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.

Share this story...

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Related items

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

Subscribe Today


Aberystwyth UniversityUniversity of GreenwichThe University of Winchester




Travel the Unknown


Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Air That We Breathe
    Cities the world over are struggling to improve air quality as scandals surrounding diesel car emissions come to light and the huge health costs of po...
    Diabetes: The World at Risk
    Diabetes is often thought of as a ‘western’ problem, one linked to the developed world’s overindulgence in fatty foods and chronic lack of physi...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    The Nuclear Power Struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...
    When the wind blows
    With 1,200 wind turbines due to be built in the UK this year, Mark Rowe explores the continuing controversy surrounding wind power and discusses the e...


NEVER MISS A STORY - follow Geographical

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.