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National Curriculum

Geography, personal development and Every Child Matters

Personal development is a vital part of the key stage 3 curriculum and geography has a distinctive contribution to make in this area. The geography programme of study provides opportunities to plan sequences of work, learning outcomes and teaching approaches that support personal development through the five Every Child Matters outcomes.

Enjoy and achieve

For many pupils geography is fun. They enjoy studying diverse environments, places, cultures and peoples. Pupils are motivated by the opportunities available through fieldwork and ICT to investigate, both critically and creatively, real places and people. Pupils value examining issues that are relevant to their lives and to current world events. Pupils also enjoy being challenged in geography to think about new and different places beyond their current experience. Developing an awareness of these places heightens pupils’ sense of curiosity about the Earth. They enjoy being given opportunities to respond responsibly to issues, based on knowledge and understanding.

The contribution that geography makes to pupils' enjoyment derives largely from the opportunities to explore their identity and place in an interconnected world, actively engage with different environments, have their assumptions challenged and challenge the assumptions of others. Geography also evokes in pupils a sense of awe and wonder about a wide range of diverse environments at different scales.

Pupils value the ways in which geography helps them achieve across the curriculum and in the world beyond by developing their abilities to communicate clearly and effectively, to solve problems and to work in teams. Geography’s special emphasis on spatial thinking and graphicacy often enables pupils to ‘see’ the world differently.

Be healthy

Out-of-classroom learning provides important opportunities to develop pupils’ understanding of healthy lifestyles, as does investigation of themes such as leisure. Geography also enables pupils to compare their own lifestyles with those of people in other parts of the world, in particular people in less economically developed countries.

Stay safe

Pupils learn to stay safe, not only through understanding risk and developing safe working practices while conducting fieldwork, but also through exploring ideas and real world issues, such as hazards and health risks in areas where people are not safe. Geography gives pupils the confidence to question information and opinions and not take things at face value. The subject provides pupils with the skills to examine the validity of what they read or are told, and to challenge it on grounds of evidence or reasoned analysis. Exploring and discussing a variety of sources and issues in geography provides opportunities for pupils to examine situations and dilemmas, helping pupils understand how to make safe choices.

Achieve economic wellbeing

Geography plays a central role in contributing to young people's long-term economic wellbeing by developing the spatial and communication skills essential for many jobs. In geography pupils learn to think spatially through using maps, visual images and new technologies, including GIS, to obtain, present and analyse information.

Geography encourages pupils to be adaptable and to suggest informed and creative solutions to real world issues. Geography also encourages pupils to appreciate the need for sustainable economic  developments. Pupils are able to plan, to share their views, and to work effectively in groups. These transferable skills help equip pupils for lifelong learning. The ability to think critically and draw on a range of evidence is one of the key attributes that leads to geographers being employed in a range of sectors.

Make a positive contribution

Geography inspires pupils to think about their own place in the world, their values, and their responsibilities to other people and the environment. Pupils begin to think about their roles as world citizens. They consider how to develop their understanding of sustainable development, and how this can inform their actions and choices.

Geography takes a wide and long view of the impacts of human activities. Pupils examine the social, environmental and economic impacts of what we do, individually and collectively. They realise that taking responsible action on local and global issues makes a positive contribution to society.

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See also

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