From September, the Field Studies Council are running a Year of Fieldwork to help develop quality fieldwork skills. With the shift away from extended projects toward GCSE fieldwork exams, it's even more important that students are engaged in high quality data collection from an early age. In addition, it's going to be very important to balance the awe and wonder type trip, the residential that develops interpersonal skills and the need for young people to understand the process of fieldwork enquiry and primary data collection.
Fieldwork and other out-of classroom learning experiences are increasingly being recognised across the curriculum as a highly valuable tool in raising standards and skills in participants of all ages. The ‘Year of Fieldwork’, which will run over the academic year 2015-16, brings together a range of partners to celebrate these skills and opportunities and to offer support for those that wish to develop these further.
Esri UK, Field Studies Council, the Geographical Association, Ordnance Survey and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) are working collaboratively to promote the value of geographical fieldwork and the wide range of resources, training and other support that is available to schools.
Although initiated originally by partners from the field of geography it is recognised that these skills and the associated benefits are not purely in the realm of geography and is enjoyed and can benefit all curriculum subjects.
The principal purposes of the Year of Fieldwork is to;
- Highlight examples of good practice and the support that we, and others, provide to support schools to enhance the fieldwork that they provide
- Encourage more schools to undertake geographical fieldwork at all phase of the curriculum, and examination classes
- Raise awareness of the value of fieldwork to geographical education and the benefits that it provides to young people
- Promote the benefits of fieldwork as a valuable and transferable skill across a range of subject areas.
The next academic year will see significant levels of planning as schools across all ages continue to integrate and prepare for new models of assessment and content from National Curriculum through to A-level. The Year of Fieldwork partners are joining together to work collaboratively to highlight the value of geographical fieldwork.
Our hope is that schools and colleges across the country join with us to celebrate fieldwork and the opportunities it provides not just during the Year of Fieldwork, but throughout the life of learners.
I’ve certainly got my thinking hat on around what my school can do to support the Year of Fieldwork – so look out for ideas and developments.