Global Goals Classroom Resources


Anyone wanting to incorporate the United Nations ‘Global Goals’ into their teaching should check out the “World’s Largest Lesson” web site.

It is full of creative resources such as posters, comic strips, videos and so on ready to use in the classroom. When on the web site, just click on one of the goals in the summary grid (shown above) to open up a wealth of activities and materials to download.


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‘War Maps’ in London


If you happen to be in London over the next couple of months, you may want to call in to the ‘War Maps’ exhibition. It is running at the ‘Map House’ in Knightsbridge from September 23rd to November 18th, and will showcase a powerful collection of propaganda maps in use between 1900 and 1950.

Some maps from the exhibition include:


This map shows Roosevelt and Churchill in a tug-of-war over Africa, and was was created by Jean Fort in 1941 for the German propaganda unit that occupied France. It was designed to influence French patriotic feeling and resentment after the Allied invasion of French North Africa.



1untitledThis map represents the political squabbles and rivalries in Europe, and was produced by Fred Rose originally in 1877.






The Map House is London’s oldest antiquarian map seller –

ScreenHunter_01 Sep. 26 14.49.gif


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Ian Mercer Obituary


I was saddened to read last week of the death of geographer and naturalist Ian Mercer. In 1973, he became the first chief officer of the Dartmoor National Park – and I remember him presenting a number of videos about Dartmoor that I used in my lessons. I also heard him speak at conferences many times, and his love for the natural world was always conveyed with boyish enthusiasm.

Mercer fought hard to breach the rift between nature and landscape conservation caused by the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act (1949), which created separate bodies to oversee these disciplines. It was therefore appropriate that she should be appointed in 1990 as chief executive of the newly-formed Countryside Council for Wales, which for the first time in Great Britain, brought nature, landscape and recreation together.

He was also a past President of the Field Studies Council, and at one time ran the Slapton Ley Centre in Start Bay.

Mercer wrote the second edition of the excellent ‘New Naturalist’s Dartmoor’, and in the introduction he noted: “Despite spending three-quarters of my working life as a rural public servant, I have always been a geographer.”

Ian Mercer CBE – died September 2oth, 2016 – aged 83.

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Analysis of 2016 Geography GCSE and A Level Results

Time to reflect on the Geography exam results for 2016:


screenhunter_09-sep-10-18-52(Table extracted from

Main points:

# GCSE geography entries increased by 7% with 15,958 more students choosing to study the subject compared to the previous year.

# Geography remains the 8th most popular subject at GCSE.

# Split by gender, male candidates totalled 129,496 (5.5% increase, 53% of all candidates) and the number of female candidates was 114,537 (8.8% increase, 47% of all candidates).

# The proportion of A* grades dropped from 9.2% in 2015 to 8.3%, which still compares favourably with the national average of 6.5% for all subjects.

# The proportion of A* – C grades dropped from 69.1% in 2015 to 66.3%, with the national average at 66.9% for all subjects.


Main points:

# Geography has the smallest gender gap of all A level subjects, with just a .1% difference in uptake between girls and boys in 2016.

# Geography remains the 8th most popular subject at A level and the number of candidates in 2016 was 10.5% higher than in 2014. It has also become the 7th most popular subject at AS Level.

# Top grades (A*/A) were achieved by 26.2% of candidates, compared to 27.5% in 2015, with girls (31% at A*/A) out-performing boys (26.2% at A*/A).

# The overall pass rate (A*-E) for geography was 99%, which is slightly higher than the national pass rate for all subjects which remains at 98.1%.


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Map Reading Week Is Coming!


The Ordnance Survey is holding a National Map Reading Week from 17th to 23rd October. During this time, free map reading workshops will be available and a variety of resources, from videos to handy guides, will be available on the web site.

Following an increase in mountain rescue callouts, the Ordnance Survey commissioned a survey with 2,000 adults across Britain taking part. This revealed some pretty disturbing results – including 40% of people struggling to pinpoint London on an outline map of Britain, and only 14% being able to accurately plot Edinburgh’s position. Even more worrying perhaps, was the fact that just 40% of those surveyed felt they could confidently read a map with 10% never having used a paper map.

The survey results reinforced the idea that a National Map Reading Week was long overdue. So how can you support the Ordnance Survey during this week?

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Elevation Tool From ESRI

untitledIf you have not come across the excellent elevation tool from ESRI before, I suggest you check it out. It might be particularly helpful with field trip preparation and write ups.

This tool provides a great Geography mapping tool that lets you see  the elevation of the land between two chosen points. It works so simply – by choosing two points on a map with your cursor, and then watching the software build you the  cross section profile.

Here is a quick cross section elevation along a stretch of the Exmoor coast:

ScreenHunter_10 Sep. 10 19.11.gif



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Take Cover! Storm Doris Is Coming!

Last autumn, the Met Office ran a pilot project whereby members of the public suggested names for storms that have the potential to cause ‘medium’ or ‘high’ wind impacts on the UK.

A new list of names has been compiled using the suggestions submitted through social media last year. This year’s list will begin again at ‘A’ and alternate male/female, starting with a male name. The full list of names is shown below:


I am sort of looking forward to see what happens with ‘Storm Doris’!!

The idea behind the project was to raise public awareness of severe weather systems before they reach the UK, and therefore ensure greater safety of the public. By attaching a name to a weather event, it has been found to help people track its progress, and also prepare people for and avoid dangers that might come along with it.

Weather forecasters have used names for particular storms in the past, but the choice of names was random, with the same storm sometimes being referred to by several different names. They have also latched onto names of ex-hurricanes that arrive on our shores from across the Atlantic. These names come from six lists drawn up by the World Meteorological Organisation and used in rotation.

The UK list follows the same structure of the American system, running through the alphabet and alternating between male and female names. There are no named storms beginning with the uncommon letters Q, U, X, Y or Z. When an American storm is particularly serious, like Hurricane  Katrina in 2005, it’s name is withdrawn from the list never to be used again. I presume that particularly damaging storms will get similar treatment if they occur in the UK.

If a storm hits the UK which has already developed over the Atlantic and has already been named, then the original name will continue to be used, not a new one from the Met Office list.

It is unlikely we will ever get through 21 storm names in a season. For instance, in the very bad winter of 2013/14, only 14 storms would have received names. Should an unusual season occur needing more names, the list will return to letter A to a different name. If tropical storms go beyond 21 names, the Greek alphabet is then used – starting with storm alpha.

One interesting point about storm names is the research that has shown how hurricanes with female names are more likely to hurt more people than those with male names. Scientists believe that this is because the public finds female names less threatening.






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