20 August 2020

COVID-19 ISEB Update
Geography Fieldwork Enquiry - for 2020-21

ISEB is aware that schools may be constrained in terms of planning for Geography fieldwork in 2020-21.

Whilst the ideal would be to offer pupils the opportunity to experience practical fieldwork and to collect ‘real’ data and to analyse it, this may not be equally possible for all schools. ISEB fully recognises that safety, for pupils and their teachers, must be the priority at this time.

Where there are ways in which practical work can still be undertaken, this may be the year to be innovative and/or ingenious. Where school circumstances allow, traditional fieldwork projects may be able to go ahead. If whole-form field studies prove not to be possible, pupils may be able to carry out data collection independently in their gardens or environs local to school or home and write up the projects in the normal way. This could be done by the teacher setting a whole class activity, such as a microclimate or weathering investigation using prescribed methods (albeit possibly remotely). Alternatively, pupils could be given free rein to carry out their own independent study but still following the prescribed guidance and seeking approval from their teacher for whatever they decide (ideally syllabus based) before they commence data collection.

We believe that schools should not feel under pressure for the ‘write-up’ of the project to occupy too much time. However, the date for submission of the field work projects has been extended to 30 April 2021, which may be of help.

If schools find that they are unable to complete the fieldwork projects, they should inform the senior schools concerned so that their candidates’ marks for the written Geography paper can be adjusted to a percentage mark.

Above all, we understand that planning for the year ahead is very difficult at this stage, for teachers and school leaders, and that the safety and best interests of the pupils must be put first.