RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2015

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148 The Impacts of Recent Changes to the School Geography Curriculum: Policy Processes and Subject Knowledge
Affiliation Higher Education Research Group
Convenor(s) Eleanor Rawling (University of Oxford, UK)
Chair(s) Jennifer Hill (University of the West of England, UK)
Timetable Thursday 03 September 2015, Session 2 (11:10 - 12:50)
Room Newman Building - Lecture Theatre C&D
Session abstract Current reforms to the school geography curriculum and examinations (2010-14) are far-reaching and will have implications not only for schools but also for higher education, for cross-phase collaboration, and for the nature and presentation of geography subject knowledge within the discipline and to the wider public. This session will draw on the recent 'knowledge-led' reviews of the National Curriculum, GCSE and AS/A level geography in England, bringing together researchers and curriculum developers in school geography with colleagues from higher education. The session will highlight the impacts of educational policy on the school geography curriculum; the changing nature of what constitutes geographical knowledge in schools and in academia and the significance of changes to teacher education. Discussion will focus on possible futures for professional engagement and debate about geography subject knowledge; and opportunities for inputs to political debate about the curriculum at all levels.

Supported by the Geography Education Research Collective (GEReCo)
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2015@rgs.org
School Geography: Policy Processes and Curriculum Change
Eleanor Rawling (University of Oxford, UK)
Since 2010 there have been far-reaching changes made to school geography within the National Curriculum, GCSE and Advanced Level. This presentation will draw on the author’s involvement in these changes to highlight some of the recurring debates and conflicts that have arisen about geography’s subject knowledge and suggest how these may be seen as contingent on the policy processes and systems operating throughout this period of curriculum review. Some implications for schools and higher education will be identified.
What’s Going On? : Teachers’ Responses to Curriculum Change
Mary Biddulph (The University of Nottingham, UK)
How have teachers responded to new statutory curriculum requirements and what has been the impact of this ‘new era’ on the school geography curriculum? This paper will explore the kinds of curriculum decisions teachers are now making, what influences these decisions and what are the consequences for the kinds of geographies now being taught in schools. Conversations with geography teachers in a group of East Midlands secondary schools are the inspiration for this paper.
Reconsidering Geography at the Schools-HE boundary; the ALCAB experience
Martin Evans (The University of Manchester, UK)
In 2014 the A-level Content Advisory Board(ALCAB) panel on Geography was charged with developing revised content for A and AS level geography. The panel included HE geographers, representatives from GA and the RGS and a practicing teacher. As part of the process the panel undertook a scoping exercise consulting with HE and with teachers, and had extensive discussions with school examination awarding bodies This paper will discuss the consensus and the disconnects evident in the scoping data, reflect on the process which involved a degree of reconnection of HE with A level content, and consider the implications of the revised content and specifications for geographical education in schools and Universities.
What Impact will Changes in Teacher Education have on the Geography Curriculum in Schools?
Graham Butt (Oxford Brookes University, UK)
Recent policy statements from each of the main political parties firmly locate future teacher education and training in schools. This largely ignores the previous contributions successfully made to England's 'world class teaching profession' by higher education institutions (HEIs) which have employed specialist geography educators. Given the significant decline in numbers of trainee geography teachers based in HEIs, and the increasing placement of trainees on 'school-based' routes, this is likely to lead to narrower forms of teacher preparation and the loss of subject specialisms, with concomitant effects on research and scholarship in geography education and ultimately on the quality of the geography curriculum experienced by students in schools.
Professional Engagement and Debate about Geography Subject Knowledge
A discussion session focused on subject knowledge in schools, teacher education and higher education; the future possibilities for professional engagement and debate about the subject; and opportunities for inputs to political debate about the curriculum at all levels.