It's here and now;Books;Secondary;Geography;Subject of the week

26th March 1999 at 00:00
GEOGRAPHY 21 SERIES. THE UNITED KINGDOM. By Simon Ross. Collins. pound;8.99.

Aclear writing style and attractive design make this new series for middle and higher achieving key stage 3 pupils immediately accessible. It uses an area-based framework with lively activities and questions that will challenge the brightest of pupils. A strong and thorough opening section on map skills accounts for one-fifth of the text.

Returning to a concentric area frame for the series is probably a shrewd move, as most pupils are more comfortable identifying their geographic studies by place than by theme, despite the past few years' plethora of systematically-based titles and courses.

But of necessity, it is only a halfway house. Topics remain systematic in organisation (reflecting the influence of national curriculum orders) and, although it features several good case-studies, large parts of the UK are unrepresented.

The book claims to go beyond national curriculum requirements, but it omits the key theme of transport and communications; it identifies the constituent parts of the UK but gives them no personality.

This serves to highlight the (accidental?) apparent downgrading of the need to know the geography of the British Isles through curriculum events of recent years. Paradoxically, it occurs as the national curriculum restores "place" as one of the three key elements of the subject and as universities reaffirm the value of area-based study.

If giving teenagers a general knowledge of the geography of their own land is deemed important, the proposed major revision of the national curriculum in 2005 might do well to rehabilitate coverage of the UK within a recast place-oriented framework.

Rex Walford teaches geography in the School of Education at Cambridge UniversityBooks 2 and 3 in the Geography 21 series, on Europe and the world, will be published next year

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today