Opportunities all round

24th March 2000 at 00:00
Keith Grimwade of the GA says the revisions favour geography

Geographers must make the most of the opportunities presented by the revised programmes of study and new A-level specification. There is much in our favour. At primary level we have:

* early learning goals replacing the desirable learning outcomes. These are clearer and easier to work with and will provide a better foundation for the key stage 1 curriculum;

* a programme of study that is once again statutory;

* an enhanced role for geographical enquiry that will encourage practical, investigative approaches to teaching.

Imaginative links with the literacy and numeracy strategies will be increasingly possible.

There are also opportunities at secondary level. The revisions entail:

* a more flexible programme of study, which enables creative curriculum planning;

* new regulations allow disapplication of design and technology andor modern foreign languages if students need to spend more time studying fewer subjects or wish to specialise in a particular curriculum area. Potentially, this makes it possible for less academically able students to spend more time consolidating their work in geography. It also makes it easier for students to study geography and related subjects;

* A-level specifications with clear links to all key skills, making geography an attractive post-16 opion.

Curriculum 2000 provides a greater role for citizenship and environmental education, perhaps the most interesting opportunities for geography:

* Geography has a lead role in global citizenship. Links to the citizenship programme of study are made in geography's programme and in the QCA schemes of work;

* "Environmental change and sustainable development" is one of the four main aspects of the programme of study at all key stages, giving geography a unique opportunity to demonstrate its relevance to the wider curriculum and topical issues.

Geographers must also grasp the opportunities presented by information and communications technology: computers, digital cameras for fieldwork and the Internet as the preferred source for research.

The Geographical Association is continuing the work of the GeoVisions group of Birmingham's Development Education Centre to research, debate and define a relevant and stimulating future for geography in the curriculum. This project will invite the views of all geographers and provides a chance for everyone to get involved.

Keith Grimwade is general adviser for geography, Cambridgeshire LEA, and Chair of the Geographical Association's Education Standing Committee. GA, 160 Solly Street, Sheffield S1 4BF. Tel: 0114 296 0088.E-mail ga@geography.org.uk. Website: (starting up in April) www.geography.org.uk


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