primary & secondary education

4th Annual Geography Teaching Forum

primary & secondary education

08:45 - 16:10

Thursday 28 November 2019

etc. Venues Holborn – Chancery Lane, Central London

This Forum will provide a timely opportunity for those involved in geography teaching and development to come together to discuss the latest challenges facing the sector and the opportunities available to support the learning and development of young people interested in geography. Attendees will hear about the rising importance of using data and GIS in collaboration with more traditional geographical skills, as well as discussing how best to develop and teach the recently introduced curriculum requirements. Best practice case studies will give participants the opportunity to learn about using innovative technology in the class, the role of assessment and feedback and using local partnerships to support classroom learning. 


This Forum is specifically designed for Schools, Academies and Sixth Forms. Typical job titles will include:

  • Geography Teachers
  • Heads of Geography
  • Headteachers
  • Directors of Geography
  • Deputy and Assistant Headteachers
  • Faculty Leaders for Humanities
  • Heads of Programmes
  • Curriculum Leaders
  • Geography Lecturers
  • Geography Education Consultants

This Forum is also open to the Higher Education Sector to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Steve Brace FRGS, Head of Education and Outdoor Learning, The Royal Geographical Society
  • Nicholas Lapthorn, Head of Centre, Field Studies Council and Past President, Geographical Association (GA)
  • Victoria Fowell, Geography and Travel and Tourism Subject Adviser, Pearson UK
  • Shelley Monk, Geography Subject Advisor, OCR
  • Rob Chambers, Head of Geography, St Ivo School
  • Dr Alex Standish, Senior Lecturer in Geography Education and Lead for Secondary Geography Post-Graduate Certificate in Education, University College London and Director, London Geography Alliance
  • Gemma Collins, Lecturer in Geography Education, University of Birmingham
  • Justin Loveland, Head of Geography, Woodroffe School
  • Karen Haward, Senior Geography Consultant, The Harris Federation
  • Rachel Adams FRGS CGeog, Former Head of Geography, Wimbledon High School
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Dr Alex Standish, Senior Lecturer in Geography Education and Lead for Secondary Geography Post-Graduate Certificate in Education, University College London and Director, London Geography Alliance (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Planning For Progression, Innovation and Creativity in Fieldwork

  • Outlining the progression required following the reformed GCSE and A Level curriculum and what this means for pupils undertaking fieldwork exams
  • Key learning points following the recent GCSE and A-level exams in the context of fieldwork assessment and Independent Investigations
  • Developing a model for creativity and innovation in fieldwork to support engagement, progression and the NEA.

Nicholas Lapthorn, Head of Centre, Field Studies Council and Past President, Geographical Association (GA) (CONFIRMED) 


Special Keynote: Why Geography Matters

  • Outlining what geography’s contribution is to the curriculum and young people’s education

  • Demonstrating how we can connect and engage young geographers through fieldwork

  • Highlighting how can we demonstrate the wider relevance and importance of geography to further study and careers

  • Analysing the economic and social benefits that geography provides to the UK and beyond

Steve Brace FRGS, Head of Education and Outdoor Learning, The Royal Geographical Society (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Designing Effective Curriculum Progression To Acheive at Key Stage 4

  • This case study will discuss the Woodroffe approach to creating supportive curriculum transition for pupils transferring from key stage 3 to key stage 4 
  • Woodroffe has increased both attainment and results for pupils at key stage 4 and achieved recognition for continual departmental improvement year on year 
  • Woodroffe will share insight into their approach to ensuring pupils at key stage 4 strengthen and improve key skills in fieldwork, data and analysis, such as creating alternative learning opportunities as creating films and promoting extra-curricular activities such as attending geographical festivals 
  • They will also reflect on what procedures it uses to ensure students feel comfortable in developing towards different assessments at key stage 4, such as developed feedback at an early stage and incorporating student’s views and feedbacks into the curriculum 

Justin Loveland, Head of Geography, Woodroffe School (CONFIRMED)

The Woodroffe School were awarded the Secondary Geography Quality Mark (SGQM) from the Geographical Association in 2017.


Case Study: Maximising Achievement and Attainment at Key Stage 5

  • Discussing the Harris Federation’s approach to maximising attainment and promoting life-long learning at key stage 5 geography 
  • Sharing how using GIS in geography lessons, as well as running low-cost fieldtrips for students, is supporting critical development within the classroom and facilitating achievement at key stage 5
  • Discussing the training and support given to KS5 geography teachers, including for the NEA
  • Sharing the Federation’s ideas to use links to external speakers and Subject Associations to promote achievement and increase A Level uptake
  • Analysing innovative feedback methods used in KS5 geography lessons, and what best practice can be adapted from classrooms across the Federation

Karen Haward, Senior Geography Consultant, The Harris Federation (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Innovating with Technology to Support Dynamic Geography Teaching

  • The overall aim of this session is to focus on exploring how ICT can be used to effectively support teachers and pupils to ensure geography teaching can be dynamic and relevant to all
  • It will consider key themes such as teacher resource sharing, online learning hubs, the incorporation of key technologies in the classroom, including how technology can be used to engage with and improve marking and feedback, and how St Ivo Academy geography department use online tools for personal learning and revision
  • It will also explore how social media can be used safely as a tool for teaching and learning, reconciling ongoing concerns amongst parents about its use with the potential it offers for reinforcement and celebration of achievement

Rob Chambers, Head of Geography, St Ivo School (CONFIRMED)

The Geography Department at St Ivo School was awarded a Mark of Excellence by the Princes Teaching Institute (PTI) in 2016 


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Workshop: Critical Reflection in Fieldwork – Enhancing Student Performance

  • Examining the value and assessment of fieldwork in geography
  • Discussing how experiential learning can enhance student performance
  • Exploring the expectations of fieldwork examination questions targeted at critical reflection and elaborating on how teachers can effectively prepare students for such assessments

Shelley Monk, Geography Subject Advisor, OCR (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Supporting Developed Learning Through Effectively Using GIS and Data Skills

  • Discussing how departments can integrate GIS and data learning from KS3 through to KS5 in a manner that develops confidence with the skills for both teachers and pupils
  • Using GIS and data learning as a core part of the geography curriculum and discussing the benefits it has had on pupils, such as improving long-term attainment and boosting academic assessment results 
  • Outlining the challenges that might arise when integrating GIS and data skills into the curriculum and sharing best practice as to how difficulties can be navigated to maximise their benefit for students
  • Examining the opportunities available to support departments and teachers in developing GIS and data learning in the geography curriculum

Rachel Adams FRGS CGeog, Former Head of Geography, Wimbledon High School (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Forming Effective Links with Universities to Support Secondary Teaching

  • Discussing the benefits of forming partnerships with higher education institutions to support geography teaching at GCSE and A Level
  • Outlining how the University has worked with local schools through schemes such as ‘Connecting Geography’ to aid curriculum development and support teacher development
  • Sharing insight into lessons learned from challenges encountered through the programme and the changes made for the 2019/2020 programme, including using undergraduates to draw a better link with similar-generation pupils 
  • Providing best practice on how secondary schools can reach out to higher education institutions and sharing resources available to support partnership working, such as the RGS ambassadorship scheme 

Gemma Collins, Lecturer in Geography Education, University of Birmingham (CONFIRMED) 


Closing Keynote: Evaluating Assessment Requirements to Support Targeted Learning

  • Discussing how assessment can be used as a tool for continual development and sharing insight into how different forms are best approached in the classroom
  • Examining the uses of assessment as a tool for promoting pedagogical innovation in approach for teachers, to ensure each pupil is stimulated in learning
  • Sharing how assessment can be used to incorporate and reinforce disparate skills gained across the curriculum, from data and GIS to long-form writing and analysis
  • Examining how schools can review revision techniques from past years and provide a wide range of options to support students in their preparation for summative assessments

Victoria Fowell, Geography and Travel and Tourism Subject Adviser, Pearson UK (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change

Geography is becoming an increasingly popular subject for students from across the UK, with total numbers of GCSE candidates rising by 4.3% in 2018 to hit a 20 year high of total candidates. The picture is less positive at A Level, with a decrease of 11.3% in 2018, although it is still one of the top-ten most popular A level choices in the UK.

The Geography curricula for both GCSEs and A Levels were reformed in 2016, with the first students undertaking reformed examinations in 2018. In an attempt to improve student attainment whilst encouraging greater student numbers, reforms included a new emphasis on fieldwork, key data skills and extended writing assignments. In turn, this has ensured that Key Stages 3 and 4 have been updated to provide a greater synthesis of skills and a clearer developmental pathway for student geographers. The latest Ofsted inspection framework, due to come into effect in September 2019, will encourage schools to provide a comprehensive curriculum that creates rounded pupil as part of their new ‘quality of education’ grade, a development that geography departments will have to consider when designing geography teaching.

Yet, the Royal Geographical Society has outlined existing structural weaknesses in geography teaching, including a ‘marginalisation’ of geography within primary schools, low-levels of specialist teachers at GCSE and a lack of quality engagement at KS3 level. With issues such as climate change and migration set to gain increasing importance in everyday lives, the Society has called for a significant investment in geography as a vital subject for students.

To support a subject that increasingly is managing to branch the divide between STEM and humanities, geography departments will have to continue to deliver exceptional teaching in a thoughtful and engaging manner that incorporates all elements of geographical learning from key stage 3 through to A levels. Geography teachers will need to continue to incorporate data and GIS technology teaching within the classroom whilst creating inspiring fieldwork opportunities outside the classroom to best support the development of student’s key skills and maximise their ability to achieve.

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