Our response to this Ofqual consultation made suggestions refining some terms and definitions, and argued that specific subjects including geography could take a "coordinating role” within the implementation and teaching of topics.
Response submitted 2009
The Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers), the learned society and professional body for geography, welcomes the opportunity to respond Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum (IRPC). We believe this is a timely review of the primary curriculum and we also note the recent publication of the Alexander Review of the primary curriculum.
We believe the proposed Diploma in Humanities and Social Science has the potential to provide opportunities for young people to access the benefits of geographical approaches, accompanied by the contribution of the other humanities subject.
We welcome the potential for applied learning within the proposed Diploma. We believe that the topicality, relevance and ‘real-world’ application of geographical knowledge, skills and understanding can directly support the aims of this Diploma.
The Society provided verbal feedback as part of one of the Diploma consultation events on 09.02.09.
1. Title for this proposed Diploma should be “Humanities and Social Sciences”.
2. We are pleased to see an appropriate balance of subject knowledge and understanding that support the application of relevant skills through the three levels of the Diploma and identified specifically in the respective topics.
3. In relation to enhancing this Diplomas distinctiveness, we recommend that that the use of Geographical Information Technologies (GIS) is included in the statement concerning employability skills (bullet 5 pg 35) so that it reads as follows:
This Diploma helps to prepare learners for work, not only by integrating work experience into the programme of study but also by focusing on the development of those transferable skills that employers most value in humanities students – the ability to think flexibly, to communicate clearly, to use primary and secondary data sources, and to manage change – as well a specific skills of direct application to the workplace such as the ability to use Geographical Information Technologies (GIS).
4. We recommend that the DPP provide further guidance for Topic 1.1 “An Introduction to enquiry”, with the emphasis on the pupils investigating a topic issue of relevance to them. For example this might include pupils drawing on geographical and citizenship dimensions to explore the impact of crime against young people in their local area, e.g. the incidence, location and impact of mobile phone theft, and presenting this work to key local stakeholder’s e.g. the local police, Councillors or crime prevention officers.
5. We believe there is a role for specific subjects, such as geography, to take a lead “coordinating role” within the implementation and teaching of the topics. For example Topic L1.5 “Investigating an Area” would derive great strength from being coordinated through a geographer’s expertise drawing on the subject specific spatial, analytical and fieldwork skills, whilst also working with other subject colleagues. Such opportunities for subject specialist coordination, which would benefit the depth and range of relevant a topic, should be highlighted. We would welcome the inclusion of guidance within the Diplomas topics that promotes such opportunities.
6. We note, particularly at the Level 3 stage, the potential for schools and their Diploma partners to lack the relevant capacity to teach across the full range of the proposed topics. This is particularly relevant for topics 3.2 Knowledge, logic and argument and 3.5 Personal Experience where many schools will not have access to the relevant high level subject specialists necessary to successfully teach at the required level.
7. Topic 1.4 People and policy should also include explicit reference to local policy decision and how these impact directly on the lives of young people and others. Such locally focused work may include consideration of how local planning decision help shape the nature of the young peoples’ communities and the facilities and services provided within them.
8. The term ‘global warming’ should be changed to ‘climate change’ throughout to be consistent with current scientific usage.
9. The Society believes there will need to be significant support provided to schools and other key stakeholders, such as through partnerships with Subject Bodies, ensure there is the relevant capacity, training, expertise and resources necessary to successfully implement this Diploma.
10. The Society, in common with other Subject Bodies, would be pleased to work with schools, DCSF, QCA and other key stakeholders to develop relevant professional support, networks and expertise to support the successful implementation of this Diploma.
11. These comments are presented on behalf of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).
12. In developing them we have contact and consulted with the following:
The Society’s Education Committee, that includes three head teachers, three head of geography departments, three ITT lecturers and a number of other key educational stakeholders.
Our 100+ expert Chartered Geographer (Teachers).
Teachers in over 900 geography departments whose schools are members of the Society’s School Membership programme.
13. In addition, the following 35 teachers have specifically requested that their explicit support for the Society’s response to this consultation is noted.
Bev Barnett, James Buis, Chris Collins, Julie Crossley, Ruth Field, Graham Goldup, Lucy Greenslade, Victoria Elis, Graham Eyre, Peter Kerruish, Andrew Linnell (Chair of RGS-IBG Education Committee), Laura Macintyre, Adrian Manning, Gaynor Middleton, Claire Morley, Finn Page, Richard Papper, Steve Putnick, Emma Rawlings Smith, Anthony Rogers, Peter Rowbotham, Amanda Roff, Gillian Russell, John Rutter, Alison Smith, Nick Smith, Peter Story, Andrew Talks, Zelda Tan, Lee Thatcher, Stuart Terrell, Gill Troup, E. Webber, Tessa Willy, and Helen Young.
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