The GA has produced a framework for the school geography curriculum (Curriculum framework), which sets out the nature of the school subject, its disciplinary foundations and the significant features of geography that should underlie any geography curriculum or set of curriculum requirements at national level. Its aim is to support the design of high-quality geography curricula, wherever and whenever national requirements are being reformed.
The framework draws on the knowledge and expertise of a wide range of practitioners, researchers and curriculum thinkers in geography education. It articulates the aims and purposes of geography in the school curriculum and identifies:
- those features derived from the discipline that must be represented in the school curriculum to ensure high-quality geography
- the key and organising concepts underpinning a high-quality geography curriculum
- the role of substantive knowledge in realising curriculum aims and disciplinary features
- geographical practices and how these contribute to the curriculum
- how geographical knowledge can be used and applied
- aspects of progression in geography and how these relate to the design of the school geography curriculum.
For government departments and curriculum authorities responsible for developing national curricula and qualifications requirements, the framework provides an effective way of deciding what to include in a geography curriculum to achieve consistency, but also identifies the curriculum design responsibilities that can be delegated to examination designers, publishers and schools by identifying different levels of geography curriculum development.
Using the GA’s framework in schools
For teachers, teacher educators and other geography educationalists, the framework offers a resource for professional development. It can help reflect on the nature of the subject in schools, the relationship between disciplinary and substantive knowledge, and the contents of a current curriculum.
This CPD pack provides activities which teachers might want to use as a ‘way in’ to exploring the framework in more depth, while the videos above set out some of the ways in which practising teachers and teacher educators have engaged with the GA’s Curriculum framework.
Curriculum framework feedback
If you have used the GA Curriculum Framework or any of the accompanying resources in your context, we’d love to hear from you. Please complete our feedback form to tell us about what you have done, how it went and the impacts that it had.
Curriculum framework downloads
Geographical Association (2022) A framework for the school geography curriculum
Geographical Association (2023) Curriculum framework briefing sheet
Geographical Association (2023) CPD pack: Exploring the GA Curriculum Framework
Further reading and support
Geographical Association (2012) Thinking geographically
Lambert, D. (2017) ‘Thinking geographically’ in Jones, M (ed.) The Handbook of Secondary Geography. Sheffield: Geographical Association
Ofsted (2021) Research Review Series: Geography
Rawling, E. (2020) ‘How and why National Curriculum frameworks are failing geography’, Geography, 105, 2, pp. 69–77.
Kinder, A. and Rawling, E. (2023) ‘The GA’s framework for the school geography curriculum’, Geography, 108, 2, pp.101-106.