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National Curriculum

Geography and the national curriculum aims

Geography has a distinctive contribution to make to the aims of the national curriculum. The geography programme of study provides opportunities to plan sequences of work, learning outcomes and teaching approaches that develop:

Successful learners

The relevance of geography to pupils' lives, personal experiences and futures gives them the motivation to succeed and to enjoy learning. Geography equips and enthuses pupils with its range of approaches to learning, including fieldwork and discussion of current issues.

A central purpose of geography at key stage 3 is to develop, through the key concepts, an understanding of the big ideas and events that shape the world. Geography thus enables pupils to become successful learners who have an understanding of issues at different scales and who can make sense of the world around them.

The aim of developing successful learners who are literate, numerate, enquiring and creative, and who can communicate clearly and work both independently and collaboratively, is at the heart of the geography programme of study. These skills are developed through the key processes of geographical enquiry, communication, and graphicacy.

Confident individuals

The variety of enquiry-based approaches used in geography builds pupils’ capacity and confidence, enabling them to research and work effectively, alone and with others. The curriculum aim of developing confident learners who are open to the excitement and inspiration offered by the natural world and human achievements is a key aspect of teaching in geography.

Through experiencing regular and practical fieldwork in a variety of locations pupils learn to manage risk. The geography programme of study provides opportunities for pupils to express their ideas about places and events in local and global contexts. The emphasis on spatial thinking and locational representation is profoundly relevant to pupils in the 21st century.

Geography provides an environment for pupils to explore their own values and beliefs. By recognising and discussing different interpretations of ideas and issues and by understanding how to detect bias pupils learn to respond confidently, developing logical and informed arguments and justifying their own views with evidence.

Responsible citizens

The study of geography prepares pupils for roles as responsible citizens who can make a positive contribution to society locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Geography inspires pupils to think about their place in the world, their values, and their responsibilities to other people and the environment. Geography enables pupils to think in a disciplined way about alternative future scenarios for their planet. Through such analysis they become increasingly aware of people’s opportunities to influence change. This is a key aspect of participation and part of pupil voice in geography.

Geographers have a strong sense of their own place in the world as well as of other people's cultures and traditions and how these interrelate. The key concepts of interdependence, environmental interaction and sustainability, and cultural understanding and diversity, make a major contribution to the development of responsible citizens.

Geography makes explicit the idea that no one place exists in isolation. The subject emphasises interconnectedness, helping pupils to understand global presence in a variety of localities. Globalisation is a process that affects us all. Geography helps pupils to analyse globalisation and to develop an understanding of its various manifestations and impacts. Through participating in responsible action in relation to real-world issues that affect their own and other lives as well as environments, pupils learn to challenge injustice, show commitment to human rights and strive to live peaceably with others. All are essential characteristics of citizens who live in the UK today.

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See also

Here are some useful related resources:

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