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Key Concepts

Underlying the notion of a global dimension to the curriculum are eight key concepts. These underpin subject areas and help us clarify what the global dimension means.



Gaining the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to become informed, active, responsible global citizens.


English:  using texts concerning issues of a global nature.

Science:  promoting discussion of the science-based issues that may affect pupils own lives, the direction of society and the future of the world.

History: explaining the role of national and international organisations throughout history; highlighting different forms of action to effect change.

Geography: inspiring pupils to think about their own place in the world and their rights and responsibilities to other people; studying issues of global significance.

PE: promoting social skills involving co-operation and collaboration.

Citizenship: teaching about democratic institutions and different political and societal structures; encouraging pupils to participate and become active citizens.


Sustainable development

Understanding the need to maintain and improve the quality of life now with damaging the planet for future generations.


ICT: explaining the implications of the use of ICT for the environment.

History: showing how past actions and choices have had an effect on the environment and so on the quality of people's lives.

Geography / Science / D&T: teaching the principles of sustainable development; explaining the positive and negative effects of scientific and technological developments on the environment and on people; highlighting the importance of choosing materials, making processes and using resources sensitively.

Citizenship: showing how pupils can become citizens making a contribution to the future well being of the planet and its people.

RE: teaching about beliefs about the created world and how it should be cared for.


Social justice

Understanding the importance of social justice as an element in both sustainable development and the improved welfare of all people.


Design and technology: exploring values and ethics in relation to the application of design & technology.

History: explaining the motivation of individuals who made sacrifices for  a particular cause.

Geography: showing how the level of development in different countries is related to quality of life.

Citizenship: encouraging debate on topical issues relating to social justice.

RE: highlighting the importance of social justice to believe systems.



Understanding and respecting differences and relating these to our common humanity.


English: exploring the way that cultures are represented in stories and poems; showing how language relates to national, regional and cultural identities.

Design and technology: exploring how different people have developed solutions to meet their needs.

Geography: studying people, places and environments in different parts of the world.  

MFL: exploring the different linguistic and cultural traditions of those countries where the target language is spoken.

Music / Art: studying art forms from different cultures and traditions; showing how ideas, beliefs and values influence the making of art.

RE / Citizenship: celebrating different national, religious and ethnic identities.


Values and perceptions

Developing a critical evaluation of images of the developing world and an appreciation of the effect these have on people's attitudes and values.


English / MFL: highlighting contrasting images of the developing world in literature / film and exploring responses to these; developing awareness of bias and stereotyping in the media.

Science: showing how perceptions of different cultures can influence the extent to which scientific ideas are accepted, used and valued.

Geography: studying less economically developed countries and localities through analysis of sources such as photographs, texts, etc and raising consciousness of the way these shape the pupil's own and others' views.

PSHE: encouraging discussion about stereotypes and prejudices, and why these exist.



Understanding how people, places and environments are all inextricably interrelated and that events have repercussions on a global scale.


Mathematics: showing that mathematicians from many cultures have contributed to the development of modern day mathematics.

ICT: explaining how ICT connects local, national and international communities; exploring the impact of ICT on global interdependence.

History: showing how events throughout history and around the world are interrelated.

Geography: explaining why places and people are interdependent.

Citizenship: showing how the world is a global community.

RE: teaching about the moral and social obligations we have towards each other.


Conflict resolution

Understanding how conflicts are a barrier to development and why there is need for their resolution and the promotion of harmony.


English: encouraging discussion of different viewpoints, including those expressed in literature; exploring conflict through drama.

History: explaining the causes and impacts of previous conflicts; showing the importance of resolving conflict fairly.

Geography: explaining how conflicting demands on an environment arise and the difficulties that these can cause.

PSHE: teaching conflict resolution.

RE: encouraging understanding of, and empathy for, other points of view.


Human rights

Knowing about human rights and understanding their breadth and universality.


Science: showing how our basic needs are universal.

History: teaching about the lives of those who have fought for human rights, both in Britain and the wider world.

MFL: discussing human rights in the target language.

PSHE / Citizenship: teaching about bills of rights; explaining why everyone is entitled to these rights and why we all have responsibilities to ensure these rights are met.








Why do we do this?

By doing this children can make links between events in different countries and compare the lives of other people in other countries in the past with those from their own country.  Learning about past conflicts can help pupils develop insights into topical situations.


As part of  a world history study, pupils in many primary schools have studied the history of the kingdom of Benin, using the WWF/Channel 4 pack, 'Benin: An African Kingdom' (available through Oxfam's resources catalogue - see p.16). The history of Benin is a part of an important period of African history, and offers a positive image of an African country.  This has challenged many preconceptions pupils have about African societies.


Geography: where pupils learn about a country that is less economically developed and about environmental change and sustainable development.

  • By doing this they can learn to recognise how places fit within a wider geographical context and are interdependent.  They can learn how people can improve the environment or damage it and how decisions about places and environments affect the future quality of people's lives.


Art and design: where pupils compare ideas, methods and approaches used in different cultures and traditions and learn about the diverse roles of artists, craftspeople and designers working in these cultures and traditions.

  • By doing this they can experiment with different methods and approaches used by artists, craftspeople and designers from other cultures, learn more about the context within which these people work, and use what have learnt to inform their work.


After visiting their local museum to see objects from other cultures, pupils at a Birmingham school were asked to choose one object that represented their cultural identity.  In doing this, pupils realised how difficult it is to base judgements of another culture on observing a few artefacts.  They started to appreciate how false assumptions are sometimes made about which we have limited information.


Music: where pupils learn about the music of different cultures and traditions.  They perform music, and can use instruments from a range of different cultures.

  • By doing this they can begin to appreciate and recognise the contribution of world music to, for example, modern popular culture.


PE: where pupils learn about the dance of different cultures and traditions and work together as a team.

  • By doing this they can develop an understanding of the influence of other dance forms and an appreciation of the value of working co-operatively.


PSHE and Citizenship: where pupils discuss and debate topical issues, including global problems and events.  They learn to understand other people's experiences, to appreciate the range of religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and to recognise and challenge stereotypes.

  • By doing this they can develop a sense of themselves as members of a world-wide community in which there exists a wide range of cultures and identities but a common humanity.


RE: where pupils learn about the world's major religions and how each individual is important.

  • By doing this they can appreciate religious diversity in their own society and around the world.  They can learn about different religious beliefs with regards to the environment and learn to value each other and actively seek to include others.




Global Pictures