Joyce Hallam, retired Head Teacher of Hawkshead Esthwaite Primary School, now Geography Consultant and voluntary support worker with the local Global Learning Programme has drawn up a sample of statutory statements in three subject areas of primary and secondary education which provide huge scope for developing concepts, ideas, knowledge, skills values and attitudes that relate directly to GCE and have potential to provide a starting point for linking to, and exploring, the Sustainable Development Goals.  This blog links to an article that Joyce has written for NAEE’s Spring 2019 journal (EE120) which has a focus on the goals and learning.


Science at KS 1 and 2

  • develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  • (pupils) are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future
  • (pupils) recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things. They should do this through exploring and talking about their ideas; asking their own questions about scientific phenomena; and analysing functions, relationships and interactions more systematically. At upper key stage 2, they should encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates.

Geography at KS 1 and 2

  • (pupils) should develop knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. They should understand basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography and begin to use geographical skills, including first-hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness.
  • describe and understand key aspects of human geography, including: types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water (Geography programmes of study: key stages 1 and 2 National curriculum in England 2013)

History at KS 1 and 2

  • (pupils explore) changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life, events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally
  • (pupils explore) the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements.
  • (pupils explore) understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses

(History programmes of study: key stages 1 and 2 National curriculum in England 2013)


GCSE Science GCSE specifications in science should enable students to:

  • (understand) relationships in an ecosystem the interdependence of organisms in an ecosystem, including food webs and insect pollinated crops
  • (understand) changes in the environment which may leave individuals within a species, and some entire species, less well adapted to compete successfully and reproduce, which in turn may lead to extinction the importance of maintaining biodiversity and the use of gene banks to preserve hereditary material
  • develop their ability to evaluate claims based on science through critical analysis of the methodology, evidence and conclusions, both qualitatively and quantitatively
  • (understand) positive and negative human interactions with ecosystems
  • (understand) Earth as a source of limited resources and the efficacy of recycling
  • (understand) the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the impact on climate
  • (understand) fuels and energy resources
  • explain everyday and technological applications of science; evaluating associated personal, social, economic and environmental implications; and making decisions based on the evaluation of evidence and arguments

GCSE Geography GCSE specifications in geography should enable students to:

  • deepen understanding of geographical processes, illuminating the impact of change and of complex people-environment interactions,
  • develop and extend their knowledge of locations, places, environments and processes, and of different scales and social, political and cultural contexts (know geographical material)
  • gain understanding of the interactions between people and environments, change in places and processes over space and time, and the interrelationship between geographical phenomena at different scales and in different contexts (think like a geographer)
  • (have) more detailed contextual knowledge of two countries of contemporary global significance, in addition to the UK
  • (understand) the causes and consequences of uneven development at global level as the background for considering the changing context of population, economy and society and of technological and political development in at least one poorer country or one that is within a newly emerging economy

(Geography GCSE subject content and assessment objectives, June 2013)

GCSE History GCSE specifications in history should enable students to:

  • develop and extend their knowledge and understanding of: specified key events periods and societies in the history of their locality, Britain, and the wider world; and of the wide diversity of human experience
  • engage in historical enquiry to develop as independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers
  • recognise that the discipline of history and a knowledge and understanding of the past helps them to understand their own identity and significant aspects of the world in which they live, and provides them with the basis for further wider learning and study

(History GCSE subject content and assessment objectives, June 2013)

Further detail on all this can be found here.


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