Saturday, 17 March 2018

Better World Detectives

Tui is the travel company formerly known as Thomson. 
They have made available a suite of resources for KS2 pupils, which involves 6 fully resourced lessons. There is an accent on sustainability, which connects with the company's approach of promoting sustainable tourism.
An e-mail is required to download the resource pack, which runs to almost 300Mb as it includes a range of assets including videos and teacher resources to print off. These are fun, and well packaged materials, with nods to social media use, and themes which will be familiar to many young people. The lessons introduce students to a fictional island first, before exploring plastic in the oceans, coral reefs, and the impact of tourism on local communities and people.

Say hello to the Better World Detectives, and you may find a use for some of these resources within your KS2 curriculum.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Share your special places

This is the 125th Anniversary year of the Geographical Association, and the conference in Sheffield in April will be very special.

One of the projects I'm doing (and have been doing for some time) is to tweet out a 'top tip' a day for 125 days on the GA Secondary Phase committee twitter feed. This is coming to a climax on the first day of the conference.

As part of the plans for the GA's celebrations, and connecting with my OS GetOutside Champions Role for 2018, I'm going to start collating a list of 125 inspirational places to visit in the UK.

We all have places from which we draw inspiration... This could be a beach, a particular walk, a historic building, a bench overlooking a viewpoint, a landscape feature or something more esoteric. 

The reasons behind the inspiration may relate to family members, an emotional reunion, or sad passing; they may be places that are visited often, or which left a lasting impression from a single visit. They may be places we remember fondly from childhood, or which we discovered later in life.

This project is connected to the 125th Anniversary of the Geographical Association in 2018. One of the projects which the association wants to develop is a list of 125 Inspirational Places to visit in the UK: human and physical landscapes and locations which sum up the best the UK has to offer.

The project also links to work being done by Alan Parkinson as an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion during 2018, and the production of a list with further guidance on visiting the places on it will be a project for Alan to complete.

There is also a joint project underway between Alan Parkinson, and Peter Knight of Keele University, who are working to produce a resource for teachers exploring Inspirational Landscapes and Changing Places at 

Here's an example for you:
Surprise View, in the Peak District
A bend in the road where the Hope Valley, Hathersage and Castleton and Mam Tor beyond suddenly come into view spread out below you - the light varies throughout the year, but the view is always exciting - one of the best in the UK
Be careful when driving! Park up and take in the view

OS Grid Reference: SK249800

I've produced a Google form which you can link to here, and help me out with if possible. Feel free to share the link to the form as well.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

New Director of the Royal Geographical Society

A few months ago, Rita Gardner announced that she was stepping down as Director of the RGS-IBG after 22 years, and a search for her replacement began.

The new Director has now been announced, and it is somebody who I have met a few times, and who has a strong education background, which is always good to see.

Joe Smith is currently Head of Geography at the Open University.

Joe Smith was ‘thrilled’ with his appointment. ‘The breadth and scale of the Society’s reach is extraordinary and makes this a rare and compelling role’ he says.
‘The Society is well positioned with an ambitious and comprehensive strategy in place, a loyal membership base and secure finances. I look forward to building on these foundations and taking the Society on to the next phase of its illustrious history.’
The very first meeting I had after being appointed as Secondary Curriculum Development Leader of the GA back in 2008 was over at the Open University, and alongside Clive Barnett and Doreen Massey from the OU, and David Lambert from the GA, Joe Smith was also involved in the meeting. We were discussing potential collaborative work, and about four years later I started working with the OU, managing their VITAL Geography portal for teachers as part of a very successful multi-million pound project.  (Sadly, when the funding ended all the material was mothballed...)

This is a terrific appointment for the RGS-IBG, and I look forward to continuing to support the Society as much as I can

Image credit: Royal Geographical Society

Monday, 19 February 2018


Details of a new option for GIS training were released earlier. Steve Richardson, who wrote quite a lot of the resources that are available on the ArcGIS Schools Resources section has organised a day looking at embedding GIS in the curriculum to support the progression of some key geographical skills and knowledge.

The price is £160 for the day, including lunch and refreshments and the first course is being run down on the South Coast in June.
More details here on the Eventbrite page.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Beermeet at the GA Conference

One of the elements of the GA Conference for the last 8 years or so has been the Beermeet.
This has grown in size over the years, and we even managed to 'drink the pub dry' a few years ago in Guildford. This follows on from the Teachmeet now that has been added to the programme, and this year's venue has been revealed. I know it well, having stopped off there quite a few times over the years.

The Sheffield Tap is an excellent bar, which is located in the Railway Station in three splendid large rooms. The range of beers is superb, and there is a micro-brewery there too.

Click the link, or scan the QR code to find out more from the Facebook page, and please let us know that you're coming, or planning to come... and feel free to buy me a pint...

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Digimap for Schools Resource revamp

Over the last few years, I've written a number of Secondary resources to accompany the Digimap for Schools service. My colleague Paula Owens wrote a whole tranche of Primary resources too.

The resource area has now had a revamp so that it is easier to access particular resources from the archive.

The new look page can be accessed HERE.

It has resources for a range of subjects, not just geography, which is a reminder that if you are thinking of getting a subscription for your school, you should make a point that it is not just for geography, and have it paid from general budgets rather than your own budget...

Tuesday, 5 December 2017


For the last couple of years, there has been a teacher-led CPD event called Teachmeet HistoryIcons. It was developed by a group of history teachers, and runs very successfully with some sponsorship and support from companies and individuals, which mean the event is free to delegates. The next event is taking place in March 2018.

A group of geography teachers has been working on developing a Geography-related event which, with the backing of our History colleagues has now been organised by a rather fine group of  teachers, with a similar logo, and which will be hosted by the lovely folks at the University of Birmingham.
It will take place in June 2018.

You can sign up to join the Waiting List for a ticket from the Eventbrite page.
Tickets are FREE, but SOLD OUT.

The event has a keynote from a teacher and an academic, although Teachmeets don't traditionally have a keynote, this one does... and for some reason the very lovely and generous Mrs. Humanities, who is on the organising team, asked me to do the teacher highlight talk, and I was delighted to say yes.... There have been some very kind comments on Twitter as a result of this news going out yesterday...

To follow the developments as the event gets closer, particularly any possibility of further tickets, you'd be best to follow @TMGeogIcons on Twitter.
And of course you can follow me. There has been a flurry of new followers over the last 24 hours.

I look forward to seeing some of you in June. I'm starting to think about how I can make my talk memorable, useful and profoundly geographical... I've got a few ideas...