A new role for me at the RGS-IBG


I've been connected with the RGS-IBG for quite a number of years in various ways.

In 2007 I became a Fellow of the RGS and Chartered Geographer (Teacher) and have been ever since.

In 2008, I was awarded their Ordnance Survey Award for excellence in Secondary Geography Teaching. This was a proud moment and came at the culmination (I thought) of my teaching career as I was joining the Geographical Association and stepping out of the classroom. I didn't realise I'd be back again within five years.

I had also spoken at the RGS as part of a student day - with Alastair Owens actually - although I only found that out much later when digging through some old papers. It's a wonderful thing to stand on the stage in the Ondaatje Theatre where so many greats have stood before. We also took students there for a range of events, and I took part in an event representing the Guardian / DfE once as well. I ended up having lunch with Nicholas Crane and have bumped into all sorts of explorers and 'celebrity' geographers at times in the lunch area.

Between 2008 and 2011 I worked closely with the RGS - particularly Steve Brace - who is now the GA Chief Executive of course, and Claire Wheeler (now Claire Brown) along with the rest of their APG team as part of the Action Plan for Geography. This meant regular meetings at either the RGS or Solly Street at a time when Michael Palin was president.

From 2011 onwards for several years I contributed resources to the RGS website, thanks to Steve Brace. This included:

- From the Field resources - working with PhD researchers to translate their work into the classroom

- 'A' level / fieldwork materials funded by a Data Skills project

- a resource on Hunstanton's famous stripy cliffs

- the education materials for Felicity Aston's Going Beyond funded trip to the Pole of Cold - these won an award from the SAGT.

If you are a fellow, you will have received your electronic 'ballot paper' for the elections for Council for June 2024 and will perhaps have noticed that I have put myself forward for the post of Vice President: Education. I had to keep this to myself for a while.

This blog post would have been a request to vote for me in an election, but as it turned out I stood unopposed, so will be confirmed in this role at the AGM of the RGS in June, the same day as the RGS's Awards are handed out.

From June I shall therefore be taking on the role of Vice President: Education at the RGS and have a place on RGS Council for a four year term of office.

Thanks to the fine people who proposed me for the position, including a Polar explorer and some very excellent geography teacher colleagues.

Thanks also must go to my predecessor as VP Education: Mel Norman, who has also been closely associated with the Geographical Association. She Chaired and was Co-Chair/Secretary of the GA's Education Group and was also editor of 'Teaching Geography' for a lengthy period. 

She taught PGCE Geographers for many years - I visited her cohorts a few times while working for the GA - and is also closely associated with the organisation of the Charney Manor Primary Geography Conference. I'm hoping she will pass on more of her wisdom, much as she did when I started my GA Presidency. Speaking of which, Mel is one of those people who has not been GA President (yet) but would be fantastic in the role. She has received awards from the GA for her work in a range of spheres.

If you're going to be at the AGM / Awards or reception in the evening it would be fantastic to catch up. 

I shall be back with more requests as I get started on the role in the summer. 

I look forward to working with all the various Council and committee members, RGS staff and the new incoming President Professor Dame Jane Francis, who received the RGS's Patron's Medal in 2022.

There is work to be done to ensure that all the ongoing support that the RGS offers for teachers meets their needs, and continues to be responsive and inclusive to the changing needs of the profession. I'm excited to offer my support in various ways.

Image: Sam Parkinson


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