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Department of Education and Science

Department of Education and Science

from 5 to 16

Curriculum Matters 7


© Crown copyright 1986
First published 1986

ISBN 0 11 270606 1

Contents Page


Early primary 5

Later primary lO

Planning for the primary phase 18

Secondary 21

Planning and organisation in secondary schools 35

Progression and continuity 39

Assessment 42

Appendix 1
Application of locational questions to a particular 46
activity: the fIre service

Appendix 2
Support from external agencies 48

Appendix 3
Manufacturing industry - an illustration of 49

This is the seventh in HM Inspectorate's discussion series
Curriculum Matters. It sets out a framework within which each
school might develop a geography programme appropriate to its
own pupils.
The document focuses on the aims and objectives for the teaching
of geography between the ages of 5 and 16 and considers their
implications for the choice of content, for teaching approaches,
and for the assessment of pupils' progress.
Like all other papers in this series Geography from 5 to 16 is a
discussion document and the Inspectorate would welcome your
comments and suggestions on it and the issues it raises.
If you have any comments, please send them to the Staff
Inspector (Geography), Department of Education and Science,
York Road, London SEI 7PH, by 31st March 1987.

Senior Chief Inspector

It is essential that this document should be read as a whole, since

all sections are interrelated. For example, the lists of objectives
must be seen in relation to the defined aims and to what is said
about the principles of Geography teaching and assessment.

1. G~ogrlillhY helps pupils to !!l<ll<esenseQf th~i,L~1lITQun<.lings
alld ~ain .a better appreciation and understanding of the
variety ofpliysicaland humancondiliQQ.l'QJ) the. earth's surface.
ICnasairecCreIevance for pupils aged from 5 to 16 because it
relates to many aspects of their own lives and of the environment
in which they live. This relevance is especially evident when the
study of geography focuses on activities in which they personally
engage or hope to engage; when it is concerned with their
immediate surroundmgs or areas with which they are familiar;
wnentrenqITites--ffiIo--imJ'-ortant changes taking J:llill:;e, either
locally or elsewhere in the world, which may influence their
own lives and which, in time, they may seek to influence as
aware and responsible citizens; and w~ell_ it examines current
so~i.~L~co.!!omk,!:2!lllle~!~i~li!!es. The geo-
graphy undertaken in primary and secondary schools extends
pupils' interests and knowledge beyond their immediate ex-
perience and helps them to interpret the images and information
about people and places which they acquire from television,
books, magazines and other sources. While the aims of geography
teaching take particular account of the distinct perspectives and
methods of enquiry associated with the subject, they also
recognise other broad educational goals that can be effectively
pursued through the study of geography.

The aims of geographical education

2. Geographical studies over the 5 to 16 age range should help
pupils to:
• develop a strong interest in their own surroundings and in the
world as the home of mankind;
• appreciate the variety of physical and human conditions on
the earth's surface;
• recognise some of the more important geographical patterns
and relationships which are revealed in different types of
landscape and in different human activities;
• understand some of the relationships between people and
• appreciate the importance of geographical location in human
affairs and understand how activities and places are linked by

movements of people, materials and information and by complex

economic, social, political and physical relationships;
• understand what it means to live in one place rather than
• understand some of the more important physical and human
processes which produce geographical pattern and variety and
which bring about changes;
• develop a range of skills and competencies necessary to carry
out geographical enquiry and to interpret geographical informa-
• appreciate the significance of people's beliefs, attitudes and
values to those relationships and issues which have a geographical
• construct a framework of knowledge and understanding about
their home area, about their own country and about other parts
of the world, which will enable them to place information
within appropriate geographical contexts.
3. If geography is to provide an effective means by which
pupils attain general educational goals, teachers need to relate
the specific contributions of the subject to the overall aims,
policies and organisation of a school's curriculum. HMI have
recently described a general framework for designing the
curriculum!, based on two main perspectives: areas oflearning
and experience, which are considered as broad lines of develop-
ment essential for a rounded education; and elements of
learning, which consist of the knowledge, understanding, skills
and attitudes to be developed. In addition, it is recognised that
there are important cross curricular issues, which need to be
given adequate attention within the curriculum. Such a frame-
work facilitates the analysis of the contribution of geography to
general educational goals.

4. Nine areas oflearning and experience are identified: aesthetic;

and creative; human and social; li~istic and literary; mathe-
maiicaJ; moral;-pn-yS!clil; scientific; sprrituar;alloteainol2gical.
While geography can make some
contriliuuon to allofilie areas,
it is likely in any particular course to contribute more to some
areas than to others. Given the variety of possible emphases, tl;1e
first task is to analyse and evaluate existing practice within a
1. The curriculumfrum 5 to 16. Curriculum Matters 2. HMSO, 1985.


school, in order to clarify what is being achieved through geo-

graphy and what more could reasonably be attempted. The
most significant contribution is likely to be to the 'human and
social area' , which is concerned with 'people and how they live,
with their relationships with each other and with their environ-
ment, and how hUman action, now and in the past, has influenced
events and conditions.' The particular perspectives offered by
geography have obvious and direct relevance for these aspects of
the curriculum. Consideration of human behaviour within geo-
graphical contexts, especially in relation to social, political and
environmental issues, can also contribute to pupils' moral edu-

5. But geographical education is not confined to the study of

human and social behaviour and circumstances. It is also con-
cerned with pupils' understanding of natural environments and
of t~e p1!Ysical proceSSes which lead to envlfonmentaI stability
or c ange. It is through geography that pupils are most likely to
be introduced to such natural systems of the earth's surface as
its landforms, its weather and climate, and its vegetation and
soil cover. Pupils must have some understanding of the processes
operating within these systems if they are to make sense of the
relationships between people and environments. Furthermore,
the methods of enquiry and analysis which pupils can use to
study geographical relationships and processes, both physical
and human, can contribute to their scientific learning. Many of
the activities and strategies associated with scientific method are
applicable to geographical enquiry. Here there is abundant
scope for pupils to make observations; select observations
relevant to their investigations for further study; seek and identify
patterns and relate these to patterns perceived earlier; suggest
and evaluate explanations of the patterns; and use their know-
ledge to plan and carry out investigations to 'test' suggested
explanations for the patterns which have been observed1 •
Examples relating to the other areas of learning and experience
could be given. But none of these contributions are guaranteed;
they need to be planned and their effectiveness evaluated.

6. Many teachers of geography are familiar with the idea of

specifying learning objectives in terms of knowledge, under-
standing, skills and competencies, attitudes and values. This
form of categorisation can usefully be applied at the general
1. Science5-16:astatementofpolicyHMSO, 1985.

level of course planning and evaluation and at the more specific

level of designing units of work. An analysis of the importance
of concepts and generalisations to the development of geo-
graphical understanding, supported by examples of general
ideas associated with various systematic themes, is presented in
the HMI publication The teaching of ideas in geographyl. In
practice, knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes are
closely interrelated and the work on any particular geographical
topic may involve all four.

7. A school also needs to identify a limited number of cross

curricular issues - themes to which it intends to give some
pnonty, but which it recognises cannot be contained adequately
within a single subject or limited part of the curriculum.
Examples of such themes to which geography can make a
significant contribution are environmental education, political
education and education in economic understanding. However,
if the contribution from geography is to be effective, it is again
necessary for teachers to be explicit about their intentions and to
identify what geography can offer and how this relates to the
total curriculum of the school. Even more fundamental is the ensur(! offers eQJlal interests
ana·oppoitullltie~ !Q.,&!rls and boys and that it prepares them
adequately for·id..!!!Lmembershi~Qf a_!!!!!ltie!!!nic ang multi-
cultllrar·sOcle.!L-While these are principles which should
p-ermeateacurriculum, geography provides especially good
opportunities to help pupils appreciate and understand the
composition of different societies, including our own, and the
various ways in which different communities contribute to
human endeavour and achievement. As the content of geography
focuses on people and places, teache.!.~.hl!~e~~gf.!!t!!!:..I~§P.Q!l­
si?ility toensure that they avoid bias~dstert!Qty-pingjn.lhe
images which they -present·-ano In··tEe
ideas and explap,ati(!.I!s
w~ichtheYQf[eL-~·-·-·-··· .

8. The remainder of this paper sets out for discussion appro-

priate objectives for the teaching of geography in different
stages of the compulsory period of education and guidelines for
the preparation of courses. The selection of goals and of strategies
for achieving them necessarily involves judgements and both
the goals and the strategies are properly matters for debate and
professional decision.
1. Matters for Discussion No.5. HMSO, 1978.


Early primary
9. During the early years of the primary phase much of the
curriculum is more likely to be organised around activities and
topics than in the form of subjects. At this stage the most
appropriate learning is through fIrst-hand experience and
observation and, although geography is not likely to be identifIed
as a separate element of the timetable, a great deal of learning
may serve to increase pupils' environmental awareness and
understanding, thereby providing a foundation for later studies
which can profItably draw more directly on the subject.

10. The curriculum for the early years should provide pupils
with learning experiences of a geographical nature that will
enable them to:
• extend their awareness of, and develop their interest in, their
• olJ§.~ accurately and develop simple skills of enquiry;
• id~!!~_!fY.and explore features of the local environment;
• distinguish between the variety of ways in which land is used
and the variety of purposes for which buildings are constructed;
• recognise and investigate changes taking place in the local
• relate different types of human activity to specifIc places
within the area; -------
• develop concepts which enable them to recognise the relative
position and spatiall!ltributes of features within their environ-
ment; ----------
• understand some of the ways in which the local environment
affects people's lives; --------------
• develop an awareness of s~~§Qn.!!L~l1anges of weather and of
the effects which weather conditions have on the growth of
plants, on the lives of animals and on their own and other
people's activities;
• gain some understanding of the different contributions which
a variety of individuals and services make to the life of the local

• begin to develop an interest in people and places beyond their

immediate experience; ---
• develop an awareness of cultural and ethI1.kgLv.e.rsity within
our society, while recognising the siIIiilanty of activities, interests
and aspirations of different people;
• extend and refine their vocabulary and develop lap.g_~e
• develop mathe!llatical concepts and number skills;
• develop their competence to communicate in a variety of
forms, including pictures, drawings;sunplEruagrams and maps.
Many of these objectives are closely interrelated. They involve
the acquisition of knowledge, the development of skills, under-
standing and attitudes and the capacity to react to the environ-
ment. Basing much of the learning on first-hand experience
focuses attention on the opportunities available in the local area,
and the gains to be derived from exploring the world outside the
classroom. But much can also be accomplished in the classroom
with the use of appropriate learning resources and activities.

11. A great deal of investigation can be carried out within the

buildings and grounds of a school. The latter is often an under-
llsedresource, although it usually contains different surfaces
and plants and a range of habitats for small creatures. Beyond
the school there are often interesting sites to explore: a street, a
country lane, a park, a wood, a farm, a shopping centre, a
stream, a pond, a railway station. All schools have some places
of potential interest which are accessible to them. Some may be
places where pupils can observe, and even participate in, activities
which are beyond their usual experience; places where they may
learn from listening and talking to adults other than their
teachers. Such experiences are often enjoyed by pupils and can
provide rich stimuli for further learning. Visits are likely to be
most successful when the teacher has prepared carefully and
thought about possible follow-up activities, and is ready to take
advantage of interests and events as the opportunities arise. A
teacher should be both a planner and an opportunist.

12. As the urban environment is especially complex, the teacher

of young pupils needs to select small, coml2act~s fo!: study.
Pupils can examine the buildings alonga street to discover the
uses made of them and some of their architectural features.

Pupils can learn to recognise different types of homes and

different types of shops, and, if taken into appropriate buildings,
they can gain an impression of the nature of an office, a bank, a
factory, a church, or a hotel. Such experiences can be related to
simple accounts of the types of activity which are carried out in
these specialist buildings. In contrast, an open space in a town
may offer scope for pupils to investigate the plants and small
creatures to be found there and the reasons why that space has
not been built upon. They may consider whether it could be
improved or put to better use, or should remain as it is.

13. Many children who live in or near the country are taken on a
Again, careful planning and preparation are necessary.
Pupils can learn to identify the animals, crops, machinery and
products. They will be interested in the regular activities of the
farmer, especially those concerned with animals. They can find
out what the animals are fed on and how they are looked after.
Supported by further work in the classroom, perhaps using toy
models, pictorial maps and stories, pupils can be introduced to
the general concept of a farm as a specific area - with fields,
hedges, buildings and tracks - within which a farmer grows
crops and keeps animals to obtain useful products.

14. One element of the physical environment which is always

present, yet variable in nature, is the \Yeather. Young pupils are
likely to be interested in the weather because it affects them
directly, not least on their journeys to and from school and
during breaks between lessons. They are quite capable of
observing weather conditions and at a fairly early age can learn
to use simple equipment to measure temperature, rainfall and
wind speed. Simple weather charts and other forms of record
can be used to compare conditions observed on separate weeks
in different seasons. The occurence of severe conditions, such
as heavy snowfall, a deep frost, a thunderstorm or a prolonged
dry period may justify special attention, for pupils' interest will
already have been stimulated by the unusual event and some of
its consequences may be very evident. Pupils delight in the
presence of snow, but they will also be interested in how it has
disrupted transport and how it has affected work on the farm.

15. Children are more likely to be interested in adult occupa-

tions when they can see adults at work, look at the machines and
equipment that they use, talk with them about what they do and

listen to what they have to tell. When pupils cannot visit the
place of work, adults may be able to visit the school, perhaps
bringing interesting artefacts with them.
16. Pupils' interest in other places and other people can be
stimulated by visits which they have made, for example on
holi~ays, and by what they see on television or in books. Teachers
can elp them to draw upon that experience and can attempt to
stimulate new interests. Once their interest has been aroused,
pupils can be encouraged and helped to find out more about the
lives of people living in different places. Such studies are more
likely to be successful when pupils have access to appropriate
artefacts, photographs and stories which engage their imagina-
17. A variety of teaching strategies, including where possible
visits and the contributions of visitors, are required to help
young pupils develop an awareness and better understanding of
the cultural and ethnic diversity within our society. While
pupils' direct experience will vary greatly from one part of the
country to another and from one neighbourhood to another, it is
essential that all schools, as part of their normal practice, take
deliberate steps to reveal the rich and diverse contributions that
individuals and groups from different cultural and ethnic back-
grounds bring to life in Britain.
18. During the early years of education pupils can be helped
to acquire important ideas about spatial relationships and they
can be introduced to the use of maps. The physical layout and
distribution of activities in a classroom, the patterns of movement
about the school, movements in games and play with models
and with damp sand can provide opportunities for teachers to
introduce concepts of relative position, spacing, distance,
direction, size, shape and distribution, so that pupils become
more confident in identifying and describing simple spatial
patterns and relationships. Some computer games can help
pupils to develop spatial concepts. Teachers should ensure,
through careful monitoring and sensitive intervention, that
both sexes benefit from participation in appropriate activities l .
19. Pupils' introduction to, and progressive development of,
~~ drawing, reading and interpreting maps can be facilitated
1. See Matthews, M. H. Cognitive mapping abilities of young boys and girls. Geography
Vol. 69, Part 3, October 1984.


by a carefully planned approach operating throughout a school.

Initial experiences in the transformation of three-dimensional
forms into two dimensions can be provided by teachers taking
advantage of pupils' play with toy models, for example by
drawing their attention to the layout as seen from directly above
and showing how that layout can be depicted on a sheet of paper
of the same size. A model-like view of the landscape can some-
times be obtained from a high viewpoint such as a steepsided
hill or a tall building. A large-scale oblique aerial photograph of
the local area can be especially valuable, enabling pupils to
identify and locate features with which they are already familiar.
Some story books for children are illustrated with delightful
picture maps of imaginary landscapes which are brought to life
by the text. Pupils' own map making can progress from freehand
maps of small areas which they can see in their entirety - such
as the top of a desk or table, a room or a playground - to those
which they can only envisage from different views, such as
places along a route. Although few precise measurements may
be involved, pupils can be encouraged to give increasing attention
to the relative size and position of the features which they depict
on maps. Games can be used as a means of introducing street
maps and teaching pupils to follow simple routes. Older pupils
in this age range can derive great pleasure from making their
own maps to portray places or journeys described in stories or
created in their own imaginations.
20. The experience which pupils gain from active enquiry,
both within the classroom and also within a broader and richer
environment than the classroom alone can provide, can support
the development oflanguage and mathematical understanding.
Pupils' experiences and activities, making use of all their senses,
should stimulate purposeful talking, writing, measuring and
recording. Environmental experiences can also stimulate and
enrich pupils' imaginative writing. New experiences and new
ideas will require new vocabulary. The study of weather con-
ditions, for example, may require an extension of pupils'
vocabulary to enable them to describe the feel of the air, the
strength of the wind, the form of the clouds and the occurrence
of such phenomena as dew, frost and fog. An emerging sense of
relative position is dependent on pupils' understanding such
words as near and far, left and right, up and down, front and
back, close together and spread out, inside and outside. A wider
vocabulary will help pupils to distinguish between objects or
activities which are consistently similar in some respects but

different in others and will thereby pave the way to the use of
classifications. It will help them to recognise different types of
buildings, plants, animals, vehicles, work and leisure activities.
But it is not just a matter of acquiring new vocabulary. Language
plays a fundamental role in helping pupils to understand because
it is the prime means by which they formulate and reflect on
new ideas, relate them to previous experience, discuss them
with others and apply them to new situations. It is through
language that we manipulate new ideas, give them shape and
texture and, by so doing, create personal meaning. Language
has a vital role in extending and intensifying pupils' environ-
mental and spatial awareness.

21. Language has another important contribution to make to

the development of geographical awareness in young pupils, in
that good stories, with distinct settings, can stimulate an interest
in environments which are very different from their own. Such
stories, especially when accompanied by suitable drawings or
photographs, can provide children with powerful images of
particular places and some sense of what it is like to live there.
They can be a means of introducing children to cultures which
are different from their own and of encouraging an understanding
and respect for other people's beliefs, aspirations and styles of

22. Some examples have already been given of ways in which

young pupils' guided exploration of their environment can
contribute to their development of mathematical understanding
and skills. There are abundant opportunities in such work for
pupils to engage in the discrimination, classification and sorting
of objects and events; in the use of numbers in counting,
describing and estimating; and in the use of measurements of
various kinds.

Later primary
23. During the later years of the primary phase most ~upils
undertake studies which include elements that are more earl c:
recogmsable as e n some sc 00 s e su lect is
a ocate a specified amount of time each week; in others it
forms part of a wider area of the curriculum, which may be

variously labelled 'environmental studies', 'social studies',

'projects', or 'topic work'. The emphasis given to such work,
the content which is included and the teaching strategies which
are employed vary greatly. In most primary schools responsibility
for planning and teaching this part of the curriculum rests with
the class teachers, many of whom have received limited specialist
guidance on how to teach geography. HMI surveys and in-
spections have indicated that, while some geographical work of
very high quality is produced, in general primary schools need
to improve their lannin of thIs art of the c .
ac eve gher standards of understanding and skills and better
progreSSIOn In pupils' learning. A clearer IdentIfIcation of the
goals tor geography teaching in primary schools should assist
this process.

24. The curriculum for the later primary years should enable
pupils to:
• investigate at fIrst-hand fs:atll.r~s of their localj!!l,vi1:2.!!!llent:
its weather; its surface features; and some of the activities of its
inhabitants, especially those aspects that involve spatial and
environmental relationships;
• study some aspects of life and conditions in a number of other
small areas in Britain and abroad, which provide comparisons
wIth theIr own locality. From such studies pupils should gain
knowledge and understanding of some of the ways in which
people have used, modifIed and cared for their surroundings,
and of the influence of environmental conditions, culture and
technology on the activities and ways of life of the present
• develop an appreciation of the ma!ll' life styles ~n ~Fitain and
abroad, which reflect a variety of cUltures, and develop positive
attitudes towards different communities and societies, counter-
acting racial and cultural stereotyping and prejudice;
• have some understanding of cp.anges taking place in their
own locality and in other areas studied, including some appre-
ciation of the ways in which human decisions influence these
• gain some appreciation of the importance of location in human
affairs and some understanding of such concepts'as distance,

direction, spatial distribution and spatial links (especially the

movements of people and goods between places), having applied
these ideas in appropriate contexts;
• become acquainted with a variety of maPJ'bincluding large
scale maps of their own neighbourhood, an e able to apply
simple techniques of map reading and interpretation;
• acquire familiarity with globes and with atlas maps and be
able to identify such features as the continents and oceans,
countries, cities, highland and lowland, coasts and rivers;
• acquire ~ in:
a. carrying out observations and in collecting, organising,
recording and retrieving information as part of an enquiry;
b. using a variety of sources of information about their own
locality and other places;
c. communicating their findings and ideas, with varying
degrees of precision, in writing, pictures, models, diagrams
and maps;
• continue to develop language and mathematical skills through
studies in geography;
• appreciate the significance of people's attitudes and values in
the context of partiCUlar environmental or social issues which
they have investigated.
25. Again, many of the objectives are closely interrelated and
a specific activity is likely to involve several. Most of these
objectives are natural extensions of the experience and learning
suggested for the earlier years of the primary phase. Older
pupils will not only acquire more specific knowledge but will be
more capable of generalising from their experience. They should
be able to engage in more sustained and more systematic enquiry
and should achieve greater depth of understanding. They should
be encouraged to seek explanations ar a level appropriate to
their intellectual maturity.

26. It is not surprising that much of the best ge,Qg!~hical

work undertaken in the later years of the primjg~ase is
concerned with the local area. For pupils of t s
age, the
locality of their home and school usually remains the most
important source of direct environmental experience and the
place in which observations and investigations can be most

easily carried out. What exactly is selected for study must

depend on the opportunities available - the nature of the area,
the events which occur and the changes which are taking place-
and this will vary between one school and another and from time
to time. By the age of 11 most pupils should be able to identify
conspicuous landscape and cultural features in their locality,
have some understanding of the nature of the settlement in
which they live and the ways in which the land is used, be aware
of changes which are taking place and have some appreciation of
the ways in which the activities of people, especially themselves
and their families, are influenced by the character of their home
area and its location.
27 . The local environment will also provide opportunities for
simple investigations of physical features and erocesses. There
will always be the weather and Its effects to 0 serve; but there
may also be various types of rock and soil to examine; a small
stream to investigate for evidence of erosion and deposition; or a
small habitat, such as a patch of woodland, heathland or 'un-
improved' grassland, within which seasonal changes of plant
and animal life can be monitored. From such studies pupils can
begin to develop an understanding of environmental relation-
ships. Pupils with good knowledge of their own surroundings,
both physical and human, have a fInn basis for making com-
parisons with other places.
28. The study ofunfamilar places deserves greater attention
than it IS often given. Pupils should begm to explore similarities
and differences between their local area and more distant places,
including places in the economically less developed parts of the
world. One of the challenges for teachers preparing such work is
to provide pupils with information and experience that is rich
enough to capture their imagination and to enable them to
appreciate conditions which are different from those with which
they are familiar. The choice of places may be properly influenced
by visits which pupils have made, by the personal experience
and knowledge of teachers and by the availability of suitable
learning materials. A television programme or fllm may help to
provide effective visual images. There is much to be gained by
focusing on comparatively small areas and exploring these in
some depth: a farm and its nearest market town rather than a
large agricultural area; a specifIc valley in a highland region
rather than the region in its entirety; a short section of coastline
rather than coasts in general; a district within a city rather than

the city in all its complexity. It is a principle which could be

applied with advantage to studies of places within other countries
as well as of places within the United Kingdom. The following
questions might help to guide a teacher preparing such a study.
• Where is this place?
• What does the place look like? What are the main features of
the landscape - physical and cultural?
• Do many or few people live there and why?
• What is it like to live there?
• In what ways are people's activities and ways of life influenced
by the character of the place and its location?
• How have people made use of or modified the environment?
• Do many people visit the place and for what purposes?
• What important links does it have with other places?
• In what ways is this place similar to, or different from, our
own home area?
• What are the reasons for the main similarities and differences?
• Is the place changing in character and, if so, why?
• What do we feel about the place? What do we find attractive
or unattractive about it?
• Do we think that the changes taking place are an improvement
or not?
• What are the views of the people who live there?
Emphases on particular aspects or issues will lead to the identi-
fication of other critical questions. The list is intended neither
to be exhaustive nor to indicate a sequence of study. Very often
it will be appropriate to start with some event, activity or issue
which has a strong human interest and to retain a focus on the
activities and lives of people. However, many pupils of this age
also have a strong interest in animal life, and descriptions of
animals and their behaviour figure prominently in project work.
Their understanding of wildlife is strengthened when suitable
attention is given to geographical distributions and to the eco-
logical conditions within which particular animals and plants
flourish. Attention can also be given to the human activities
which threaten or enhance the survival of some species.

29. Pupils may already have images of people and places

which are in some respects inaccurate. One of the advantages of
undertaking geographical studies of small areas in some depth is
that they can provide a means to counter misconceptions, stereo-
typing and prejudice, out teachers need to think carefully about
theIr own assumptIOns, especially with regard to other cultures
and ethnic groups, and to be sensitive about the messages which
they convey, either directly or through the resource materials
which they use. Geography can make a distinctive contribution
to the education of pupils for life in multiethnic Britain, through
studies which involve sensitive and positive treatment of different
communities in different places.

30. When investigating human activities in their local area

and in other places, pupils can deVelop a fuller understanding of
the importance oflocation and spatial relationships. They can
be helped to elaborate and refine some of the concepts which
they acquired earlier, such as distance, direction and distribution,
and to add other ideas such as area, network, flow, gradient,
scale and best location. The more difficult ideas will be accessible
to some pupils only when presented in very simple forms which
the pupils can relate easily to their direct experience. Neverthe-
less, by the end of their primary education many pupils can have
some understanding of the interdependence of people living in
different places, and of activities and events which take place in
different locations, at least in relation to examples which they
have studied, while some pupils can begin to appreciate the
wider application of the ideas. Again, teachers may find it useful
to bear in mind the sort of locational questions which may be
applied to many human activities in various places.
• Where is it located?
• Why has it been located there?
• How is the activity distributed?
• What has produced this distribution pattern?
• What are the consequences of this location or distribution
• What movements occur between these particular places?
• What are the routes linking these places?
• What is the shortest route? Which is the best route and why?

• How may the relationships between these places change?

What effects will this have?
The object of study may be the school or a shopping centre, a farm
or a factory, a port or a holiday resort. The application of such
questions to a particular activity is illustrated in Appendix 1.

31. The development of spatial understanding should go hand

in hand with the development of map skills. Maps are not only a
source of pleasure, which exert a fascination for young and old,
but are of great practical value. They enable us to fmd out where
places are and how to get from one place to another and they can
help us to make decisions about where to engage in particular
activities. As an aid to geographical study, they can describe the
characteristics of an area, reveal spatial patterns and suggest
possible relationships which merit investigation. They can
therefore be used as sources of information, as tools of analysis
and as a means of displaying information for communication to
others. Pupils can be introduced gradually to the ways in which
maps can be used for different purposes. The progression from
early steps of map drawing and map reading to the use of plans
and large scale maps, and eventually the use of smaller scale
atlas maps should also be a gradual process during which par-
ticular skills are developed: using symbols and colours explained
by a key; selecting routes from a map and using a map to make a
journey; describing locations with the use of simple grids;
measuring distances and areas; giving and following directions.
Activities which allow for the acquisition and practice of such
skills should, whenever possible, be introduced in contexts in
which pupils can appreciate their relevance rather than in a
series of repetitive exercises isolated from other learning.
Imaginatively handled, this can be an exciting and satisfying
learning experience. Older pupils should also become familiar
with the world globe so that they can, for example, identify the
shape and position of the continents and oceans while gaining a
more accurate three-dimensional view of the world.

32. Whilst map skills are usually an expected outcome of

geographical studies, a wide range of more general study skills
and investigatory skills can also be developed through activities
associated with geographical enquiry.
Prominent among these are the ability to:
• formulate appropriate questions;

• plan and organise a project or investigation;

• carry out accurate observations 'in the field';
• collect, describe and classify relevant objects;
• devise and carry out simple experiments;
• prepare and use a questionnaire;
• locate and extract information from a variety of sources;
• measure and quantify as part of the process of gathering and
organising information;
• record information in appropriate ways;
• draw inferences from evidence, distinguishing clearly
between facts and inferences;
• draft and edit materials being prepared for presentation;
• organise and present findings in a clear and attractive manner
suited to the audience in mind; and
• evaluate the success or otherwise of the enquiry.
33. All of these activities can be initiated in the primary phase
of education and taken further when pupils are older. Many of
them provide opportunities for the application of mathematical
skills and for the development of language. The latter may, for
example, be stimulated by activities which require pupils to
listen to a radio programme, obtain information from books,
record their own observations and findings and communicate
their ideas to others. Investigations, both within and outside
classrooms, can continue to be a major stimulus for talking and
34. Increasingly, there should be opportunities for pupils to
retrieve information from available computer data systems and
from systems for which they have collected and organised the
information. The use of computers and word processors in
geographical studies can help to increase pupils' awareness of
information technology and provide them with some initial
skills in this field.
35. Experiences from and in the environment can be a powerful
stimulus for pupils' imagination and creative expression, giving
a fresh quality to their language and drawings. Observations
and reflections on a bright frosty morning can lead to poetry as

well as prose, pictures as well as geographical writing.

36. When pupils work together in a group, whether on a topic
or during an investigation or when participating in a geographical
game or simulation, they can be helped to develop social skills.
The ability to share ideas, to co-operate on a task and to engage
in the give and take which is necessary for a successful group
activity is more than an intellectual skill for it is dependent on
pupils learning to relate to one another in a sympathetic and
constructive manner. Group activities can provide opportunities
for a pupil to gain experience in taking responsibilities as a
member of a team and occasionally as a leader.

37. When pupils examine an issue affecting their local area or

study conditions in other places, they will usually have attitudes
which influence their interpretation and response. It is an aspect
of the curriculum which requires sensitive treatment by teachers,
for environmental and social problems are characteristically
complex and the views of pupils usually reflect opinions ex-
pressed by their parents or other adults whom they know well.
Nevertheless, it is often possible for pupils to investigate a local
issue, perhaps some development which is taking place or has
been proposed, in a way which can lead to a fuller understanding
of what is happening or intended and a better appreciation of
other people's attitudes and the dilemmas which have to be
resolved by decision makers. In the light of such experience,
pupils may be helped to reflect upon their own attitudes and
values. A similar opportunity may exist when studying distant
places, with the difference that the lack of personal involvement
may enable pupils to approach such a problem of conflicting
attitudes with a more open mind. On the other hand, the
development of the capacity to imagine accurately what it is like
to be someone else in a particular situation may depend on
pupils being able to relate the conditions and situations which
they are studying to experiences of their own.

Planning for the primary phase

38. Geography should figure in a pupil's curriculum in each
year and on a scale adequate to meet the challenge of the
objectives which have been set. It has already been noted that

geographical elements can be incorporated into the curriculum

of young pupils in a variety of ways. While some primary
schools make specific timetable provision for the subject, in
many others geography is planned as part of a broader programme
of topics and activities, in association with other subjects such as
history and science. Within such a scheme, individual topics
and activities may have a strong subject orientation. Thus the
study of a coastal resort which focuses on the present character
of the place and the ways in which the holiday trade exploits the
resort's site and surrounding area would have a distinct geo-
graphical emphasis. The same resort could also be examined
from a historical viewpoint, which may help pupils to appreciate
better some of its present features. An investigation of weather
conditions at different sites within the school grounds may
involve geography, science and mathematics. Some 'projects'
which are not linked intentionally to any specific subject may
give pupils considerable freedom in the choice of content area to
explore, but these should be complementary to, rather than
substitutes for, more tightly planned elements of the programme.

39. Whatever the framework adopted, it is essential that

teachers have a clear overview of this part of the programme and
carefully monitor pupils' learning in order to ensure that
important education goals are attended to; that there is appro-
priate balance in content (eg as between the local area and other
places) and learning activities (eg as between book-based and
more practical activities); and that the course facilitates pro-
gression in learning. Flexibility is necessary to enable teachers
to take advantage of educational opportunities as they arise and
to adapt work to meet the needs of their pupils. A general plan
which outlines the geographical experiences which the school
intends to provide from year to year, combined with an adequate
record of what each pupil tackles and achieves, should help
teachers to select topics which will provide variety of interest
and to set tasks which will enable pupils to build on their
previous learning. General activities such as mapwork and
broad themes such as weather, farming and settlements present
such scope for the extension of learning that they can be returned
to at different stages in a course, without involving unnecessary
repetition. PJ"_,?g~~ssion in the learning of geography is achieved
through the gradual develo ment of skills and on e
. er t an t rough an articular se uence of
IS built mainly around the


development of skills and ideas can give flexibility to the choice

of topics and to the order in which they are tackled.

40. The preparation of the general plan for geography

throughout a school is an important task. While a school will
wish to make good use of any teacher who has an interest and
expertise in the subject, and such a teacher may be given special
responsibility to take the lead in the development of geography
in the curriculum, there are considerable advantages in involving
all staff in the discussion and preparation. It is those who plan
the strategy and design the scheme who will gain most. The very
process of planning as a team is a valuable form of staff develop-

41. Once agreement has been reached on the general approach

to be adopted within a school, it is important to prepare a
teaching syllabus which will serve as a working document,
providing guidance for individual teachers and a basis for further
curriculum development. A teaching syllabus should include:
• the aims and objectives of the geographical dimension of the
curriculum and the strategies to be used to implement them;
• a framework which will provide some structure to the geo-
graphical experiences which are planned, together with more
specific guidelines for particular topics and activities;
• guidance on the selection of places to be studied, including
the relative emphasis to be given to the local area;
• an indication of the links between the geographical and other
components of the curriculum;
• suggestions about appropriate methods and resources;
• the progression in learning which is anticipated and the ways
in which pupils' progress will be assessed and recorded.
While such a syllabus should help teachers to co-ordinate their
work and strengthen the cohesion and continuity of their
schemes, it should also be used to stimulate thinking and dis-
cussion. In addition, it can be of value in liaison between
schools, especially in efforts to improve the continuity oflearning
between the primary and secondary phases. A school which is
concerned to strengthen the contribution of geography to its
curriculum can often obtain useful support froni external
agencies, such as LEA advisers, the Geographical Association
and institutions engaged in teacher training (Appendix 2).

Support of a different kind may be given by textbooks written

for primary schools, and by radio and television programmes,
but teaching is more likely to be imaginative and responsive to
learning opportunities when these aids are carefully evaluated
and used selectively rather than relied upon to provide a ready
made scheme of work. Most primary schools will wish to use a
variety of resources, of which the most important should be
their own environment.

42. N early all pupils between the ages of 11 and 14 study
geography in some form or other. While in the majority of
schools the geographical component of the curriculum is time-
tabled as a separate subject, in a substantial number it is organised
as an element within a combined studies course, usually in
association with history. This arrangement is more common in
the fIrst year of secondary schools and much less so in later
years. Geography is usually an optional subject in years four and
fIve, where, on average, it is taken by about half the pupils, thus
making it one of the most popular of the optional subjects.
However, the proportion of pupils who continue with geography
to the age of 16 varies greatly from one school to another,
influenced especially by such factors as the quality of teaching
throughout the school and by the opportunities and constraints
created by the structure of particular option systems.

43. There is also much variety between schools in the content

of geographical work and the ways III which it is tackled,---",
Alffiough popular textbook series and professional activities,
such as in-service training, help to provide some unifying
influences, many different kinds of programme can be identified.
Courses range from those which give prominence to the §.1J!dy-Df
J?laces to those which organise content within a framework of
systematic themes; from those which are devoted almost ex-
clusively to human aspects of geography to those which also
place an emphasis on physical features (usually landforms,
weather and climate); from those which expect pupils to be
mainly receivers and recorders of information to those which
engage them in more stimulating activities. Such variety of
approach is also much in evidence in years four and five, where
teaching tends to be dominated by the perceived requirements

of external examinations. But there have been some notable

changes during the last ten years or so, associated particularly,
but not solely, with the schemes based on the two Schools
Council geography curriculum projects; the 'Avery Hill Project'
(Geography for the Young School Leaver) and the 'Geography
14-18 Project'1. These and other schemes have encouraged
teachers to give more attention to their pupils' understanding of
geographical ideas; their acquisition of a range of techniques
and skills, including those associated with fieldwork; and their
awareness and understanding of social, political and environ-
mental issues which have a geographical dimension. These
trends have been supported by the national criteria for examining
geography at 16 plus.

44. The geographical component of the 11 to 16 curriculum
should help pupils to:
• develop further their understanding of their surroundings
and extend their interest in, and knowledge and understanding
of, other places;
• gain a perspective within which they can place local, national
and international events;
• learn about the variety of physical and human conditions on
the earth's surface; the different ways in which people have
reacted to, modified and shaped environments; and the influence
of environmental conditions (physical and human) on social,
political and economic activities;
• appreciate more fully the significance in human affairs of the
location of places and of the links between places, and develop
understanding of the spatial organisation of human activities;
• gain understanding of the processes which have produced
pattern and variety on the earth's surface and which bring about
• develop a sensitive awareness of the contrasting opportunities
and constraints facing different peoples living in different places
under different economic, social, political and physical con-
1. Details of these projects are available from the School Curriculum Development
Committee, Newcombe House, 45 Notting Hill Gate, London WI13JB.

• develop an understanding of the nature of multicultural and

multiethnic societies and a sensitivity to cultural and racial
prejudice and injustice;
• gain a fuller understanding of some controversial social,
economic, political and environmental issues which have a
geographical dimension, reflect on their own and other people's
attitudes to these issues, and make their own informed
• develop a wide range of skills and competencies that are
required for geographical enquiry and are widely applicable in
other contexts;
• act more effectively in their environment as individuals and
as members of society.
These broad objectives are envisaged as providing general
direction for geography teaching over the whole 11 to 16 phase
of education. As they are open-ended goals, which can support
different levels of achievement, they are applicable both to
courses designed for the earlier secondary years and to those
designed for older pupils. How far pupils progress in terms of
particular objectives will depend to a large extent on their
abilities and intellectual maturity. Those pupils who continue
to study geography to the age of 16 should gain a greater breadth
of knowledge, much deeper understanding and a fuller
development of skills and appreciations. Given their greater
intellectual maturity at this age, they are capable of making
progress significantly beyond that which it is reasonable to
expect at the age of 14 (see the section 'Progression and
continuity', paragraphs 83 to 88). The objectives are discussed
more fully below.
Objective 1: to help pupils to develop further their under-
standing of their surroundings and extend their interest in,
and knowledge and understanding of, other places.
45. The local area should figure fairly prominently in
geography courses in secondary schools, not least because it is
the pupils' immediate environment and therefore of direct
interest and concern to them, as well as a ready source of direct
experience on which to base new understanding and through
which to introduce specific techniques of enquiry. Pupils should
carry out investigations outside the school and, as a result of
fieldwork and related classroom enquiries, be able to recognise
the characteristic features of the area (eg relief, weather, land

use, forms of settlement, nature of industry and services,

movement patterns); understand some of the important
relationships within the locality and with other areas; and
appreciate any important changes taking place. Older pupils
should be given the opportunity to undertake personally
researched, individual studies.

46. Over the period of the course there should be a gradual

widening of content to include more places, representing
different features, and more topics, within a scheme which is at
the same time carefully structured to achieve a deepening of
pupils' understanding. Pupils should be helped to develop a
global rather than a parochial view of their environment,
recognising how their Qwn lives influence and are influenced by
conditions anefevents in other parts of the world. I hey should
bilielped to develop a sense of place ancfasensitivity towards
those characteristics which make particular places and areas
important to the people who live there.

Objective 2: to help pupils to gain a perspective within which

they can place local, national and international events.
47. Such a perspective must be based on specific locational
knowledge, especially where places are, and on the understanding
01 geographical patterns and processes. Locational knowledge
should include the ability to locate and name, on a map of the
world, the continents, oceans and many countries; and on a
map of the UK, the local area, major regions and cities. But
such knowledge must be linked to other learning if pupils are to
appeciate the significance of geographical locations and distri-
bution patterns. The greater breadth and depth of knowledge
acquired by older pupils should provide a richer perspective,
with more potential points of reference and stronger conceptual
frameworks. Pupils should gradually become familiar with geo-
graphical distribution patterns and the processes underlying
them, at a variety of spatial scales.

Objective 3: to help pupils to learn about the variety of

physical and human conditions on the earth's surface; the
different ways in which people have reacted to, modified and
shaped environments; and the influence of environmental
conditions (physical and human) on social, political and
economic activities.

48. Places selected for study should illustrate:

i. contrasting natural environments;
ii. different forms ofland use and settlement, including sparsely
populated areas and densely populated urban-industrial areas;
iii. contrasting political and economic systems, including places
from both capitalist and communist countries and places
exhibiting different levels of economic development.
Appropriate attention should be given to physical features and
processes, especially those which can be investigated directly by
pupils: eg weather and climate; river systems and associated
landforms; and coastal landforms and processes. But pupils
should also be helped to understand how the great natural
systems of the world - the oceans, the atmosphere, the fresh
water drainage systems, the ecosystems - provide essential
support for human existence.
49. The relationships and interactions between people and
environme.nts should be a persistent theme in any geography
course and should be undertaken at a varIety of spauar scares.
Older pupils should be able to appreciate more complex
relationships and should develop a deeper understanding of
environmental processes, both physical and human; the nature
of changing environmental conditions and relationships; and
the significance to these of natural events, of people's beliefs
and values, of technology and of economic and political systems.
Pupils should develop some understanding of such basic concepts
as environment, resource, land use and settlement, whilst abler
pupils should extend and refme these, and develop a reasonable
appreciation of more difficult ideas such as conservation,
environmental perception and environmental management.
Objective 4: to help pupils to appreciate more fully the sig-
nificance in human affairs of the location of places and of the
links between places, and to develop understanding of the
spatial organisation of human activities.
50. This also should be a persistent theme in any geography
course and should be applied to a wide range of human activities
that operate at a variety of geographical scales. Pupils should be
able to apply their understanding of location and related spatial
concepts to such themes as population patterns, settlement
patterns, the internal characteristics of towns, the exploitation
of natural resources (eg extractive industries), farming,

manufacturing industry, communications (to include transport

and trade) and other tertiary activities (eg business activities,
retailing, leisure activities). Abler pupils can gain a fuller
appreciation of the spatial relationships between such patterns
and activities and a deeper understanding of changes in the
location of activities, in distribution patterns and in the spatial
structure of the environment.
51. Most pupils are capable of developing some understanding
of such basic concepts as site, location, distribution, distance,
direction, node, link, network and spatial interaction, whilst
many can begin to grasp more difficult ideas such as accessibility ,
distance decay, formal and functional regions, and spatial
organisation. Pupils should gain an appreciation of the inter-
dependence of different parts of the world.
Objective 5: to help pupils to gain understanding of the
processes which have produced pattern and variety on the
eartn's surface and which bring about change.
52. The study of physical and human processes is essential if
pupils are to understand why places differ in theways that they
do, why particular human activities produce spatial patterns,
and how environmental and spatial relationships change over
time. For example, if pupils are to understand why some rivers
are prone to flooding they must learn about the processes
involved in the hydrology of river basins and the physical
conditions and human activities which influence those processes.
If they are to understand the nature of spatial interdependence
they must study the economic, political and social processes and
relationships associated with movements of people, goods,
money and information between places.
53. The processes of interest to geographical enquiry operate
at different scales, ranging from the immediate environment of
an individual to regional, national, international and global
scales. They also operate over different time scales. Pupils
should become increasingly aware of the significance of individual
and group decision-making as a fundamental aspect of the
processes operating in human activities.
54. It is especially in the study of processes that geographers
draw upon ideas from other disciplines - from the natural
sciences, the social sciences and the humanities - to inform
their own perspectives. Older pupils can develop a deeper

understanding of processes through the acquisition of a wider

range of ideas, including more difficult concepts, and a capacity
to appreciate more complex relationships.

Objective 6: to help pupils to develop a sensitive awareness of

the contrasting opportunities and constraints facing different
peoples living in different places under different economic,
social, political and physical conditions.
55. Pupils need to be aware of different styles of life, and of
the opportunities and difficulties presented by different environ-
ments and different locations. They should, for example,
appreciate the contrasts in living conditions offered by rural and
urban environments; accessible and inaccessible locations; rich
and poor nations. Care must be taken, however, to avoid stereo-
typing and the acquisition of distorted images. This theme is
especially appropriate for the education of older pupils, who are
likely to have a strong interest in such contrasts and to be more
capable of analysing and evaluating complex situations. Examples
should be studied from a range of spatial scales: such as the
opportunities available to individuals at different stages of the
life cycle (eg infant, student, employed adult, adult caring for
children, retired adult); contrasts between neighbourhoods
within a city; distribution of employment opportunities within
a region or country; contrasts between nations having different
economic and political systems and displaying varying levels of,
and approaches to, development.

Objective 7: to help pupils to develop an understanding of the

nature of multicultural and multiethnic societies and a sensi.
tivity to cultural and racial prejudice and injustice.
56. Geographical studies should be designed to enable pupils
to develop a better understanding of the nature of the cultural
and ethnic diversity within their own and other societies. Pupils
can learn about the various reasons why people migrate from
one country to another and from one region to another, and they
can be helped to appreciate the contributions which different
communities can make to the social and economic life of a
country, the links that exist between communities, and the
severe problems which many minority groups and some majority
groups face.

57. Several of the themes and topics commonly studied within

geography, such as economic development, human migration,

and the character of towns, provide suitable opportunities to

give explicit attention to cultural diversity and multiracial issues,
but the latter must be treated with care. Geographical education
should aim to counteract the ignorance and stereotyping upon
which racial prejudice and injustice feed.

Objective 8: to help pupils to gain a fuller understanding of

some controversial social, economic, political and environ-
mental issues which have a geographical dimension, reflect
on their own and other people's attitudes to these issues and
make their own informed judgements.
58. In their study of the processes which bring about changes
in physical and human conditions in different places, pupils will
learn about developments which have brought great benefits to
communities, groups and individuals. However, they should
also be helped to understand why some processes can lead to a
deterioration in the quality of environments and in the quality
of life of some people. Pupils can be helped to appreciate that
there are important locational and environmental issues about
which individuals and groups in society have different attitudes,
for example, the proper use ofland in National Parks, the routes
of new motorways, the siting of power stations and airports, and
expenditure on environmental protection. Suitable case studies
can help pupils to gain a better understanding of the nature of
some controversiallocational and environmental issues, including
the relevance to such issues of beliefs, attitudes and values.
Critical examination and discussion of the evidence can also
help them to explore the relationships between beliefs, attitudes
and values, decisions and behaviour.

59. When given adequate information about a particular case,

intellectually mature students should be able to identify the
values of those directly involved in the issue, reflect on their
own values and make their own informed judgements. However,
they should also recognise why it is sometimes difficult, and
perhaps even impossible, to arrive at a wholly satisfactory
solution. The sort of large-scale or widespread problems which
may be studied in geography include those associated with
poverty in economically less developed regions and countries;
the decline of traditional manufacturing industries in the
economically developed world; the poverty and deprivation in
the inner areas of large cities; resource management and con-
servation; the quality of the environment; armed conflict

between and within nations; and refugee populations. The

study of particular examples can help pupils to acquire more
general understanding of such matters and to appreciate, when
progress is evident, the sort of policies and actions that can
contribute to solutions or improvements. The treatment of
controversial social, political and environmental issues in
geography should provide important opportunities for political
education, enhancing pupils' levels of political literacy. Some
suggestions about how to approach the teaching of controversial
issues are made in paragraph 73.

Objective 9: to help pupils to develop a wide range of skills

and competencies that are required for geographical enquiry
and are widely applicable in other contexts.
60. While pupils should learn techniques and acquire skills
which are of specific value to geographical study and enquiry,
for example, in the use of maps and fieldwork, they should also
develop more general competencies, often labelled as intellectual
skills, study skills and social skills. They should be introduced
to methods of enquiry which are not only of value in geography
but can also be applied in other fields and other situations.

61. The development of skills usually depends more on the

activities in which pupils engage than on the specific content
which they study. In geography the learning of skills should be
facilitated by the nature of the tasks which pupils are set and the
variety of source materials which they use (maps, photographs,
diagrams, statistics and a wide range of texts). The types of
skills which should be developed are those concerned with:
• observing and measuring;
• locating, extracting and collecting relevant information
(search skills);
• describing and recording, using a variety of appropriate ways
(maps, diagrams, tables, field sketches, written statements);
• interpreting and analysing (identifying, discriminating,
comparing, classifying, recognising patterns and associations,
making valid generalisations from evidence);
• applying principles to new situations;
• drawing together and organising information and ideas to
produce a coherent account (synthesis);
• making sound judgement (evaluation) and informed decisions;

• selecting, presenting and communicating information and

ideas in a variety of ways.
Group activities in geography, both in the classroom and more
particularly in fieldwork, provide especially good opportunities
for pupils to develop social skills. They can learn how to co-
operate with one another, how to contribute to a joint venture
and how to discuss purposefully, and on suitable occasions
individuals can gain some experience of leading a team.

62. Pupils who continue to study geography to the age of 16

can make significant progress in the more demanding activities
which require interpretation of information, application of
principles, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. In comparison
with their earlier attainments, they should be capable of dealing
with more complex situations and applying more difficult ideas;
they should reveal greater perception and reasoning power.
Most older pupils should be capable of carrying out a project or
enquiry which they plan and organise themselves. By this stage,
they should know where and how to gather relevant information
and abler pupils should make effective use of sound strategies of

Objective 10: to help pupils to act more effectively in the

environment as individuals and as members of society.
63. Pupils should be educated to be spatially 'literate'; that is,
to be able to 'orientate' themselves by-'rea<h!!g' __tli~J@d~e
and mak1Iig sense of their surroundings. They should be helped
m-deve1op a functional 'mental map' of the area in which they
live and have some appreciation of what they can reasonably
expect to find in other types of environment in which they may
have to operate. They should also be able to make use of maps
'in the field', to orientate themselves and to select and follow

64. Pupils' geographical education should help them to make

decisions about where to engage in particular activities and what
routes to take for particular journeys. Their knowledge and
understanding of the environment in which they live should
help them to take better advantage of the opportunities which it
offers and to make sensible decisions, for example, about where
to search for suitable employment or accommodation or par-
ticular social facilities.

65. An informed concern about the quality of environments

and the conditions which influence the quality of life in different
places, combined with an appreciation of the processes which
influence these, should help to prepare pupils to make their
proper contributions as responsible members of their community
and as adult members of society.

Teaching strategies for the secondary phase

66. The learning objectives proposed for the 11 to 16 phase of
secondary education have important implications for teaching
strategies. While the nature of an educational goal rarely dictates
the teaching methods to be used, at least in any precise way,
some types of learning are almost certainly fostered more directly
by some strategies of teaching than by others. A considerable
amount of geography teaching in secondary schools has empha-
sised the transmission of information. Many lessons consist of
teacher exposition, often supported by visual aids; some dialogue
between the teacher and the class, usually controlled fairly
tightly by the teacher's questions and response to pupils' answers;
and structured tasks, which are usually based on textbooks or
on worksheets. Use is made of a wide range of resource materials,
which usually contain maps and diagrams as well as reading
materials. While such methods certainly have a part to play in
the teaching of geography, the objectives described earlier also
require methods which engage pupils more actively in their
learning. In the remainder of this section we suggest some ways
in which the general quality of teaching and learning might be

67. When teachers are concerned to transmit information, as

they properly are on many occasions, it is important that
relevant, accurate and up-to-date information is presented in a
clear and interesting way, and that It IS 'accessible' to pupils, in
the sense that it should be in a form which they can comprehend.
Care must always be taken to match the level of language which
is used, whether written or spoken, to that with which the pupil
can cope. Photographs, maps and diagrams are especially
important in geography as sources of information about land-
scapes and about locations, distributions and spatial relations,
but they often contain complex messages which need to be
interpreted. Their value is therefore enhanced as pupils acquire
the techniques and skills to make good use of them, and such

skills need to be taught and applied in appropriate contexts if

they are to be mastered.

68. When the objectives of teaching focus on pupils developing

geographical understanding, acquiring a range of skills and
gaining a reasonable appreciation of social, economic, political
and environmental issues, methods are required which involve
them in appropriate activities. Pupils should not be primarily
passive recipients of information, but should be given adequate
opportunities to carry out practical investigations, to explore
and express ideas in their own language, to apply ideas and skills
to new situations, to interpret, analyse and evaluate information,
and to reflect on their own and other peoples' attitudes and
values. In many of their activities it will be appropriate for
pupils to make their own informed judgements and decisions.

69. In The teaching of ideas in geography HMI drew attention to

the importance of the teacher's role in developing pupils'
understanding of general ideas. It was suggested that a principal
aim of any scheme of work based on generalisations must be the
enhancement of the pupils' understanding of the material being
studied, and the acceleration of their progress towards higher
order intellectual skills such as analysis and application of the
ideas learned and understood. In most cases this is facilitated
when the teacher, by sensitive and timely intervention, is able to
act as a catalyst; indeed it is essential for generalisations to bS!
explored and discussed and dIffIcult for pupils to crystallise and
shape Ideas without a dialogue which helps them identify w1lat
is sIgmhcant and establishes yardsticks of comparison between
different examples. It was also pointed out that such interaction
amongst the pupils and with the teacher is likely to be more
successful at the small group level, although a measure of class
teaching may also be useful for some aspects of the work.
Classroom discussion tends to be more productive when the
teacher encourages pupils to make extended oral responses and,
when appropriate, to correct or refme their own statements.
Pupils are also more likely to gain from discussion when they
can base it on information which is rich in detail and capable of
stimulating their imagination; when they are encouraged to
draw upon their own experience; and when they asked 'open'
rather than 'closed' questions.

70. FkWJ£QI:k is particularly important in geography as it

provides opportunities for pupils to develop skills of observation,
measurement and recording and to engage in enquiry-based
learning. Geographical concepts can be developed from direct
experience and techniques can be learned in the context of
practical investigations. Such learning is likely to be most
effective when a geography department has a programme of
fieldwork structured to achieve progression over the five year
period. While much can be tackled reasonably near to a school,
a longer visit to a more distant place can give an added stimulus
to learning and enable pupils to compare and contrast their own
environment with a very different one. Fieldwork should always
be integrated with classroom activities; it requires careful pre-
paration and follow-up.

71. Practical activities in geography usually focus on the con-

struction and interpretation of maps and diagrams. However,
other practical activities, ranging from the construction of three
dimensional models in the classroom to the investigation of the
riiicroclimatology of the site of the school, can contribute to

72. Suitably designed role-playing games and simulations can

help pupils to examine locational and envIronmental decision
making and the attitudes and values which influence these.
They can generate valuable discussion and can be successful
with able and less able pupils. However, success requires careful
briefing, good classroom management and proper attention to
follow-up. Follow-up is necessary in order to deal with any
misconceptions which have arisen and to draw out the more
important ideas and relate them to other learning. It is important
that the simplifications and abstractions in a game are recognised
by pupils and are set against the complexities of those aspects of
the real world which the game is intended to represent.

73. The exploration of controversial issues in geogra hy, such

as those involving the inequa lues 0 uman we are and oppor-
tunities in different places, the destruction and depletion of
resources, the quality of environments, and the costs and benefits
of modern technology, can be challenging to the professional
skills of teachers. While pupils obviously need to acquire relevant
knowledge about the issue under consideration, they also need
to diagnose the causes of problems; to raise pertinent questions;

to interpret, analyse and evaluate the evidence available; to

discuss the attitudes and values relevant to a situation; and to
make up their own minds on the issue. The implication is that
pupils should be encouraged and helped to engage actively in
enquiry. It is important that teachers take care to avoid bias in
the overall presentation of information to pupils and in tasks
which they set. The following questions can help to structure an
issue-based enquiry in geography:
• What appears to be the nature of the issue and what are the
geographical aspects?
• Which people and what places, locations or environments are
• What is the relative importance of the geographical aspects of
the problem?
• What views are held by individuals and groups about the
problem and its possible solution and how do these vary?
• What attitudes and values appear to underlie these different
• What other information do you require to investigate the
• How can this information be usefully analysed?
• To what extent does the evidence support or contradict
alternative views?
• What are the advantages and disadvantages of alternative
solutions? Who would benefit and who would lose?
• How good is the evidence?
• What are your own feelings about the issue? Which proposal
do you favour and why? What further information do you
require to make a personal judgement and how might this be
• Have you changed your views as a result of your investigation?
74. Devel~~!lts in information technol<),ID' are providing
important new sources of geographical information and the
means to employ new ways of working. In recent years remote
sensing from satellites has improved our knowledge of weather
systems, contributed to resource exploration and to land use
mapping, and assisted systematic monitoring of natural disasters

and of the environmental impact of human activities. The study

of geography should help to make sense of the information
which can be obtained from such sources.

75. The use of computers and other electronic devices in

geography can support pupIls' development of ideas and skills
within the subject as well as strengthen their awareness and
understanding of information technology. Software packages
are available which can store large amounts of spatial and other
information to be used in geographical enquiries. Some of these
compile maps and diagrams in response to questions posed by
the users. Computer programs can be used in simulations,
which enable pupils to explore different strategies to a problem,
and to compare what might happen given alternative conditions
and assumptions. Some equipment, such as programmable cal-
culators, can be used in the field as well as in the classroom.
Increasingly, word processing facilities will make it easier for
individual pupils, and groups of pupils, to reflect and improve
upon their initial ideas and presentations.

Planning and organisation in

secondary schools
76. In contrast to primary schools, most geography lessons in
secondary schools will be taught by teachers who have specialist
expertise in the subject. The geography staff are usually organised
within a subject department, with a head of department who
has responsibility for the subject throughout the school. In
smaller secondary schools, however, the geography teachers
may be members of a humanities or environmental studies
department which is concerned with teaching several subjects.
In this case, it is important that a member of the department,
with appropriate expertise, be given specific responsibility for
all aspects of the development of geography. In some secondary
schools, and especially with combined studies courses, geography
is also taught by teachers who are specialists in other fields, and
who have limited expertise and confidence in this subject. They
need particular support and guidance from the geographers in
the team and, when appropriate, from in-service training. Schools
need to consider carefully whether such teachers are able to
teach the subject with sufficient skill.

77. A departmental organisation, when functioning properly,

can encourage specialist staff to work closely together to devise a
coherent programme and to develop effective teaching strategies.
Enthusiasm and expertise can be shared through team planning
and preparation and team teaching. Although information and
ideas will be exchanged informally, there is also need for regular
departmental meetings to ensure that systematic attention is
given to curriculum development and review. Any non-specialists
contributing to geography teaching should be involved in team
discussions and course preparation.

78. The teachers who plan the geography programme must

take account of the curricular policies formulated by their local
education authority, the governing body of the school and the
headteacher. Their scheme will inevitably be influenced by
organisational opportunities and constraints, such as the overall
structure of the school curriculum, the details of the school
timetable and the availability and deployment of staff, accom-
modation and material resources. Other factors will include the
demands of external examinations, the support within a school
for curriculum innovation, and the stimulus and support pro-
vided by external agents, such as local education authority
advisers. When the staff of a school as a whole are encouraged to
think about cross-curricular matters, a geography department
is more likely to give serious attention to the contribution of the
subject to broad educational aims. However, a lively and
thoughtful subject department can influence the curriculum
thinking of a whole school.

79. A geography department should set out its intentions and

strategies in the form of a teaching syllabus, a formal statement
which describes the rationale and framework for an educational
programme; gives guidance on the content and methods which
can be used; indicates the resources which are available; and
outlines the actions which are necessary for effective implemen-
tation. A teaching syllabus should not be confused with an
examination syllabus, which usually describes the content,
understanding and skills which are to be examined but not how
these are to be attained. An examination syllabus, produced by
an examining board, is no substitute for a teaching syllabus for
years 4 and 5. While a teaching syllabus should summarise a
department's current thinking about its courses and provide
guidance for more detailed lesson planning, it should not be

regarded as a rigid blueprint, but a plan and outline of strategies

which can be adjusted as required. It should be a working
document. All teaching syllabuses should be reviewed periodi-
cally with the aim of making improvements.

80. A teaching syllabus for geography should include in-

formation on the following.
• Goals - a clear statement of the educational purposes of a
course to include:
i. educational aims - broad goals which indicate the
general direction of learning intended and the priorities
within a course;
ii. learning objectives - more specific goals which indicate
the types of knowledge, understanding, skills, competencies
and attitudes through which the aims are realised.
• Content - the places, themes, topics and issues which have
been selected for study. A syllabus should explain and justify
the criteria for selection and therefore should indicate the rela-
tionships between goals and content. It should specify which
content is essential, in the sense that it is necessary to satisfy
particular goals, and which is illustrative and could be replaced
by other examples or case studies.
• Methods - guidance on the types of learning activities and
teaching methods which are considered to be most effective for
particular goals. A syllabus should recognise the scope for
alternative methods and for personal preferences with regard to
styles of teaching and learning but not so as to distort purposes
and priorities. Attention should be given to fieldwork as well as
to classroom activities.
• Structure - the organisation of content and activities over the
time span of a course to satisfy aims and objectives, to give
satisfactory weighting to important components and to facilitate
pupils' learning. Particular attention should be given to sequence
and progression, and to the coherence of the course.
• Resources - the relevant material resources available for
each section of the programme.
• Differentiation - how curriculum objectives, content,
learning activities/teaching methods and resources may be dif-
ferentiated to cope with the range of ability and experience of
the pupils. Differentiation should take account of the organi-
sation of teaching groups.

• Assessment and record keeping - the forms and frequency

of assessment to be used to monitor and measure pupils' progress
and the records of achievement to be maintained.
• Evaluation - the means by which teachers will gauge the
effectiveness of a course and the arrangements for systematic
review and revision.
• Time allocations - the appropriate allowance of time to each
unit of study and the phasing of important events such as
fieldwork and formal tests/examinations.
The various elements must be drawn together in the form of a
coherent plan. Many geography departments have found it
useful to display the structure of their schemes in the form of a
two-dimensional matrix, within which learning objectives, con-
tent, methods, resources, type of assessment and time allocation
are specified for each unit of work. The identification of key
ideas (stated as generalisations) and specific skills for each unit
has proved to be especially helpful in giving direction to the
selection of content, methods and forms of assessment, and
these in turn call for particular resources.

81. A teaching syllabus is of greatest value to those who design

and subsequently review it, in that the process of constructing
and revising such a statement can stimulate teachers to sort out
their rationale and to focus their thinking on important curricular
issues. The discussion which accompanies planning can bring
assumptions to the surface to be questioned and reflected upon,
and it can open the door to fresh ideas. However, a teaching
syllabus can also provide useful guidance for staff who did not
contribute to its design, especially if it is regarded as a working
document which is kept under review. A teaching syllabus can
also provide a basis for discussion and co-ordination with other
staff within the school, such as the teachers of related subjects;
the teachers providing remedial support for pupils or catering
for other special needs such as English as a second language; and
the headteacher and senior staff responsible for broader cur-
ricular policies and decisions. A teaching syllabus should reveal
what sort of contribution a course makes to the total curriculum
of a school and, therefore, should be of value when reviewing
the overall breadth and balance of a curriculum; the treatment
of cross-curricular themes (eg environmental education, political
education); and the development of whole school curricular
strategies (eg language across the curriculum, the development

of learning skills, and educating pupils for living in a multiethnic

society). Selected elements from a teaching syllabus can also be
of interest and value to pupils, parents and school governors.
Much can be gained from informing pupils and others about the
aims and objectives of a course and the strategies which it is
intended to use.

82. The need for very careful planning and structuring is

equally strong, if not stronger, for courses in which geography is
combined with other subjects. In these cases, content may well
be influenced by a concern to include themes which are of
interest to the several subjects involved, and the structure of a
course may be arrived at through a process of negotiation,
during which the different subject preferences have to be recon-
ciled. Some degree of compromise may be essential. Questions
of subject breadth and balance, of depth of understanding, of
coherence of content and of progression of learning take on an
added dimension. For such courses, it is all the more important
that teachers are clear about their educational goals and appre-
ciate the distinct nature of the subject contributions.

Progression and continuity

83. Between the ages of 5 and 16 pupils experience considerable
physical, intellectual, emotional and social development associ-
ated with their gradual maturing. Their intellectual development
is marked by significant changes in style of reasoning and
quality of thinking which schools must support and foster. The
geographical component of the curriculum should be designed
to facilitate pupils' progression in learning by a careful struc-
turing of content and activities, to take account of the ways in
which pupils mature and the nature of what is to be learnt.
Pupils should be helped to build upon their previous experience
and learning, and their understanding, skills and competencies
should be taken forward in programmes which attempt to match
the educational demands made upon them to their capabilities.
This is a far from straightforward process and it needs continuous
monitoring. Assessment of pupils' progress is essential to provide
teachers with the information necessary to adjust their pro-
grammes to meet the requirements of individuals.

84. Earlier paragraphs provided some examples of the scope

for progression in geographical learning. Teachers can plan
their courses to enable pupils gradually to acquire and develop
mapwork skills; to develop their understanding of networks of
related concepts, such as those associated with 'location',
'environment' and 'place'; and to systematically extend and
deepen their understanding of important aspects of the
environment and types of human activity which figure as
recurrent themes in geographical studies (eg weather and
climate, settlement patterns, farming, industry).

8S. Progression in geographical learning should involve the

• An increase in breadth of studies. There should be a gradual
extension of content to include different places, new
landscapes, a variety of geographical conditions and a range of
human activities. That extension of knowledge should be linked
closely to the development of understanding, skills, attitudes
and values.
• An increasing depth of study associated with pupils'
growing capacity to deal with complexities and abstractions. As
pupils mature intellectually they are able to make sense of more
complex situations, to cope with more demanding information,
to take account of more intricate webs of interrelationships and
to undertake more complicated tasks. Thus, whilst younger
pupils can investigate the types of shops and the services provided
in a small shopping centre, older pupils can examine the form
and functions of a city centre or investigate changes in the
spatial structure of retailing in a rural or urban area. At the same
time, the gradual development of general ideas (concepts,
generalisations and models) helps pupils to interpret their
experiences and structure information. There should be a gradual
progression from concepts of objects and processes that can be
directly observed to concepts of processes and relationships
which can only be inferred.
• An increase in the spatial scale of what is studied. The
growth in pupils' abilities to take account of greater complexities
and to make use of general ideas enables them to undertake
successful geographical studies oflarger areas. Older pupils can
cope more effectively with geographical themes tackled at
regional, national, continental and global scales.

• A continuing development of skills to include the use of

specific techniques and more general strategies of enquiry
matched to pupils' developing cognitive abilities.
• Increasing opportunity for pupils to examine social,
economic, political and environmental issues. Older pupils
should not only be more skilled at evaluating evidence and the
consequences of alternative courses of action, but should develop
greater appreciation and understanding of the influence of
people's beliefs, attitudes and values.
Appendix 3 provides an illustration of the way in which these
ideas can be applied to a broad geographical theme - manu-
facturing industry.
86. While programmes of learning activities extending over
the 5 to 16 age range necessarily involve shifts in the nature of
what is studied, the methods which are used and the environment
in which learning takes place, sharp discontinuities can impede
progression in learning. Such dlsCOnUnultles are most likely to
occur when pupils move from one teacher to another, from one
course to another and from one school to another. An example
of the first is when pupils in a primary school move from one
class to the next. Without effective co-ordination between
teachers there can be unnecessary repetition of work and a
failure to build on pupils' previous experience and learning.
The best approach is through the sort of curricular planning,
involving the whole staff of a school, which was outlined earlier
(paragraphs 38 to 41). While the staff of a school can achieve a
great deal by reaching agreement on the objectives for geography
and on the main strategies to be adopted, a teacher receiving a
new class also requires an accurate record of what the pupils
tackled in previous years and with what success. In a secondary
school a similar discontinuity can occur when pupils move from
a humanities or environmental studies course to separate
subjects, especially when different teams of teachers are
responsible for the different courses. Again there is a need for
careful planning and good records. The links between courses
should be made explicit to pupils.
87. The greater challenge for primary, middle and secondary
schools, however, is to provide a smooth transition for pupils
moving between the phases. Curricular discussions between the
geography department of a secondary school and teachers from
feeder primary or middle schools can improve their knowledge

of each other's priorities and practices and help to establish

mutual understanding and respect. The process takes time. It
can be helped by joint participation in in-service training and on
working parties, and by the encouragement and support of the
local education authority. The test of co-operation and liaison is
whether teachers from different phases are prepared, when
necessary, to adjust their approaches in order to improve pupils'
88. In most secondary schools a discontinuity of a different
kind occurs at the end of the third year, when pupils are given
some choice about which subjects they will study in years 4 and
5. As geography is usually provided as an optional subject in the
later years, it is essential that pupils' geographical education to
the age of 14 is broad, balanced and coherent. Courses must be
designed to serve the needs of those who will not continue to
study the subject as well as provide a satisfactory foundation for
those who will. However, since many of the most valuable
insights which a study of the subject can provide require a
breadth of knowledge and an intellectual maturity which .~~_~
usually beyond younger pupils, it is a matter of regret that some
pupilS entir~lx ce~se any study of geography at 14. It is appre-
ctaTootfiat It IS dIfficult to design a curriculum which would
enable all pupils up to and including the age of 16 to maintain
contact with more subjects than is at present customary. Never-
theless, those concerned about geographical education need to
explore ways in which some worthwhile contact with geography
might be retained for all up to this age, while enabling those who
choose to do so to study it in greater depth and detail.

89. The assessment of pupils' progress is essential to a sound
teaching strategy. Among its most important educational pur-
poses are to inform pupils about the progress they are making in
geographical learning; to detect and diagnose learning difficulties
experienced by individual pupils; and to contribute information
which will be relevant to the evaluation of the geographical
component of the curriculum, including the effectiveness of
teaching. Without adequate attention to assessment, neither
pupils nor teachers know how well they are doing. It is vitally

important that assessment should not be regarded as an end in

itself. The ultimate purpose is to provide information which
will help to improve pupils' learning. Assessment should there-
fore be regarded as an integral part of the curriculum, requiring
careful preparation and leading to further activities as a result of
the information gained. The considerable time and effort
required to check pupils' work, to monitor their progress and to
measure their achievements are only justified if assessment
makes a constructive contribution to teaching and learning. In
addition, the evidence from systematic assessment enables a
school to provide parents and others with useful and reliable
records of pupils' achievements.
90. The wide range of goals identified as appropriate for
geography, in both the primary and secondary phases of educa-
tion, calls for a variety of assessment techniques. Unfortunately,
it is much easier to check whether pupils can recall specific
information and whether they have acquired simple skills, such
as some of the basic map reading skills, than it is to assess their
geographical understanding, or their ability to reason, or how
well they have carried out a project or enquiry. But it is essential
that pupils' achievements in relation to such important goals as
these are assessed. The clearer teachers are about their objectives,
the easier it is for them to identify criteria for assessment.
91. Much valuable assessment can be carried out informally,
by observing pupils while they are engaged in learning activities;
by talking to them about what they are doing and about their
geographical understanding; and by checking their written and
other recorded work regularly and systematically. Tasks can be
set which are at the same time suitable vehicles for both learning
and assessment. However, there are limits to what can be done
in the busy life of the classroom and other time must also be set
aside to mark pupils' work and to record and analyse the fmdings
of assessment. Pupils are likely to gain most from regular
checking when they understand the criteria for any marks or
grades which are awarded and when teachers respond to their
work in a constructive manner. Often an important element of
the response is the discussion between teacher and pupil fol-
lowing the checking of a piece of work. It is essential that pupils
should view assessment as an aid to learning. Indeed, pupils
should be encouraged and helped to make sound judgements
about their own work as a step towards improving what they
know and what they do.

92. Carefully designed tests can help teachers to assess older

pupils' achievement of specific objectives and to diagnose
learning difficulties. But the construction of appropriate test
items is a far from straightforward task and calls for particular
skills from teachers. One encouraging trend in secondary
education is the greater use in geography examinations of data
response questions, which require pupils to interpret and analyse
information, to apply ideas and skills, and to recognise attitudes
and values. It is likely that the General Certificate of Secondary
Education (GCSE) examinations in geography will encourage
more teachers to become familiar with a wide range of strategies
of assessment, including those appropriate for fieldwork and
coursework. Some of the strategies may be equally suitable for
the assessment of pupils' learning in earlier years.

93. It is unnecessary, and may be counterproductive, to

attempt to measure pupils' achievements in every learning
activity that they undertake. Such overuse of assessment could
interfere with learning, by creating stress for some pupils, by
narrowing educational goals, by discouraging pupils from
exercising their imaginations and by reducing the time available
for teaching and learning. Nevertheless, an appropriate range of
assessments, conducted over a period of time, enables teachers
to build up a rounded picture of a pupil's performance and
provides a basis for evaluating a programme of work. Teachers
need to consider carefully what sort of assessment is appropriate
for fieldwork, for classroom investigations and for games and
simulations. It may be better to limit assessment to selected
outcomes from such experiences. Most difficult of all is to
decide what part assessment should play in relation to learning
which focuses on attitudes and values. Perhaps assessment in
this aspect of learning should be concerned mainly with finding
out whether or not pupils can detect and then recognise the
relevance of other people's attitudes and values to particular
environmental and locational decisions or issues; assessment
should not be concerned with probing and evaluating pupils'
own feelings.

94. Some schools and some geography departments have

begun to explore the possibility of producing pupil profiles
which identify different types of achievement. For example, a
secondary school might make use of the categories proposed by
the GCSE Grade Related Criteria Working Party of the Secondary

Examinations CounciP: specific geographical knowledge; geo-

graphical understanding; map and graphical skills; the appli-
cation of geography to economic, environmental, political and
social issues (a category which recognises the importance of
values); and geographical enquiry (the ability to participate in
geographical investigations which include the identification of a
question, the basic skills of data collection, seeking answers and
explanations and presenting findings). Such a scheme would
highlight pupils' achievements in different types of activity, and
would therefore be more likely to reveal particular aspects of
learning in which individual pupils or the teaching group as a
whole require additional support.

95. The assessment of pupils' learning is a vital source of

information for evaluating the appropriateness and effectiveness
of a curriculum, especially when assessment is conceived as a
continuous process. Its findings can confirm teachers' confidence
in parts of their programme and indicate other parts which
require review. Disappointing levels of achievement may be
due to various factors, such as unrealistic objectives, inappro-
priate content, inadequate or inappropriate learning resources
or ineffective methods of teaching. It may even be that the
method of assessment is unsatisfactory. Whilst the findings of
assessment therefore require careful interpretation, the messages
which they contain are not ones to ignore. They may have as
much to say about the geography curriculum as about the
achievements of individual pupils.

1. The Secondary Examinations Council, Newcombe House, 45 Notting Hill Gate,

London Wll 3JB.

Appendix 1.
~ Application of locational questions to a particular activity: the fire service
Questions Commentary Skills

1. Where is the nearest fIre station? The location can be described in Reading maps - fInding features.
relation to features with which the
pupils are already familiar eg the
school and their own homes; and in
relation to features shown on a map.
2. What area does it serve? The advantages of a central location Describing locations.
can be examined and possible reasons
for other types of location discussed.
3. How is the 'street furniture' The regularity of the location of Placing information on maps.
associated with the fIre service hydrants could be investigated and
(eg fIre hydrants) recognised and compared with other street furniture.

4. How far is it to various parts of Time is a vital factor in dealing with Measuring from maps.
the area served? emergencies, and travel time and route
Comparing two sets of information:
distance can be compared.
route distance and time of journeys.
5. How long does it take to get to Pupils can consider why the speed of
these various places? journeys varies along different routes
and at different times ofthe day.
A short section of a route might be Drawing a map for a specifIc purpose.
surveyed to identify traffIc holdups.

6. Which routes would be followed Games might be introduced which Following and describing routes.
to get to various locations? require pupils to fmd the shortest/
easiest/quickest routes to various
7. What alternative routes are Identifying types of information about
needed to take account of places routes which a fIreman might require
of congestion, one way streets, but which are not normally shown on
temporary roadworks? street maps.
Questions Commentary Skills

8. Where are the neighbouring fire Pupils could examine the distribution Describing and analysing a distribution
stations? of fire stations in a large city or a large pattern.
What is their distribution? rural area.
How far apart are they? Are they Pupils could compare the sizes of the Comparing sets of information.
evenly distributed, and, if not, fire stations, the equipment available
what is the explanation? in each, and the services which they
can provide.

9. What are the geographical Pupils could consider the main types of Observing on the ground.
characteristics of the area which land use in the area eg agricultural,
the fire station serves? residential, commercial, industrial.
They may be able to identify patterns Reading maps.
of land use and clustering of particular Recording information on maps.
types of buildings.
The different materials used in
constructions might be noted.

10. What kinds of problems associated It may be possible to relate the Analysing the causes of fires and other
with the geography of the area is occurrence of fires to particular types problems dealt with by the fire service.
the fire service called upon to of land use and types of activity. Fires Analysing distribution patterns.
help with? may be more common in some areas
than others. Imaginative writing.
The fire service is sometimes called
upon to deal with the effects of
flooding and to rescue people and
animals from precarious positions.

Appendix 2.
Support from external agencies
Teachers in primary, middle and secondary schools, whether
general class teachers or subject specialists, can obtain valuable
support from external agents, such as local education authority
advisers/inspectors, the Geographical Association and institu-
tions engaged in teacher training. That support can be in the
form of consultation, in-service training and documents which
give suggestions and guidance.
Several local education authorities have recently produced, or
are in the process of producing, curriculum guidelines on geo-
graphy for younger pupils, in most cases through a working
party led by an inspector or adviser.

Examples are:
Avon, History and geography in primary schools, 1982.
ILEA, The study ofplaces in the primary school, 1981.
Sheffield, The geographical curriculum 8-14: planning and practice,

The Geographical Association! publishes two journals, Geo-

graphy and Teaching Geography and a wide range of other texts
that are written specifically for teachers in schools. Examples of
more recent publications that have direct relevance to curriculum
planning are:
Mills, D. (ed.) Geographical work in primary and middle schools,
Boardman, D. (ed.) Handbook for geography teachers, 1986.
(A handbook for the teaching of geography in secondary
Williams, M. Designing and teaching integrated courses, 1984.
Corney, G. and Rawlings, E. (eds.) Teaching slow learners through
geography, 1985.
Corney, G. (ed.) Geography, schools and industry, 1985.
Walford, R. (ed.) Geographical education for a multicultural society,

The many local branches of the Association are distributed

widely over the country.
l. The Geographical Association, 343 Fulwood Road, Sheffield SID 3BP.


Teacher training institutions often provide in-service courses

for teachers, and geography lecturers who are directly involved
in initial teacher training are usually very pleased to establish
strong links with individual schools, especially those in which
they place their students for teaching experience and teaching
practice. A close working relationship between schools, students
and teacher trainers can be very productive for all concerned.

Appendix 3.
Manufacturing industry - an illustration of
Manufacturing industry is one of the categories of human activity
which usually figures as a recurrent element in the content of
geography curricula. Because it is so common as a theme it
provides a good illustration of the need and scope for progression
in learning. Within the geography of manufacturing industry it
is possible to identify several sub-themes which can be translated
into broad learning objectives. For example, it might be agreed
that pupils, through their geographical studies, should be helped
to develop understanding of:
• the varied nature of manufacturing industry - the different
types of products, processes, working conditions and forms of
• the importance of manufacturing industry to the economy, to
employment opportunities and to the landscape of places;
• the basic requirements of manufacturing industry, the factors
which influence its growth and decline, and the decision making
associated with these;
• where manufacturing is located and why, the advantages and
disadvantages of various types of location, the spatial linkages
which support industry, and the reasons for changes in locational
• the environmental impact of manufacturing industry, and
the economic and social consequences of industrial change;
• economic, social, political and environmental issues associated
with geographical aspects of manufacturing industry .

Although these objects are stated in terms which are specific to a

particular field of content, they are closely related to the more
general geographical goals which have been outlined for the
early primary, later primary and secondary phases of education.
The achievement of such objectives is dependent on pupils
acquiring a wide range of geographical ideas and skills and
gaining some appreciation of conflicting human values and of
different attitudes towards manufacturing industry. It is a
gradual process which can be facilitated by careful curriculum
planning, that takes account of pupils' experience, knowledge
and ways of thinking.

Some guidelines for planning a suitable progression can be

obtained by applying the principles described in paragraph 85
of the main report.
a. An increase in breadth of studies. The variety of types of
manufacturing, the different geographical conditions required
by different industries and the different landscapes and environ-
ments that are created make it necessary for pupils to study a
range of examples. It is often possible to introduce young pupils
to important ideas through studies of local industry. In later
primary and secondary years it will be necessary and desirable
to look further afield to find suitable examples of different types
of industrial location, to examine the sort of changes that are
taking place in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the world,
and to relate industrial patterns to different resource bases, to
different technologies and to different economic and political
conditions. Older pupils in the secondary phase can benefit
from studying examples from the 'Third World' and from
relatively prosperous capitalist and communist countries, and
by comparing significant features of manufacturing industry in
the three types of economy.

b. An increasing depth of study associated with pupils'

capacity to deal with complexities and abstractions.
Complexity may be an inherent quality of what is being studied
or it may be a consequence of the information presented to
pupils and of the tasks which pupils are given. Taking the first,
there is likely to be an increase in complexity in progressing:
• from a description of the typical tasks undertaken by an
individual worker to an account of the set of interrelated activities
which make up a complete manufacturing process;

• from an analysis of the location of a single factory to an

analysis of a distribution pattern;
• from the study of a single factory to the study of an industrial
complex containing a variety of types of manufacturing;
• from an examination of the current conditions within an
industry to an investigation of the changes which have taken
place over a period of time.
There is also potential complexity in the relationships between
an industry and other activities in the area within which it is
located. In all these examples, complexity is a function of the
number of variables and the number and nature ofthe relation-
ships which have to be considered.

Complexity may also be a function of the presentation of in-

formation - whether in language, maps, diagrams, statistics or
visual images; or of the ideas which are introduced and which
pupils are required to discriminate between and to apply; or of
the mechanics of a task. But teachers have considerable control
over the supply of information and ideas and they are usually
responsible for the tasks which pupils are set. They may select
and organise these in order to simplify without distorting. Thus, it
is possible to introduce simple examples of distribution patterns
and of changing conditions to quite young pupils. Nevertheless,
the principle remains that it is best to start from a small number
of variables and straightforward relationships and increase the
complications as pupils are more capable of dealing with them.
Abstraction. General ideas need to be introduced through
examples which pupils can understand reasonably easily. In the
primary phase emphasis should be placed on the study of
specific activities and specific work places about which pupils
can acquire realistic mental images. A foundation of concrete
knowledge can be provided through the appropriate use of
films, photographs, drawings and artefacts, and, whenever
possible, through the experience of direct observation and dis-
cussions with adults involved in manufacturing activities.
Unnecessary learning difficulties can be created by the abstract
presentation of ideas. For example, the ideas commonly pre-
sented as basic factors of production - materials, power, labour,
capital, markets - are all abstractions and most of them offer
scope for misinterpretation. One of the main difficulties is that

some of these terms will be familiar to pupils, but in geography

lessons the terms are given specialist meanings which are different
from those underlying their common usage. Pupils need appro-
priate illustrations and careful guidance to develop an under-
standing of the range of meaning and breadth of application of
such terms. Site and location are other terms which need careful
handling, in this case because they are too often used as if they
were synonymous rather than having distinct meanings which
are geographically significant. Some broad concepts, such as
resource, technology and environment, are useful at different
levels of understanding, whilst other ideas are inherently difficult
and are therefore more appropriate for older, abler pupils.
Concepts such as least cost location, comparative advantage,
location quotient, environmental perception and social costs
would appear to fall into this category, as do such conceptual
models as the multiplier model (Mydral), the stages of economic
growth model (Rostow) and Weber's industrial location model.
Indeed, it may be better to defer the introduction of some of
these models until at least the sixth form. Care also needs to be
taken over the application of some statistical techniques, such as
the use of Spearman's Rank Correlation to explore the statistical
relationships between two sets of data. Pupils can all too easily
describe the framework of a model or apply a technique, without
really appreciating the significance and limitations of either.
c. Spatial Scale. The study of distribution patterns and spatial
relationships associated with manufacturing industry should be
undertaken at a variety of spatial scales. However, the tendency
for these patterns to be more complex at larger scales and the
need for much wider knowledge to provide an adequate geo-
graphical framework for students at national, international and
global levels, suggest that these are often better tackled in the
later stages of the secondary phase. This is the time when pupils
are more likely to make reasonable sense of the overall distri-
bution of manufacturing industry within a country or the global
distribution of a selected industry. But much depends on the
country and the industries selected.
d. Skills. The study of any major recurrent theme should
involve activities which require a range of skills and com-
petencies. Tasks can be planned to facilitate the progressive
acquisition of specific skills, such as those associated with the
use of maps and diagrams, and to give scope for the development
of more general intellectual and social competencies. Skills may

be demanding because they require precision or because they

involve the analysis and evaluation of complex situations or the
application of abstract ideas. While some ideas are likely to be
specific to manufacturing industry, or at least to economic
geography, intellectual skills are usually more general in kind.
In practice, intellectual skills and understanding are closely
interdependent. Teachers who are planning a course, therefore,
need to analyse the tasks that they propose to set, in order to
,identify the skills and understanding which such tasks require.

e. Issues. Environmental, social and political problems

associated with manufacturing industries can be effectively
introduced at a fairly early stage, when the issues appear to the
pupils to be real and immediate. This is more likely to be the
case when an issue concerns the local environment or when it is
a topical issue which is receiving considerable attention on
television and radio. But controversial industrial developments
or proposals may involve many interrelated factors - economic,
technological, environmental, social and political - and an
adequate understanding of the nature of any particular issue,
and why it is difficult to resolve, usually requires an appreciation
of the attitudes and values of the interested parties. The costs
and benefits are often difficult to determine and any evaluation
must to some extent be subjective. Controversial issues of this
sort can be studied more satisfactorily by pupils who are intel-
lectually mature.

The sort of analysis which has been presented here clearly does
not lead to a precise blueprint for the selection and organisation
of content and activities. The choice of specific content is
potentially great and will be influenced by such considerations
as the general framework which has been adopted for particular
courses and the learning resources which are available. But the
conclusions can usefully inform the planning of teaching pro-
grammes. The following structure illustrates how progression
could be catered for within the recurrent theme of manufacturing

Early primary
During this phase pupils can be helped through visits, stories,
role play and other activities, to appreciate:

a. some of the different types of work that adults do - eg

making things, selling things, helping people in other ways.
The focus would be on individuals and their activities.
b. that some types of work are associated with particular types
of places and buildings:
eg teaching in schools, selling goods in shops, repairing cars
in garages, farming on suitable land and making goods in
whilst other types of work involve travelling between places:
eg bus driver, postman, fireman;
Where possible the types of work should be related to people
and places that the pupils know.
c. that most of the things that we use regularly - the clothes
that we wear and most of the objects in our homes and in
classrooms - are made.
d. that many different types of materials are used in the
making of the things that we produce and that these materials
have to be brought to factories from elsewhere.
Vocabulary to introduce includes: to make, to repair, to buy, to
sell, to transport; factory, office, machinery; and the names of
specific types of employment and activities.

Later primary
a. While the local area should continue to be a source of
interest and direct experience, pupils' studies should be extended
to other places which can provide scope for them to learn about
other types of work in different environments.
At least one place studied could be an industrial area.
b. Visits and case studies can help pupils to develop a fuller
understanding of a selection of manufacturing activities and of
the working conditions associated with them.
c. Pupils can examine the sequence of processes within these
manufacturing industries and make use of flow diagrams to
summarise the sequences.
d. Simple analyses can be made of:
• the reasons why a particular industry is located where it is;

• the advantages and disadvantages of a given location;

• a simple distribution pattern at a local or regional scale; and
• the places to which a factory is linked for the supply of its
materials and distribution of its products.
Appropriate learning activities would be linked to pupils'
development of map and atlas skills.
e. Where suitable evidence is available, preferably in relation
to the local area, pupils could study some specific changes
which have taken place in the geography of a manufacturing
industry. Similarly, attention could be given to any controversial
issue associated with the location of a manufacturing industry in
the local area, especially if the issue appeared to be of interest to

Secondary - years 1 to 3
a. Pupils can be introduced to the idea of a factory as an 'open
system' linked by transport to sources of materials, power,
labour and other inputs and to markets for their products.
b. Carefully selected case studies of a variety of manufacturing
industries can be used to enable pupils:
• to develop better understanding of the factors affecting the
siting and location of industry and the role of key decision
• to recognise different types of industrial location (eg the
attraction to raw materials; to markets; to power sources; to
suitable labour; to break of bulk points; industries with
demanding site requirements); and
• to gain some understanding of the distribution of manu-
facturing industry at different spatial scales (eg within a town,
and at regional and national scales).
c. A fairly simple study could be made of changes in the
geography of manufacturing over a period of time (eg the growth
and decline of particular industries, and changing distribution
d. Through the various case studies, pupils can be introduced
to some of the economic conditions which influence the success

or failure of manufacturing industries, for example, the

importance of an adequate market for the products; and of the
capacity of a factory or workshop to deliver products of good
quality at a competitive price. Pupils can be helped to understand
that location is a factor which affects the cost of production and
delivery and, therefore, the prices which can be charged, but
that is only one of many factors.
e. Some attention could be given to the economic, social and
environmental losses and gains resulting from the location and
working practices of manufacturing industry.

Secondary - years 4 and 5

a. During these two years the further extension of pupils'
studies, to other examples of manufacturing industry and to
other places, should increase the breadth of their knowledge and
provide suitable opportunities for reinforcement of previous

b. More important, however, is the opportunity to increase

their depth of understanding, by helping them to appreciate
more complex relationships and to apply more abstract ideas.
At this stage in their education, most pupils are still maturing
intellectually. In consequence, they will be able to make sig-
nificant progress in:
• analysing the factors which may be involved in locational
decisions, including the influence of the geographical perceptions
of decision makers;
• understanding the influence of political decisions and actions
on manufacturing industry - including the incentives and dis-
• understanding the distribution of manufacturing industry at
national and international scales;
• understanding the complex web of relationships that can
operate in an important industrial region;
• appreciating the role of manufacturing industry in the
economic development of towns, regions and nations, and
comparing features of manufacturing industry in different types
of economy;
• appreciating the nature of more difficult controversial issues.

Throughout the 5 to 16 age range, pupils should be developing

ideas, skills and sensibilities. The work in years 4 and 5 should
build upon the learning achieved in earlier years and take
proper account of advances in pupils' modes of thinking and

Curriculum Matters:
an 8MI series
Titles already published are:
1. English from S to 16 2nd ed. HMSO, 1986, £2.50
ISBN 0 11 270595 2
2. The curriculum from S to 16 HMSO, 1985, £2.00
ISBN 0 11 270568 5
3. Mathematicsfrom S to 16 HMSO, 1985, £2.00
ISBN 0 11 270577 4
4. MusicfromS to 16 HMSO, 1985, £1.50
ISBN 0 11 270579 0
5. Home economics from S to 16 HMSO, 1985, £2.00
ISBN 0 11 270580 4
6. Health education from S to 16 HMSO, 1986, £2.00
ISBN 0 11 270595 2

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