Whether you are a teacher educator, student teacher or a teacher, we hope that the following thoughts are helpful to you. Since February 2013 a group of geography educators have been meeting to discuss some of the opportunities and dilemmas associated with the National Curriculum 2014 proposals for geography. They have done this as volunteers. We have met under the banner of an ‘Expert Group’, however we would wish to present ourselves as informed, experienced and passionate teachers who are seeking to share our expertise rather than to present a singular expert view.
Preparing to teach the Key Stage requirements
When planning your lessons, we would encourage you to always refer back to the Purpose of Study and Aims sections of the National Curriculum Geography Framework. An overview of the Key Stage 1 and 2 curriculum is neatly summarised by the Royal Geographical Society at the link below:
We would not recommend ever simply just using the subject content – the inherent danger of doing this is that you may be tempted to teach geography in a disaggregated way. Geography means literally learning about the world. Alistair Bonnett summarised the subject as: ‘What, why there, why care?’. This is potentially a very helpful succinct statement that helps us to begin to think about the role of geography in education. There should always be a purpose about the geography work you engage in – this is likely to usually include the development of knowledge about where places are, but also develops an understanding of why where they are matters. It matters that an extreme weather event happens in Japan rather than America or the UK. There are causes and consequences because of where things happen, where these places are located in the world. It is this emphasis on the importance of ‘where’ that is one of geography’s distinctive contributions to a child’s education.
So what are the main changes between the current requirements and the 2014 proposed National Curriculum Framework?
Our thanks go to Professor Simon Catling for creating this immensely helpful comparison chart that highlights some of the key changes between the National Curriculum 2000 Programmes of Study and the 2014 proposals.
How to use this section of the site
We would wish to encourage you to use and work with the thinking that we offer, rather than passively accept it. Our work is simply a small contribution to the advice and support that teachers and schools will seek and benefit from. We have written a series of overview pieces and guidance pieces. The Geographical Association, the geography subject association and The Royal Geographical Society with IBG the UK’s learned society for the promotion of geography both provide significant guidance on their own websites, see some of the links below:
Geographical Association –
The Royal Geographical Society with IBG –
The websites listed above for both organisations, give you access to some of the free resources, but it should be pointed out that there are additional materials and publications which can be obtained from becoming a member.
The overview pieces offer a background narrative. The guidance pieces offer examples of disciplined thinking that we hope will enable you to interpret the National Curriculum Framework.
The Overview Pieces include:
The Guidance Pieces include:
We hope that teacher-educators will use some of the guidance pieces directly with their students, and that the overview pieces will support both specialist and non-specialist teachers in the each phase. We wish to enable you to consider why geography plays an essential part in your school curriculum.