1 Pages

subject, geography, and of decision-making about their teaching. This was a refreshing, almost novel, feeling for them, as they had often found themselves constrained by national and school prescriptions in their teaching across the curriculum. This liberation re-energised their commit-ment and enthusiasm, not least because they felt supported to take control and responsibility. While for some time their role might have been described as being ‘agents of change’ in children’s learning on behalf of the government through its edicts about curriculum content, structure and outcomes and about teaching approaches (Cox, 2011; Kelly, 2009), they began to see themselves as having agency as teachers, retaking com-mand of their professional expertise, authority and aspirations (Priestley, Biesta, & Robinson, 2012). This was, to an extent, daunting, but it enabled them to recognise their capability and potential. Curriculum making was emancipatory (Grundy, 1988; Kincheloe, 2008) and they felt themselves to be learning again. Edwards (2009) described five factors impacting on curriculum mak-ing. Each is reflected in the findings of this study. Contextual factors, such as the English national programmes of study for key stage 1 and 2 geogra-phy (DfES/QCA, 1999), formed a backdrop to the Young Geographers Project, since the study encouraged three elements of these programmes: study based in the local area of the school, the use of fieldwork and a focus on sustainable development. These were not inhibiting but rather enabled a clear focus linkedwith the subject of geographywhile providing guidance on aspects of the subject to engage with. This connected the ‘knowledge-base’ of geography with the children. Organisational factors included the issue of time as a key resource for teaching and developing children’s learning and understanding, as well as the permission given by the head teacher to be involved in the project and to work outside the pre-scribed curriculum requirements and expectations, albeit for only a lim-ited part of the working week. This linked closely with curriculum factors, in terms of the interpretation of the national curriculum requirements teachers couldmake. The liberation teachers felt enabled this to be a posi-tive opportunity rather than a constraint, since planning for and with the children would be outside the required plans of the school’s geography scheme of work. This overlapped with micro-political factors, not only through the sense of permission to workmore ‘riskily’ but because it refo-cused teachers’ reflections and self-evaluation on their attitudes to such matters as their ownership of the curriculum and the fuller engagement of the children as partners in curriculum making. The strongest influence was individual factors, which described the opportunity teachers took to reassert their sense of themselves as professionals, to draw on their subject knowledge, and to develop their confidence in drawing the children into the class project. Their enthusiasm and commitment to geographical learning and to exercise agency provided a powerful frame for their