Memorandum submitted by The Geological
The Society's evidence focuses on those issues
with a direct geological context. The Society recognises that
there are a number of other matters of significance but notes
that these fall outside its area of professional coverage.
The Society welcomes the inquiry by the House
of Commons Select Committee and would like to highlight its concerns
about the content of the science curriculum and provision for
the teaching of Earth Science within the curriculum.
The main concern is that specialists
in biology, physics or chemistry who have themselves had little
or no geology education, generally teach the Earth Science element.
They may rely on textbooks, many of which are out of date, oversimplified
or contain errors.
Geology is primarily a practical
subject and it is often this practical side (with fieldtrips etc)
that really enthuses the children. Further reduction in time available
in the classroom (due to continued overloading of the curriculum),
lack of confidence or willingness of teachers (eg concerns about
safety issues and responsibilities) and a reduction in the number
of laboratory technicians, will serve to reduce the practical
teaching of geology and science. This may have a knock-on effect,
with fewer choosing to continue with their geological studies
A basic understanding of mathematics
is necessary for the study of geology. On a positive note, numeracy
hour is now well-established as part of the curriculum in primary
schools and children who have benefited from this will soon be
reaching the 14-19 age range. This basic grounding should serve
to reduce negative feelings among children for example that "maths
is difficult" and "you can't do science without maths".
The Society would like to offer its expertise
to help advise on resources and assistance that is available to
teachers and pupils and give positive input to curriculum discussions