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Research Around the Curriculum – Geography

Ofsted Education Inspection Framework (2019): 

  • Emphasizes the importance of schools providing an “ambitious, broad and balanced curriculum.” 
  • States that inspectors will assess “the extent to which the school’s curriculum sets out the knowledge and skills that pupils will gain.” 
  • Highlights the role of “sequencing that is logical and progressive” in curriculums. 
  • Geography is included as one of the core subjects for inspecting curriculum quality and standards. 

Ofsted Research Review Series: Geography (2011): 

  • Found fieldwork, local area studies, and map skills are important starting points for primary geography. 
  • Emphasized “the role of knowledge, skills and understanding in shaping pupils’ views of the world.” 
  • Recommended broad topics like water, weather, settlements to engage pupils. 
  • Noted teacher subject knowledge, resources, planning and assessment impact quality. 

Ofsted Subject Professional Development Materials: Geography (2020): 

  • Advises building locational knowledge of the world and UK from the start. 
  • Notes geography “allows pupils to make sense of current events and issues.” 
  • Emphasizes fieldwork skills like observation, collecting/analyzing data. 
  • Highlights the role of key concepts like place, space, scale and environment. 
  • Provides examples of effective curriculum sequences, lessons and assessments. 


The Geographical Association: 

  • Publishes a wide range of research-informed curriculum guidance documents for primary schools. 
  • Their Primary Geography journal highlights effective teaching strategies and case studies. 
  • Extensive library of CPD resources including webinars, self-study courses, workshops and conferences. 
  • Develops research-based teaching units, fieldwork resources, atlases, and assessment materials for purchase. 
  • Grants available for teachers to undertake action research or geography investigations. 

Royal Geographical Society: 

  • Involved in educational research projects, surveys and publications focused on geography. 
  • Created the Geography Quality Mark award to help schools evaluate their curriculum. 
  • Offers geography-focused professional development courses for teachers. 
  • Provides educational resources like maps, videos and publications to members. 
  • Engages in outreach through public lectures, community projects and youth participation. 

National Geographic Education: 

  • Funds geography education research like the National Geographic Geo-Inquiry surveys. 
  • Develops instructional resources aligned to research on high-quality geography education. 
  • Provides professional development webinars and training focused on concepts like spatial thinking. 
  • Administers grants to teachers to support geography teaching and projects. 
  • Shares real-world case studies, lesson plans, activities linked to researchers and explorers 

Academic Research: 

International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education: 

  • Publishes empirical studies on innovations in geography teaching methods, curriculum, assessments etc. 
  • Recent topics include spatial thinking in the curriculum, virtual fieldtrips, diversity in geography, social justice pedagogy. 
  • Provides insights into effective teaching strategies backed by academic research studies. 
  • Includes literature reviews synthesizing key research around issues in geography education. 

International Journal of Early Years Education: 

  • Covers studies on improving preschool and early primary geography and environmental education. 
  • Sample topics: children’s spatial skills development, play-based geography learning, concepts of place and space. 
  • Highlights creative, child-centered approaches to nurturing curiosity about the world. 
  • Connects child development research to building locational knowledge and mapping from a young age. 

Journal of Geography in Higher Education: 

  • Research on undergraduate geography education provides implications for teacher training. 
  • Insights into student-centered teaching methods, curriculum design, fieldwork, assessment etc. 
  • Articles analyze key geographical concepts, themes, and ways of thinking that are foundational. 
  • Research on effective educational technology integration applicable to schools. 


A Summary of Ofsted’s Geography Research Report

Teaching Primary Geography & History_FINAL_for distribution

Summary Ofsted Research Review Geography