So schools are measured on 5 A*-A including English and Maths and this has turned into the EBacc. One of these five has to be a humanity of either History or Geography, but not RS. This should mean more people choosing Geography GCSE and therefore a higher profile for my subject. You would think I would be delighted.
I am not.
Pupils need a rounded and full education, one they can engage with and want to be a part of; one that excites and helps them grow into useful, thoughtful and caring adults. If you give people a choice based on a 50 year old society full of dates and capital cities, grammar tests and recall, then there will be much less engagement with learning and as a result many more adults in future years with less to offer society. A restrictive curriculum that interests only a minority is a backward step.
Additionally, the prioritising of some subjects over others divides the staff room and creates an unnecessary heirarchy in schools. Most staff begin to realise that because the government doesn’t rate their subject as important as others neither does OFSTED. And if OFSTED values it less, so will headteachers, and if the school cares less for your subject that will seep through to pupils and parents. So you are left on the fringes.
This is happening to Geography even tough we are within the magical Ebacc ring fence. Pupils are taken out of our lessons for extra maths and English revision classes. They miss content and teaching they rarely care to catch up on. There is no recourse “It is best for the pupil.” we are told. Or even worse, “You should plan for this sort of thing, pupils missing lessons before your exam is no reason why your results arent as good as they should have been. It is your responsibility to overcome this.”
Now if that is occurring to Geography for the benefit of English and Maths, heaven knows what is happening nationally to other more marginalised subjects. I want to be part of a rounded and full education system. I dont want Geography to be king or rather part of the court of ‘Queen EnglishMaths’. there are many pupils for whom my subject does not rate as important or interesting and they should be allowed to choose other subjects that are equally as valued, funded and supported as every other area in the curriculum.
If Headteachers and staff allow our curriculum to be segregated in this way then the quality of education being delivered and received, the teaching and learning in our classrooms will deteriote and morale in the staffroom will fall further. the NAHT and NUT have a joint petition on the matter if you would like to sign it then please go to http://www.ebaccpetition.org.uk