Young Geographer of the year 2016: How is Britain Changing?

RGS-IBG Young Geographers of the Year 2016 RGS-IBG Young Geographers of the Year 2016 RGS-IBG
24 Dec
Each year the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and Geographical run Young Geographer of the Year, a national competition for pupils aged between nine and 18, which encourages pupils to engage with a specific geographical topic

The 2016 YGOTY competition asked pupils to answer the question ‘How is Britain changing?’ by exploring geographical change from many different perspectives, and at both local and national scales. Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3 and GCSE pupils submitted posters, while A Level students were asked to write 1,500-word essays, which could include illustrations, maps and graphs.

From the human geography and physical features of their local landscape, to the ways in which people interact with, or are influenced by, their environment, thousands of students from hundreds of schools explored the wide range of ways in which both gradual and sudden changes are happening in Britain.

This year's winners, show above from left to right, were Rishi Shah, Fern Acheson, Hannah Thom, Hannah Heus, Anisha Mehta, Katie Banks, Sama Tassabehji, Davide Castelli, Isabella Hudson, Richard Sutton (Rex Walford Award), Isabella Green, India Wood, Grace Stephens, Jay Carter, Laura Jones, Vincent Chung, and Danielle Allen-Chhokar (with Steve Brace and Wendy Walford).

With humans now being recognised as the driving influence on our environment, it’s more important than ever that the next generation of geographers are able to identify and analyse geographical change

Commenting on the competition, Claire Power, geography teacher at Millais School, said: ‘As teachers, we are always looking for ways to engage our pupils with geography outside of the classroom, and the YGOTY competition does just that. It is great seeing young people take such an interest in the subject through the competition; it really helps to raise the profile of the discipline in schools.’

In November, the winning and highly commended pupils in each age category, along with their families and geography teachers, were invited to a special ceremony at the Society to receive their awards. Steve Brace, Head of Education and Outdoor Learning at the Society, said: ‘We were incredibly impressed with the entries we received. Many focused on how Britain’s physical features are changing in response to a wide range of geographical processes, while others focused on social, cultural or political change.’

Dr Rita Gardner CBE, Director of the Society, said: ‘With humans now being recognised as the driving influence on our environment, and at a time of significant social change, it’s more important than ever that the next generation of geographers are able to identify and analyse geographical change. We’re delighted to see so many pupils considering how Britain is changing in such a thoughtful and knowledgeable way.’

The Society also announced the 2016 winner of the Rex Walford Award for a new or student teacher – Richard Sutton, from Sir Frederic Osborn School – who was judged to have produced the best set of teaching resources linked to the competition question.

Details of the 2017 Young Geographer of the Year competition will be announced in spring

This was published in the January 2017 edition of Geographical magazine.

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