Children are being let down by boring geography lessons which fail to teach them about vital global issues such as climate change, according to a damning report by the education watchdog Ofsted.
The quality of geography lessons is declining at a time when many of its most prominent issues, such as floods, rising sea levels, famines and trade disputes should be making the subject one of the most important in schools, Ofsted inspectors say.
Children are increasingly opting to drop geography at the age of 14 because they think it is a "boring" subject with little relevance to their lives. Too many are denied the opportunity to go on field trips because of fears about health and safety, inspectors said. Two- thirds of schools failed to meet the requirement to take pupils on geography field trips.
Christine Gilbert, the chief inspector, said: "Geography is at a crucial period in its development. More needs to be done to make the subject relevant and more engaging for pupils."
Disenchantment with geography has seen GCSE entries in the subject fall by more than a third since 1996, to 213,124 last summer. A-level take-up fell by a quarter in the same period.
Eleven to 14-year-olds were most likely to complain that their geography lessons were boring. This was the age group who were often taught by non-geography specialists, inspectors noted in their report, Geography in Schools - Changing Practice.
Too much teaching and learning in geography is "mediocre" in both primary and secondary schools, the report concluded. Pupils' achievement was found to be weaker in geography than in most other subjects.
Inspectors found that successful geography teachers used outdoor fieldwork to boost understanding of the subject, raise standards, and motivate pupils. …