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Clifford: Westminster Education Forum

Posted on 16/10/2015
Westminster Education Forum

On Thursday 7 March, Professor Nicholas Clifford, Head of Department for Geography, King's College London joined Kevin Brennan MP, Shadow Minister for Schools and Lord Luke, Member, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Archives and History at the 2013 Westminster Education Forum National Curriculum Seminar Series. The focus was on reviewing the new Curriculum for History and Geography. As Government consults on its draft new National Curriculum, this timely seminar brought together stakeholders in education, publishing and culture with policymakers to discuss the new Programmes of Study for History and Geography. 

Professor Clifford formed part of the panel Examining the content of the new Programme of Study for Geography. This panel considered: 

  • What are the aims of the new Programme of Study (PoS) for Geography? 
  • How well does the PoS balance the teaching of skills, facts and concepts? 
  • Will the balance in the curriculum between physical and human geography achieve Government’s aim of equipping pupils with a deeper understanding of the wider world?
  • Does the Geography PoS dovetail with the Science curriculum for cross-curricular learning? 
  • Does the proposed Geography PoS meet the needs of further study and employers?

The panel members included: Steve Brace, Head of Education and Outdoor Learning, Royal Geographical Society, Lydia Williams, Head of Geography, JFS School, Harrow, Dr Alex Standish, Lecturer in Geography Education, Institute of Education, University of London, Elaine Owen, Education Manager, Ordnance Survey. Questions and comments from the floor with Leszek Iwaskow HMI, National Adviser for Geography, Ofsted.


Other sessions examined the content of the draft Programmes of Study for Key Stages 1-3 (from page 161), including the focus on chronological narrative History and the increased emphasis on knowledge acquisition and data analysis in Geography. Wider implementation issues were discussed, such as the role and effectiveness of school trips in teaching Humanities subjects; the impact the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) has had on the teaching of Humanities subjects; and the position of Religious Education in both the EBacc and the school curriculum.

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