Lord Adonis, the schools minister, is chairing a working group which includes teachers, practising geographers and academics including Dr Nick Middleton, the TV presenter.
The group was set up last year by Charles Clarke, the then education secretary, in response to a joint request from the Geographical Association and the Royal Geographical Society. Its brief is to address a decline in the number taking geography GCSE and concerns over the quality of teaching, particularly in primaries and at key stage 3. Six priorities have been identified. These are to
* increase public understanding of geography;
* increase understanding of how geography links to other subjects;
* develop the curriculum to enable teachers to exercise more choice;
* extend opportunities for fieldwork;
* offer continuing support for teacher development; and
* show how geography links with the outside world Dr David Lambert, chief executive of the Geographical Association, said:
"If the decline continues, I think ... young people would be seriously impoverished. Geography brings the human and physical world together. It has so much to offer."
Dr Rita Gardner, director of the RGS, said although geographical issues were constantly in the media, they were often not identified as such. This meant geography did not benefit from the upsurge in interest which history programmes gave to their subject.
Analysis 10, Leader 14