have a thriving Fellowship and membership and offer the professional accreditation 'Chartered Geographer’. More details from www.rgs.org
2. For further media enquires please contact the RGS-IBG Communications and Media Officer, Ben Parfitt, on 020 7519 3019 or email@example.com
3. Dr Rita Gardner CBE, the Society’s Director, was a member of the ALCAB Subject Advisory Panel for geography. The full membership of this panel is available at http://alcab.org.uk/our-people/subject-panels/
4. Details of the proposals can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/330343/Geography_GCE_-_subject_content_-_final.pdf Details of how to respond can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/gcse-and-a-level-reform
The consultation closes on 19 September 2014.