Read the ‘Geography in Scottish education – where do we go from here?’ report here

Yesterday RSGS released a report outlining steps to maximise and promote the relevance and uptake of geography in schools, following the RSGS Education Conference held recently at Dollar Academy. This gathering brought together many key individuals and organisations to discuss how the subject of geography can reach its full potential and continue to be a highly relevant subject for years to come.

“Geography is one of the most critical subjects in helping us to understand the complexities of the modern world and to construct solutions that benefit modern society and our environment” commented RSGS Chief Executive Mike Robinson. “It can be a rich and rewarding subject but it is not always understood as such, and is arguably not doing enough to keep up to date, and to excite and engage people more. So what can we do about it, and what should we ask for from Government to support this?”

The ‘Geography in Scottish education – where do we go from here?’ report is now set to be shared throughout the education sector and with Scottish Government and its agencies. Building on the momentum from the conference there is real enthusiasm to work together to get the whole of geography onto the front foot and establish how to make the most of the subject. The report features provocations given by 16 speakers from multiple sectors, considering how to respond strategically, including Professors Ken Muir and Louise Hayward, authors of two crucial ongoing government reviews into education.

RSGS Education Conference participants

Professor Ken Muir commented, “our world is changing fast and the future society in which our children and young people will live is certain to be very different to our current one. Therefore, what we teach in our schools, and the curriculum they experience, need to be different too. They need to change and be continuously updated to ensure that these future citizens can thrive and survive in the world of uncertainties that lies before them. As professional educators, we will do an immense disservice to current and future learners, and to the society in which they will live, if we don’t.”

Alastair McConnell, Head of the Geography Department at Dollar Academy and Chair of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society Education Committee commented "the next few years offer an unprecedented opportunity to create a modern and dynamic education system in Scotland. Dialogue is essential to ensure we get this right and this report can provide a catalyst for continued discussion. The value of Geography has never been more apparent, providing so much potential for interdisciplinary projects and learning for sustainability. We must grasp this opportunity fully and allow a network of geographers to flourish in the short, medium and long-term.”

Concluding, Mike Robinson commented “geography remains one of the best suited subjects to accommodate and promote interdisciplinary learning and sat alongside subject learning this represents a real opportunity. Handled badly of course it could become a threat, but that is surely reinforcement of the value of this collaborative working approach. We also want to ensure we help shape this change positively so it makes the most of geographical learning and skills.”

“Over the next few months and years, RSGS will continue to use its reach and networks to inform, convene and influence this development, in order to help ensure teachers and pupils are prepared, and those in strategic roles understand the value of geography in the modern world.”