Climate Change Assembly

On Friday, the day of the Climate Strike, I led a whole school assembly at King's Ely Junior with my colleague Richard Oliver, the Head of Science.

We tried to give a message of hope, alongside the scientific aspects. I gave the 'global perspective', with a mention of the Climate Stripes of Ed Hawkins, Jim Hansen's warning to Congress in 1988 (the year when I got my first full time teaching jobs) and an apology for the last 30 years of carbon which are having an impact now. I also talked about Project Drawdown.

We showed the Thunberg / Monbiot video at the start.

We ended with a hymn, and a prayer written by Richard.

It's shared above in case anyone would find it useful in some way.

Thanks to Ben King for some of the elements of the assembly that he had shared previously.

Image: Dan Everest

Anthropocene - are we living in it?

I've been hearing this phrase for quite a few years now: the anthropocene.
This Guardian piece is an excellent long read on the different conceptions of this era. Not all scientists use the same phrase, and not all agree that we are in fact in this new era.

Related image
Gaia Vince's book is an essential resource here.
This David Matless piece is also well worth a read.
It uses a phrase I like: Anthroposcenic: the landscapes of the Anthropocene.

This recent article suggests we are leaving our mark in the fossil record - and not in a good way...

Carbon City Zero

Carbon City Zero is a new Kickstarter project which is developed by the people behind 10:10 Climate Action. It's a card game which explores the idea of carbon reduction.

Here's the description.

As a newly appointed city mayor you have been tasked with creating a carbon neutral city. It sounds easy, but you'll soon discover that your carbon budgets are hard to balance. Can you hit the zero carbon target before your rivals? The race to become the first zero carbon city is on...
Carbon City Zero is a deck-building game for 2-4 players, in which players develop a sustainable city by building factories, managing people, lobbying government ministers, and raising public awareness. Each player starts with an identical Draw Deck (and a Carbon Level of 40), buying additional cards from a shared Marketplace to create a more sustainable city. Balancing the need to generate income with reducing carbon, players can follow numerous paths to victory, creating synergies between Government, Industry, and Domestic sectors, while avoiding Snags and responding to Global Events. Once a player’s carbon level reaches zero, they win.
The game comes with 100 full-colour cards illustrated by Tony Pickering, a carbon tracker, a 13-page rulebook, and a glossary of the topics introduced.
Available to buy through a Kickstarter project (and also many times more than the 100% funded)
The video tells you a little more.

Shipping January 2020 apparently - although often these projects are pushed back.

Human after all... the climate crisis pack

I've been in discussions with the guys from Human after All, who publish the absolutely essential Weapons of Reason resource which I have been publicising here ever since Issue 1 on the Arctic was published.

There are 8 issues planned, and 6 issues have now been published.

They have just released a set of graphics and posters for those people wanting to connect with this

The Google Drive link is here.

Primary Geography Quality Marks 2019

Image result for pgqm logoI am also very privileged to be part of the moderating team for the Primary Geography Quality Mark.
This has three levels: GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE, all of which are well worth aiming for if you are Primary educator.

This year's awardees are the following schools"

The PGQM is seen as a key strategy for raising the quality of geography in primary schools and has been driving school improvement in geography since 2006. This year a total of 62 primary schools have achieved the GA’s PGQM at either Gold, Silver or Bronze Level.
In 2019 the PGQM was awarded to:
Gold Level
  • Dumpton School, Wimbourne
  • Furzedown Primary School, Tooting
  • Grove Park Primary School, Chiswick
  • Knowlsey Junior School, Oldham
  • Leighton Academy, Crewe
  • Lyndhurst Infant School, Worthing
  • North London Collegiate School, Edgeware
  • Wray Common Primary School, Reigate
Silver Level
  • Britannia Bridge Primary School, Wigan
  • Chantry Middle School, Morpeth
  • Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School, Leeds
  • Danes Hill School, Oxshott
  • Daresbury Primary School, Warrington
  • Dunalley Primary School, Cheltenham
  • Kirkdale St Lawrence CofE Primary School, Liverpool
  • Mossley CofE Primary School, Congleton
  • Northern House School, Oxford
  • Parkside Primary School, Chingford
  • Pleasant Street Primary School, Liverpool
  • Rush Green Primary School, Romford
  • Sacred Heart Primary School, Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Sandbrook Community Primary School, Rochdale
  • Smithdown Primary School, Liverpool
  • Southwold Primary School, London
  • South Walney Junior School, Barrow in Furness
  • St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School, Birmingham
  • St Columba's RC Primary School, Bolton
  • St Mary’s CofE Primary School, Walthamstow
  • Ty Gywn Special School, Cardiff
  • Wellfield Junior School, Sale
  • Wellington Primary School, Hounslow
  • Westwood First School, Leek
  • Winsford High Street Primary School & Nursery, Winsford
Bronze Level
  • Abbeymead Primary School, Abbeymead
  • Barrow Hall Primary School, Warrington
  • Christ Church Charnock Richard CofE Primary School, Chorley
  • Christ Church Primary School, Bilston
  • Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School, Gateshead
  • Dr Thomlinson Middle School, Morpeth
  • Fleckney Church of England Primary School, Fleckney
  • Hafod Y Wern Community Primary School, Wrexham
  • Haydock English Martyrs Primary School, St Helens
  • Holy Family Catholic Primary School, Wigan
  • Holy Trinity CofE Primary School, London
  • Hurst Drive Primary School, Waltham Cross
  • Lyme Community Primary School, Newton Le Willows
  • Mab's Cross Primary School, Wigan
  • Moss Park Junior School, Stretford
  • Newton Farm NI & Junior School, South Harrow
  • Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Primary School, Liverpool
  • Prenton Primary School, Wirral
  • Prince Edward Primary School, Sheffield
  • St Barnabas CofE School, Wellingborough
  • St Richards RC Primary School, Manchester
  • St Thomas of Canterbury CofE Junior School, Brentwood
  • The Elms Junior School, Long Eaton
  • Thropton First School, Morpeth
  • Vicarage Primary School, East Ham
  • White Cliffs Primary College for the Arts, Dover
  • White Laith Primary School, Leeds

The loss of the 3rd Pole

Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot

Used in our Climate Change assembly on Friday to coincide with the Climate Strike.

“There is a magic machine that sucks carbon out of the air, costs very little, and builds itself. It’s called.... a tree.”

GA support for Curriculum Planning

'... critical thinking about the geography curriculum is important: the curriculum is far more than lists of content, tables of teaching strategies and folders of schemes of work'
A new section on the GA website has appeared which explores curriculum planning.
It was trailed by Alan Kinder.
This is a vital element of all teaching.

Fast Fashion and Sustainability

The RGS-IBG are assessing the demand for a possible resource on fast fashion and sustainability.

Fill in the form here if you have a moment to help with the shaping of this resource.

Secondary Geography Quality Marks 2019

Every year, I am delighted to be part of the moderation team for the Geographical Association's Secondary Geography Quality Mark
This year, there were some excellent applications and the schools that received the award this year have been added to the GA website.

In September 2019, the SGQM with Centre of Excellence awardees are:
  • Blackpool Aspire Academy, Blackpool
  • Cardinal Allen Catholic High School, Fleetwood
  • Dame Allan's Schools, Fenham
  • Dover Grammar School for Girls, Dover
  • English Martyrs Catholic School, Leicester
  • Fettes College, Edinburgh
  • Hitchin Girls' School, Hitchin
  • Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy, Runcorn
  • St Gerards School Trust, Bangor
  • The King Alfred School Academy, Highbridge
  • The Royal Hospital School, Ipswich
  • Woodland Middle School Academy, Flitwick
The 2019 SGQM awardees are:
  • Bay House School, Gosport
  • Caterham School, Caterham
  • Chantry Middle School, Morpeth
  • Downlands Community School, Hassocks
  • Greenbank High School, Southport
  • Hinchingbrooke School, Huntingdon
  • Hodgson Academy, Poulton Le Fylde
  • Licensed Victuallers School (LVS), Ascot
  • North London Collegiate School, Edgeware
  • Rainham Mark Grammar School, Rainham
  • Redmaids High School, Westbury-on-Trym
  • Roedean School, Brighton
  • St Edmund's School, Hindhead
  • St Mary's Catholic High School, Tyldesley
  • St Thomas the Apostle College, Nunhead
  • The Kings School – Pontefract, Pontefract
  • Westminster Academy, London
  • Witton Park Academy, Blackburn
  • Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, Llandeilo
Awardees and details can be viewed here on the GA website.

I was delighted to be able to pop over to Hinchingbrooke School earlier today to see the team.

Half Earth Map

Half Earth Map...

Worth exploring...

Climate Change walks in London - updated post

Thanks to Ben Bishop for the tipoff to these climate change walk, which explore the role of the city of London in the current climate crisis.
They are led by Alice Bell, who is currently writing a book on this theme.
Follow her on Twitter for some recent discussions with Geography teachers.
 If you would like to take part, please fill in the Doodle poll with your preferred date for the walk.

The Joy of Manchester

It's always good to come across new avenues for work, and some new geographies. 
This was put in draft back in June, and have eventually got round to posting it.

This led me to a site which I've come across before but had forgotten about: Musical Urbanism
Also to finish, a bit more on Hulme Crescents

Hulme was like living on the Battlestar Galactica - like living on a huge spaceship with two great big arms that faced the Spinners pub’
Finlay Quaye

Wildfire Dashboard

A useful resource from Elleni.

Humber 2100 StoryMap

Thanks for the tipoff from Bob Lang to this ESRI StoryMap

Useful for all sorts of rivers / flooding / landscape management related topics...

ArcGIS for 'A' level and NEAs

A useful guide created by Katie Hall.

Encounter Edu - Ocean Plastics

Ocean Plastics are probably on many schools' KS3 curriculum plans in Geography, and possibly other subjects too.

Encounter Edu have now created and shared a new unit of lessons and resources, written by Stephen Schwab, former colleague on the GA's SPC.

You will need to make a free account in order to download them.

I had the chance to read through these before they went live, and helped with the final form that they took on the Encounter Edu website.

While you are on the website, take a look at some of the other excellent resources there.

This new interactive from Reuters includes some frightening images showing the scale of our plastic bottle purchases. Below is just one day's worth of bottles bought worldwide... Also a reminder that drinking water companies don't make water.... they make plastic...

About geography textbooks

David Waugh is the best-selling author of Geography textbooks in recent times, and it's possible he is the best selling geography textbook author of all time. The first Geography book to sell a million copies was apparently L Dudley Stamp's book 'The World'.

More to come on that as part of my GA Presidents Blog.
Here's a picture of him from an old copy of GA News.

Open up a cupboard or scan the shelves of geography classrooms around the country and you are likely to see some David Waugh books.

Here's a piece by David on the notion of writing textbooks which would be worth taking a look at if you are planning to do that.


Source of this chapter, which can be viewed online:

Oh, and by the way, it's pronounced 'woff'.

Image credit: Geographical Association

Meanwhile spaces...

Reading a while back about the growth of "meanwhile spaces".

These are on the High Street, and occupy empty shops for a short period of time.

They are offered to creative people.

They are also known as "pop-up shops" if they are for retail use.


“meanwhile space” – the use of temporary contracts that allow community groups, small businesses or individuals to move into these vacant spaces and set up shop, on the understanding that they will leave within an allotted time.

Image: Alan Parkinson, shared under CC license

Deserted Norfolk and bustling Chelsea by the Sea

I've blogged before about the Norfolk coast and the area many times over the years.

Deserted villages such as Godwick are found a few miles from where I live - I've blogged about them here as well.
Burnham Market is known as Chelsea-by-the-Sea, with sky high property prices and

A good provocative piece by local broadcaster and author Keith Skipper.

See the other recent blog post on the impact of tourism in Wells next the Sea, which we visit quite regularly.

The Fakenham and Wells Times for the 11th of July 2019 (price £1 from local newsagents) had the headline "Is tourism bad news for Wells?"

A debate was ignited following a survey carried out in Wells, where more than three quarters of those who responded said there should be restrictions on tourists because of concerns over things such as the impact on parking, the environment and traffic flow into the town.
It was carried out by the town's neighbourhood plan steering group.
This is concerned about the number of second homes, with the accompanying inevitable issue of truly "affordable" housing for local families and those who want to leave the family home and get their first property - whether rental or otherwise.
Many on the other side of the argument point out that tourism brings in £505 million to North Norfolk alone, and employs many people either full time or seasonally. My daughter has previously worked at the Beach Cafe down near the Lifeboat station at Wells.
The newspaper carried out its own online poll, which came out with 53% thinking that tourism in Wells should be restricted through future planning.

Also check out this piece in the North Norfolk News...

The High St in Wells is changing with the recent announcement of the closure of Nobby's.
People are buying less from stores it seems, and the impact of the Co-op has also been mentioned.

Image: Alan Parkinson, shared under CC license

HMS Terror

Archaeologists have been exploring the wreck of HMS Terror. 

This was one of the ships which were part of Franklin's expedition to find the North West Passage.
Film is emerging showing the wreckage and the first divers exploring the sunken ship.

Over the summer,  I visited Topsham in Devon, where the Terror was built, and picked up a booklet on its construction and history from the museum in the town. The ship took shape a few hundred yards along the Exe from where we were staying.

Earlier this week, my friend Val Vannet had the great fortune to be able to join a Hurtigruten Cruise ship which was heading into the Arctic and posted a picture of the three graves that were found on Beechey Island of members of Franklin's expedition.

Image: Val Vannet

National GetOutside Day

National GetOutside Day will take place on the 29th of September.

There are lots of events happening, and you can check them out on the website.

Also sign up for your local area to join a particular team. I'll be heading for the coast.


Overview is an Instagram account, which shares images of the earth from above.

Creative INSET

Thanks to David Rogers for sending details of this nice looking INSET, which is free of charge.

Expanding Life and Earth Sciences through Art

About the Linnean Society
The Linnean Society of London is the world’s oldest active biological society, founded in 1788 by Sir James Edward Smith (1759–1828), who was its first President. The Society takes its name from the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) whose botanical, zoological and library collections have been in its keeping since 1829. These unique collections are of continuing fundamental importance as a primary reference for taxonomy. They are enhanced by the Society's own rich library which provides key resources for research.
The Society seeks to interact with all those interested in the natural world by fusing new research with the rich history of its unique scientific and heritage holdings. Our aim is to encourage and communicate scientific advances by reaching out to future biologists through schools and public engagement programmes, providing extensive educational and research resources digitally.

About The Geological Society
The Geological Society aims to improve knowledge and understanding of the Earth, to promote Earth science education and awareness, and to promote professional excellence and ethical standards in the work of Earth scientists, for the public good.
Founded in 1807, the Society is the oldest geological society in the world. The Society is a world-leading communicator of Earth science – through scholarly publishing, library and information services, cutting-edge scientific conferences, education activities and outreach to the general public.

About the INSET
The learning teams at the Linnean Society and the Geological Society will partner to co-deliver an exciting cross-curricular session combining science and art for this one day INSET. Teachers will have a chance to learn innovative artistic approaches to science and art curricula while discovering the collections of two of London’s oldest scientific societies in a historic London location.
Workshops will provide teachers with skills to integrate art, life and earth sciences effectively within everyday teaching as a tool to engage pupils and to strengthen learning. Teachers will also have an opportunity to work in small groups to share approaches and challenges to curriculum integration and brainstorm methods for progressing interdisciplinary learning.

Learning outcomes for participants
  • Learn innovative ways to implement STEM learning strategies using visual art materials and techniques
  • Apply elements of the life science curriculum to create meaningful cross-curricular activities for students of varying abilities
  • Teachers will be able to use a variety of visual art techniques to convey the geological history of the United Kingdom.
  • Teachers will understand how to observa and describe geological properties of rocks and fossils

Suitable for
This event is suitable for teachers and teaching assistants working in London schools, from all disciplines, Key Stages and educational settings, with an interest in creative learning. We regret that this session is not open to colleagues from cultural organisations or freelancers working with schools.
This particular INSET is most suited to KS2 and KS3 however differentiation ideas will be provided for other key stages.

GA Presidents Group

The GA's Governing Body has changed as of 1st of September with a few new roles.
Keep an eye out on the website for any opportunity to get involved in this group, or others.
The Association has always relied on volunteers and activists for a number of roles, who do a fantastic job.

Discover the World's Responsible Travel Guide

Discover the World and the Geographical Association have a strategic partnership.

This has one particular aim.

To make the benefits of responsible, international travel more accessible to geography students, both inside and outside the classroom.

Discover the World has created a booklet for students (put it on a VLE rather than printing it out for everyone to save the energy, paper and toner)

In recent days, Discover the World Education has also announced  partnerships with the creators of two excellent resource sites which will be familiar to readers of this blog:

Matt Podbury's Geography Pods, and Richard Allaway's Geography all the Way.

9000 up!

Amazingly, this is the 9000th post on this blog
I can't think of many that have been going for as long, or are as productive as this one in terms of sharing ideas.
The SEARCH BOX top left of the browser window will allow you to access posts on the blog.
Also try the LABELS further down the right hand sidebar to see what I have been blogging about and click a Label to see all the relevant posts.

If you want to avoid missing any new posts, enter your e-mail into the SUBSCRIBE area part way down the right hand toolbar.

Thanks for coming...

IAPS course

Colleagues in the Independent Sector may be interested in the following course. Click the link to find out more.


The Army makes use of geographers.
GIS is one of the areas that they use.
This is an Army regiment that uses a lot of Geographical Skills.

Hurricane Dorian

To be hit by a hurricane is bad enough, but usually the storm moves away to the west and clears within a few hours.
This was Hurricane Dorian over the Bahamas yesterday, the 2nd of September.
Imagine the devastation.

And meanwhile...

Thought for the Day

High Street

A new ONS and OS map / data release has emerged recently.

It features data relating to High Streets.
We explore the High Street early in Year 7 to get the students outside as soon as possible and asking geographical questions, so time to refresh that piece of work.

Also check out the Local Data Company's resources on the High Street.
Healthy High Streets report.
London's High Streets:

Already preparing for this year's trips...

GeographyPods - new logo

A new logo has appeared on the GeographyPods website of Matt Podbury.

For those who haven't explored this site, it offers a range of materials for KS3, iGCSE, MYP, IB and other geographers. Creative units, with excellent supporting resources and images. I shamelessly use sections of this website for my own teaching, and have done for some time.

There's a particularly good unit on a book called 'The Ice Man', for example, along with units on Factfulness, Everest and Connectography.

Matt teaches in the same school as Russel Tarr, making a fearsome Humanities combo, and also holds the Secondary Geography Quality Mark and Centre of Excellence status.

Fenland warming

A story on the future warming of the Fens, and the possible impact on them of climate change.

Teachers on Twitter

Geography Teachers on Twitter
Are you on the list?

9/1 - Disaster Prevention Day

The 1st of September is Disaster Prevention Day in Japan.

It commemorates the Great Kanto earthquake that took place on that date in 1923

I've blogged previously about my Tokyo Bosai book, which was handed out to all households in the city. One of them decided to sell theirs on eBay.

Check out the Bosai Diversity website for a video and a set of cards of items which would be of particular value to particular people. 

Click on the cards and tags and assemble your own kit, and recognise the different needs should a disaster arise.

You can also share the kit you create with others...

Looking to see if I can find the cards as a PDF download rather than digital asset...

GI Pedagogy - ERASMUS involvement

Pleased to say that after a break of a year, as I mentioned in the previous post on the blog, I am back in the ERASMUS game with my colleagues from King's Ely.
We have been fortunate to have funding for not one, but two projects. The project starts today.

We are part of a group of partners who have gained funding from the British Council for a project which is called GI Pedagogy.
Image result for gi learner logo
This is a follow up to a previous project called GI Learner,
which I was involved with as one of the partners, and co-ordinated the project on behalf of the school. This ran from 2016-18, and the excellent resources and training materials that we created can all be accessed here.

This one is coordinated by St. Mary's University, Twickenham - co-ordinated by Sophie Wilson.

It still includes some familiar names to this blog, along with some new partners.

- EuroGeo, Belgium (Karl Donert)
- Ghent University, Belgium (Luc Zwartjes)
- Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia (Madrid, Spain)
- Liceul Teoretic "Dimitrie Cantemir" - Iasi, Romania (Diana Prodan)

The project will have its own website and social media feeds which I shall share here in good time. I will also share some headline activity here as well over the next 3 years. Looking forward to getting started on it....

Developing Digital Data Literacy (D3) - ERASMUS involvement

Pleased to say that after a break of a year, I am back in the ERASMUS game, along with my colleagues from King's Ely.
The project starts today.
We are part of a group of partners who have gained funding from the Belgian Agency for a project which is called Developing Digital Data Literacy (D3)

This is a follow up to a previous project called YouthMetre. The YouthMetre project was all about the

Coordinated as so often by Luc Zwartjes from Gent, and with the support of:
- EuroGeo (Karl Donert)
- Sint-Lodewijkscollege, Gent (Luc Zwartjes)
- CESIE (Italy)
- SYMPLEXIS (Greece)
- European Youth Press Network of Young Media Makers (Germany)
- Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain)

The project will have its own website and social media feeds which I shall share here in good time.
I will also share some headline activity here as well over the next 2 years, particularly when travelling to the Partners in Berlin, Palermo, Bruges, Zaragoga and Greece.
The first meeting will be very soon in fact.

This is likely to be the last round of UK involvement in ERASMUS, and I am very pleased to have been able to be involved in this project, which will provide our students with a global audience for their work for the next couple of years.

GA JVP Day 1

Today, the 1st of September 2019, I start my GA Presidential journey, by starting my post as Junior Vice President of the Geographical Association, which will be followed by posts as Vice President, President (2021-22) and Past President.

I am following Susan Pike, who has been JVP this year, and will be particularly supported by Stephen Scoffham, who was President for 2018-19 and finishes his Presidential year today.

Plenty to come on this blog of course. I will be using #gajvp1920 when I refer to this role in various social media feeds, and here on this blog too.

Best wishes to Gill Miller who starts her Presidential year today.

One of my legacy projects is the GA Presidents Blog.

Climate Change Refugees - in the UK

A report in the Guardian a few months ago described the likely need to evacuate a small Welsh village called Fairbourne.
This is going to be evacuated as the cost of protecting it is far greater than the value of all the properties in the village.

In 26 years – or sooner, if forecasts worsen or a storm breaches the sea defences – a taskforce led by Gwynedd council will begin to move the 850 residents of Fairbourne out of their homes. The whole village – houses, shops, roads, sewers, gas pipes and electricity pylons – will then be dismantled, turning the site back into a tidal salt marsh.

GeoCapabilities - read all about it

Richard Bustin's book on GeoCapabilities has now been published by Palgrave MacMillan

It was one of the most fulfilling of the projects I've been involved with, and one with the greatest legacy value.
logoIt involved some excellent trips and meetings to Helsinki, Brussels and other locations, and working with some fine folks including David Lambert, Sirpa Tani, Michael Solem of the AAG and Richard Bustin.
The full project website offers a full course for teachers, with resources and video materials.
Richard used the GeoCapabilities project as the basis for his PhD.

Another reminder as well of the vital importance of the ERASMUS+ projects which Brexit threatens to remove.

Crowther Labs on Climate Change

Crowther Labs are planning to take action on climate change through tree-planting. They have worked out, as I have blogged before, the number of trees required to draw down climate naturally (although scientists have told us for years that trees will become less efficient at drawing down carbon in a warming world, so there is another feedback loop for you....)

I saw Tom Crowther speak about this at the ESRI UK User Conference, and he was excellent.
Here he is doing another speech, on the same theme at a different event.

This piece explores the links between SOIL and climate change.
Worth checking out their work...

Climate Change and Food

An excellent new interactive from Carbon Brief on how climate change will threaten some of the world's favourite foods.

New RSGS website

The Royal Scottish Geographical Society has launched their new website.

It's got some new content.
There are some lesson plans.
Mike Robinson shares a valuable thought on the importance of hope.
You can also read about the various medallists. 
Recently, Greta Thunberg was presented with the Geddes Medal for example.

Some rather fine people have been awarded this particular medal.... although the most recent winner tends to talk about how people like me destroy young people's creativity...