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Welcome from the Staffordshire teachers of Geography


Whether you are interested in primary, middle or secondary education, we hope you will find something useful and enriching. You will not regret it! Geography teachers are welcome to join in, wherever you come from in the world (and indeed you do!)  This site was started by Chris Durbin and Kate Russell, former Geography Advisers at Staffordshire County Council, with invaluable support from Andy Holt and Mark Gee.

Due to to personnel and technical issues this website will not be updated further, but it will remain live and you will still be able to access it. The SLN Teachers' forum is still very active and a great place for ideas and exchange of views.

Thank you to each and every one of you who has had anything to do with the success of this website - the technical side, the contributions of resources and ideas, the visitors who have used the site and to the GA for recognising the site in their awards. It always was intended to be a collaboration of geographers and a celebration of geographical education. I think that together we have succeeded! Thank you all and with very best wishes for the future!

Further information about education support from Staffordshire should be addressed to qls@staffordshire.gov.uk or viewed on the QLS website.

Quick links

Quick links to areas on this site or other QLS services
QLS booking service GeoRevision  
North Staffs GA Branch Thinking Through Geography  
Quality Marks    
External sites    
Geography Teaching Today (Provides links to where the GTT materials have been moved to on GA and RGS sites) uLearn (InfoMapper)  

London 2012

One of the best sources of Olympics resources for geographers is the GA's Planet Sport

The link on the left takes you to a PowerPoint presentation of some of the other sources of information, ideas and activities for teaching about the Olympics.

Earthquake and tsunami, Japan 11th March 2011

Incredibly comprehensive resources for teaching about the earthquake, tsunami and its aftermath are on the GA website

Thanks to Andy McFadden, Alsager School, Cheshire, for this lesson on the recent tragic disaster in Japan.

Lesson Plan
Japan Earthquake (PowerPoint) with pictures, tasks, videos & instructions
Japan worksheet (PowerPoint)
Newspaper article

Quiz, quiz, trade

Rebecca Topliss, Milton Cross School, Portsmouth,  has sent in a presentation about the earthquake, tsunami and its effects and some interesting lesson activities, based on work by Joanna Blackmore. PowerPoint lesson

Fiona Osmaston, Marine Academy Plymouth, has this lesson which is delivered in an integrated Humanities faculty.
Lesson plan and resources
Guardian article
Map of Japan

Geography: learning to make a world of difference

Ofsted published their report on school geography in February 2011; this was based on visits to 91 primary and 90 secondary schools  (including one special school) from 2007 - 2010. A summary report is here. There is a very useful commentary and response to the report on the GA website.

Topical activities

Why was Harry Gration stuck in Sheffield on Tuesday 30th November? This is based on a real event and experience of a local presenter. Download mystery cards and task here.

Thanks to Claire Housecroft, The Armthorpe School, Doncaster.

Student protesters and Space a geographical investigation
Many secondary school students will aware of the recent protests about university tuition fees and the abolition of the Educational Maintenance Allowance, and many of them will be directly affected by the impact of the Government decisions that prompted these protests. Geography’s stress on place & space, personal geographies and topical issues means that an investigation of issues surrounding these protests is very appropriate for teaching, and very relevant to the interests of many students. A one-off lesson at the start of next term, I hope that you might find the attached materials useful for classroom use. For further information, or feedback, please email Chris Kelly at ckelly15@btinternet.com

Earthquake in Haiti

As with previous disasters our thoughts are with all those affected by the recent earthquake in Haiti and with those who are providing practical aid. As geographers we deal sensitively with events like this. Members of the geography community have pulled together to find information and to create teaching resources. There are several links on the SLN forum which may help you find some appropriate materials to use in class. General discussion and links
Why was the Haitian Earthquake so deadly
Post Haiti earthquake FAQs

Flooding in Cockermouth

Rachel Wright, Ballard School, has put together a PowerPoint presentation about the flooding in Cockermoth for her GCSE class and would like to share it with others who may find it useful. Thank you Rachel! Our thoughts are with all those affected by the flooding in Cumbria.

A Different ViewA Different View is a manifesto from the Geographical Association. It makes a compelling case for geography's place in the curriculum. But the world changes, and so does the curriculum. A Different View, and the supporting materials on this website, are designed to be used in any context where geography is taught, explained, encouraged or promoted.


Secondary Geography Quality Mark logoSecondary Geography Quality Mark (SGQM)

Congratulations to the schools across the UK who have been awarded SGQM by the GA in recognition of their commitment to "ensuring lively and effective learning in geography".
We are particularly pleased that the following schools in Staffordshire have the awards.

  • Belgrave High School in Tamworth
  • Codsall Middle School
  • Endon High School
  • St John Fisher Catholic High School in Newcastle under Lyme
  • The Fountains High School, in Burton
  • Walton Priory Middle School in Stone (2)

Sandon High School, St Thomas More and St Josephs Catholic School in Stoke-on-Trent are also SGQM holders.

Michael Chiles and Belgrave students celebrate Quality Mark status!

More information about the Secondary Geography Quality Mark and how you can take part 

Primary Geography Quality Mark

Three more Staffordshire schools have been awarded Primary Quality Mark - well done to all of them!  

  • St Michael's CE (VC) First School, Stone
  • St Thomas CE (VA) Primary School, Kidsgrove
  • St Nicholas First School, Codsall

The full lists of all recipients of these awards and details of how you can apply is on the GA website.

Two Rivers collected their award at the GA conference in Manchester. Staff and pupils enjoyed their visit to The University of Manchester by train. Two Rivers is one of only two special schools to be recognised in this way. Well done to all staff and pupils.

Staffordshire schools with Primary Geography Quality Marks:

Gold award
All Saint's First School,
Alrewas, near Burton on Trent
Perton First School
, Near Wolverhampton (2)
Two Rivers,
William Shrewsbury Primary School,
near Burton on Trent

Silver award
Walton Priory Middle School
, Stone

Bronze award
Amington Heath Primary School, Tamworth
Christ Church Primary School
, Lichfield
Meir Heath Primary School, near Stoke-on-Trent
St. Michael's First School, Stone
St. Nicholas First School
, Codsall
St Thomas CE (VA) Primary School, Kidsgrove
Thomas Russell Junior School, Barton under Needwood
William Hutson Junior School, Burton-on-Trent

Read more about the Primary Geography Quality Mark on the GA website.

Snowy resources

Thanks to Chris Kelly, Charles Edward Brooke School, Lambeth who has just produced resources for his local Geography teachers network in Lambeth and Southwark, and thought they might be of some use to colleagues elsewhere.

The snow of February 2009 KS3

The snow of February 2009 KS4

Bob Jones (former head of geography at Alleynes High School) has recently visited the Badia region of Jordan as part of a British Council funded visit for geography teachers from the UK. Bob's picture was featured in the Stone Gazette (click on image for full article). Please visit the website of the Badia Project for more photos from the tour and study units. You can also see more photos Bob took on a previous visit to Jordan on Images of Jordan

Natural disasters May 2008

Jon Bryson, Mombasa Academy, Kenya sends this PowerPoint presentation highlighting how Geography is always in the news; it uses the Chile Volcanis eruption, Myanmar Cyclone and the China earthquake. Download it here.

Dan Rudge from Bracknell, has trawlled through the internet to create zip files of resources on Cyclone Nargis and China earthquake. Many thanks to the GA and Rob Chambers for most of the links. The files includes images, PowerPoints, video clips and newspaper clips all date ordered so hopefully you can make sense of them! Hope it helps some of you to save time: Download from 4Shared

More China earthquake and Myanmar Cyclone resources also on 4shared here from Mark Ollis, Head of of Geography at St Bees School, West Cumbria.

Paul Williams, head of geography at a school in Bangkok, has sent this PowerPoint of the Myanmar Cyclone. Paul also suggests a great idea for a PowerPoint. On each slide, complete the statements "I don’t/didn't know that.....but I know that...." with an appropriate image. He provides an example on the recent 'quake in China: www.slideshare.net/kingler/sichuan-earthquake-what-i-dont-know-and-what-i-do-know/  This approach has the potential to develop good thinking skills.

Inevitably many of these resources contain disturbing images and should be used sensitively with pupils.

Beijing Olympics 2008

Nerys Hughes, Afon Taf High School, Merthyr Tydfil, has sent resources for two lessons about the Olympics.

living climate graph activity for Beijing. Climate graph for Beijing, Climate of Beijing (PPT) Living graph statements

Is it good to hold the Olympics? Lesson activity ( PPT),  Statement cards

Legacy of the Olympics
Article from The Telegraph 3rd January 2009

Key Stage 3

New National Curriculum programme of study for KS3 geography is here. This is to be implemented in stages, starting with Y7 in September 2008. More information on the new National Curriculum for KS3 is here. The new National Curriculum website has all the information you need! Pam Price, secondary consultant, Coventry City Council, has created this really useful audit of KS3 programmes of study and some instructions about how the audit may be used. James White, Codsall Middle School, offers this Teaching Approaches Matrix, to help you audit different teaching and learning approaches to each unit. QCA has launched a new website to help you with planning for the new KS3 www.newsecondarycurriculum.org/ which pulls together support and advice from a range of sources.

Geography Matters is a wonderful and highly acclaimed video resource complied by David Rayner, (regular to the SLN forum and currently National Subject Lead for Geography, New Secondary Curriculum Project). Geography Matters PowerPoint and Geography Matters music file (Earthsong): If you use the PowerPoint version, you will also need to download the music file and place this in the same folder as the PowerPoint when you run it. (This is not necessary with the video file.) The PowerPoint is a higher quality version than the converted video file. Geography Matters video in wmv file format There is also a YouTube version All these files are also being hosted on Andrew Stacey's fabulous Stacey-Peak-media website too.

UK Floods June 2007

Catcliffe in South Yorkshire is mostly under waterPam Price, Advisory Teacher for Secondary Geography, Coventry has sent in this PowerPoint presentation, in which she asks pupils to consider questions relating to a wide variety of images.

Lots of great links on the GA website too and two threads on the SLN forum (thread 1 and thread 2)

Kent Earthquake

Quick off the mark, Alan Parkinson has produced this excellent PowerPoint presentation of the Kent Earthquake. There is much more of Alan's work on his excellent GeographyPages website.



Give Geography its Place

In schools across the UK and beyond, teachers who are passionate about the role of Geography use the subject to engage young people in debates about issues that are constantly headlining the media - drought, floods, hazards, globalisation, famine, sustainable energy, transport, employment, crime, urban deprivation, global warming. Sadly, the media, in spite of pumping these topics into our homes 24/7 seem to have forgotten that much of what they ask people to think about is actually Geography. We are, therefore, asking - where is the label? Art, history, literature, technology all get their recognition in the media but Geography has yet to be recognised in this important way. Please support the campaign - thanks to Daniel Raven-Ellison, Dave Rayner and many SLN forum members for instigating it.

Action Plan for Geography

Action Plan flags

The Action Plan for Geography is a two-year programme of activity funded by the DfES, designed to support and develop the teaching and learning of geography in schools. This is surely very good news! It is jointly and equally led by the GA and the RGS-IBG. Further details are provided in the Full Proposals document leaflet which can be found on the GA website.

Geography Teaching Today is the official website of the Action Plan for Geography. The site will disseminate the Action Plan projects and their outcomes, including free online CPD, resources, professional recognition, advice and guidance. The main strands are:

Geography Ambassadors
KS1-3 courses (online and face to face)
Curriculum making
KS3 resources
Pilot GCSE
Professional recognition (CGeog (Teacher) and Quality Marks)

Geography Action Plan news for SLNers from Di Swift, Curriculum Leadership Projects Manager
Geography Action Plan events booklet with details of the professional development opportunities on offer

Hemel Hempstead explosion

Quick off the mark, Caroline Gosling, NQT teacher at Finham Park School, Coventry, has created this mystery activity looking at one environmental impact of the oil explosion – polluted firewater entering the groundwater system and polluting local drinking water supplies.  The PowerPoint sets up the mystery and the word document gives the cards for the card sorting exercise (and my answers).  It should work for either year 8 or year 9 (the cards can be made more challenging for older students.)

Why might Mrs Brown have to buy bottled water PowerPoint, and card sort

Ofsted changes from September 2005

As you know there will be big changes to Ofsted inspections from September. School inspections will be shorter, with much less notice, and school's self evaluation will be central to the whole process. Subject and survey inspections will focus on individual subjects and curriculum areas from Foundation Stage to post 16, but they will be far fewer (a secondary school might have an inspection in one subject every three years, primaries less often). The new process will have implications on your work; these will become more apparent as the process evolves. More information is on the Ofsted website for schools, including the SEF form. Ofsted have produced two very useful information leaflets, aimed at parents, which provide a very clear overview of the two types of inspection. Please download the School inspections information leaflet here and the Subject and survey inspection leaflet here. 

Staffordshire Subject Research Programme 2004-05 (Secondary and Middle) Case Studies

How did they do it? Could I build upon other successful practice? Would it work for me? School Improvement Division Officers undertook a series of visits to schools during the year in order to highlight, identify and illustrate aspects of good practice in subject teaching and learning. From the visits, a selection of brief "case-studies" designed to interest and inform users and trigger further thought, research and action. Geography Case Studies from Alleynes (ICT and web enquiries), Blessed William Howard (Leadership and planning), de Ferrers (Thinking Skills) and Endon (AfL, ICT and planning) can be found here

Asian Tsunami

It is difficult to wish people happy new year in the current situation as all our thoughts go out to the Tsunami victims and their families and the survivors who are valiantly rebuilding their lives and the aid workers who are doing their best to help. 

SLN geographers have been doing what they do best over the past few days - responding to the situation by creating resources to help pupils understand and make sense of the events of 26 December and since.

Global Eye Spring 05 www.globaleye.org.uk/secondary_spring05/eyeon/aftertsunami.html) which has a mystery activity to explore the idea that a natural disaster is never completely natural ... reflecting the thinking of David Leat and Diane Swift.

MapAction is a UK charity which specialises in mapping disaster areas and supplying geographical information to relief operations. They use GIS so it is a good example of GIS in action too. MapAction deployed 16 volunteers in Sri Lanka and worked alongside the UN Disaster Assessment and Co-ordination desk. They helped the Sri Lankan government to gather information coming in from affected areas and provide real time mapping of the areas and its population.

Thrishana Pothupitiya is a 17 year old student from Sri Lanka, studying at Bishop's College Colombo. She has written an eyewitness essay titled: 'The Power of Humanity' on the Tsunami which devastated her country. The essay was also published in the Daily News in Colombo, Sri Lanka in January. Please see her website: http://thrishanapothupitiya.tripod.com

Edwin Chew, Sembawang Secondary School, Singapore, returned from a visit to Phuket in March and shares these recent photos with us. Click here for Edwin's website. They show how life is slowly getting back to "normal".

Rebuilding 3.jpg (727704 bytes)

Mac Donalds 2.jpg (728180 bytes)

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Beach.jpg (587664 bytes)

Beach and sun shades.jpg (720396 bytes)

Beach at sunset.jpg (716243 bytes)

MacDonalds.jpg (701083 bytes)

Irish pub.jpg (726084 bytes)

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Diane Swift on behalf of the GA's Valuing Places project has created a  sequence of learning enquiry related to the recent events in the Indian Ocean. She hopes that the following ideas and resources prove to be helpful and would be delighted to receive feedback and ideas for development (contact Di by e-mail). The main file is Talking about the Asian Tsunami. which Di suggests that you download and read that first, the you can choose which of the following resources you wish to use.
1Location   2 Magnitude and impact 
3 Indonesia earthquake education scheme 
4 What are Tsunamis and how do we cope?
   5 Map from memory
6 5 Ws pupil resource
   7 The most devastating earthquakes since 1900
8  Outline map of Indonesia   9 Diagram of Tsunami 
10 How the shape of ocean floors can affect tsunami  
11 Idle Tears article   12 Indonesia asks for early warning system article
13 UN appeal article  14 Natural disasters and politics article  
15 Oral presentation matrix
  16 What's this got to do with me? frame  
17 Tourists face moral dilemmas  18 Thailand map  19 The Effort continues  20  Global why why why chain   21 Tourists face moral dilemma frame
22  Futures framework  23  World helps but will it forget?

Chris Kelly from Charles Edward Brooke School, Lambeth has written the attached materials for use with Geography students, on the issue of International Aid and the Tsunami. I hope that colleagues in other schools may find it useful. "As with first drafts, I am sure there are things that may need to be amended! I am always interested in feedback, particularly suggestions for improvements, or ideas for additional resources on this topic." ckelly@globe360.fsnet.co.uk 
International Aid and the Tsunami quiz (for Y9 upwards); Questions and answers about the Tsunami  and a decision making exercise "What to do" (amended version) for all KS3. 

Dan Denker and Andrew Boardman have sent resources about hazards (including Tsunami) for use with EdExcel students, which are on the Post 16 section of this site. 

Val Vannet's very moving PowerPoint presentation Indonesian Earthquake and Tsunami is a large 2.3 Mb file and is best accompanied by Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (1Mb)

Laura Smith has a Word files picture worksheet which could be adapted for other sources and a Seismograph.

Liz Crisp's PowerPoint presentation about the December Tsunami is available too.

Jason Day offers this Indian Ocean map worksheet, a cross section of the plates to label and hazard effects cards

Most of the Aid Agencies have good resources and information on their sites; Save the Children included a poster with GA News. TIDEC~ have produced Responding to the Tsunami which includes links to other resources. 

Beyond the Wave www.oxfam.org.uk/coolplanet/beyondwave/index.htm is a free online resource with stories of people affected by the tsunami disaster and what their lives are like now. It leads into wider issues about global poverty and how pupils can take action to help make the world a better place. It is particularly relevant given the current media attention to Make Poverty History and the Live 8 concerts. The activities explore serious global issues in a positive way, and cover foundation subject areas of the curriculum. With colourful photostories from around the world and five days' worth of activity ideas, Beyond the Wave is a creative, informative and fun resource for the summer term.

The SLN online forum has been buzzing since 9.11am on Boxing Day, with teachers posting their initial thoughts and concerns in response to the disaster and then finding resources (websites, TV programmes and newspapers) which help to explain and understand it all. 

Make Poverty History

Make Poverty History is the campaign of BOND (British Overseas NGOs for Development) a network of UK development agencies and community groups; a group of partners, including Oxfam, Action Aid, and Cafod. Their current "White Armband" campaign Make Poverty History (was launched at Christmas, did you see the Vicar of Dibley?) Some powerful videos on the site and how you can get involved. 

Laura Smith has sent the following resources for you to use

Child Poverty worksheet     Poverty in the UK PowerPoint

Poverty Around the World PowerPoint

Val Vannet has sent this Make Poverty History template so you can make banners for your noticeboards (as described in the forum below). 

Miles Aarons from Dubai sent these resources really relating to Comic Relief, but they are very appropriate here too. The PowerPoint presentation is a great example of successful modelling and assessment for learning too! This Aegis worksheet will only open if you have Aegis installed on your system. 

The online forum has a vibrant thread on this theme too. 


Following the success of SLNgeography@Iceland03 and last year's smaller visit to Saxony, SLNgeography was pleased to organise a trip for teachers at Easter. Please follow our adventures on the SLN@Malaysia2005 pages. Plans are under way for the next venture to Jordan, during May half term 2006 ! Wet your appetite with some photos from Bob Jones' previous visit.

Photo: RainforestDuring the visit we were able to have close encounters with Orang Utan in the rainforests of Sarawak [Borneo]; examined ecotourism and sustainable coastal management; travelled by canoe into the heart of the forest with the Iban people in a long house; discovered a biodiversity and rural development project to explore traditional people's knowledge of local plants medicinal properties.


Photos: Petronas TowersWe enjoy friendly multi-cultural modern, globalising and dynamic Kuala Lumpur; visited a Hindu temple in a limestone cave and a mosque in; looked up and down on Kuala Lumpur to see  this modern dynamic city as well as see the new government capital city be built before your very eyes in this Newly Industrializing Country. We tried to decide for ourselves whether this country will meet its target of being an MEDC by 2020! 

   More photos from a previous visit on the PhotoEnquiries page

Chris Durbin has departed on a big adventure to HK

Photo: View of Hong Kong Chris Durbin, founder of this site, now works for the English Schools Foundation in Hong Kong. Chris says a  'big big big' thank you for all those who have helped make this site work. Without the participants and the contributions there is no fun, no richness, no networking on the site.


This page last updated 03 April 2012

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