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Supporting Geography In Schools

Geography Ambassadors help promote the subject to students at special events Geography Ambassadors help promote the subject to students at special events Roger Moody
27 Jan
In a rapidly changing and ever more connected world, the demand for geographical knowledge, skills and understanding has never been greater

The growing number of pupils studying geography at GCSE and A Level gain a range of subject specific transferable skills and knowledge that equip them well for both higher education and the workplace.

The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) actively supports the teaching and learning of geography in schools. Drawing upon expertise in higher education, the Society offers a range of events, resources and activities aimed at teachers and pupils. It also recognises excellence in school geography and works as an effective advocate for the subject, engaging directly with government to help secure geography’s important contribution to education.


The Society’s work includes:

Education policy

The Society worked closely with the Department for Education and the exam watchdog Ofqual on the review of the National Curriculum, GCSE and A Level.



Promoting geography

Supported by Esri UK, the Society trains undergraduate, postgraduate and graduate Geography Ambassadors to run sessions and events that introduce pupils to the benefits of studying geography at GCSE, A Level and at university. Ambassador events also explore the career paths geography opens up. Ambassadors speak to around 30,000 students each year.



Data Skills in Geography

This integrated programme of work supports the important role of data skills in school geography, helps teachers build confidence in their use, and highlights their value to further study and employment. Supported by the Nuffield Foundation, the project provides Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for teachers, student events and online resource modules.



Professional development

The Society runs regular CPD events, ranging from subject knowledge updates and GIS training, to fieldwork masterclasses. These sessions are complemented by online resources and both help teachers in keeping their subject knowledge
up-to-date. The Society is also working with the Department for Education to recruit more geography teachers through its Geography Teacher Training Scholarship Programme.



Online resources

The Society’s up-to-date and knowledge-rich online resources help bring contemporary geographical research into the classroom and include a range of articles, case studies, lesson notes and background information documents as well as ‘Ask the Expert’ interviews, podcasts, animations and short videos. These resources, alongside many of the Society’s other educational activities, are supported by the Ordnance Survey and are developed with the help of researchers working in higher education.


Regional engagement

The Society is increasing its regional activities by working with an initial group of around ten universities to develop local programmes of termly ‘Subject Update’ lectures for AS and A Level pupils, occasional subject knowledge CPD events for teachers, and further complementary activities such as local fieldwork CPD events.


Find out more

You can find out more by visiting the Society’s website. If you are interested in getting involved with the Society’s work with schools, please get in touch: www.rgs.org/schools

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) membership is open to all; the Society also offers Fellowship. You may use geography in your profession, be a geography graduate, have a thirst for geographical knowledge or a passion for travel. Geographical is the Society’s magazine and comes as part of membership. To find out more email [email protected]

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

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