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Open Access Corrupting the curriculum? The case of geography

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This paper considers influences on the contemporary school curriculum in England. It does so mainly through a critical analysis of one significant critique of the curriculum made by the think tank Civitas in their collection of essays asserting the 'corruption' of the curriculum, published in 2007. The paper places the Civitas position in a wider perspective. It then focuses on one subject critique in particular – geography – drawing from a wider selection of writings which attempt to show the distortion of school geography under pressure from 'good causes' such as global citizenship and sustainable development. The main conclusions of the paper are that whilst the Civitas position takes a rather restricted view of subjects which denies how the discipline has developed in recent years, there is nevertheless an important point for teachers, as curriculum-makers, to note. However, the role of the subject disciplines in the school curriculum continues to evolve. The disciplines, not least geography, are far less static than the Civitas position appears to suggest.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-07-01

More about this publication?
  • London Review of Education (LRE) is an international peer-reviewed journal featuring rigorous, theoretically based research into contemporary education. Based at the UCL Institute of Education in London, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is an eclectic and engaging journal that features analysis across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Its articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy, and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field.

    LRE welcomes relevant articles and book reviews. Please email them to

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    LRE is planning to feature the following subjects: learning in London; academic literacies. Please see publication homepage for deadlines and how to submit articles on these and other subjects.
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