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Geographical Association

The Geographical Association
Abbreviation GA
Formation 1893 (1893)
Headquarters Sheffield, UK
Region served
United Kingdom
Chief Executive
Alan Kinder
Bob Digby
Honorary Vice-President
Professor David Lambert

The Geographical Association (GA) is a Sheffield, United Kingdom-based subject association with the objective of furthering the study, learning and teaching of geography. The Geographical Association is wholly independent of state aid.


  • Constitution 1
  • Origins 2
  • Present day 3
  • What does the Geographical Association do? 4
  • The Action Plan for Geography 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes and references 7
  • External links 8


The Geographical Association is a registered charity (number 1135148) and its core activities are financed by membership subscriptions. Membership is an expression of support and helps the Geographical Association in its key mission to ensure geography continues to contribute effectively to the education of all children and young people. The GA has approximately 6000 personal or institutional members. These include primary and secondary teachers, PGCE students, teacher educators, academics, geography students, infant, primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities, academies, libraries, societies, museums and businesses. Despite being a UK-based organisation, there are also members in more than 60 countries with strong links between with geographical organisations in the USA, Australia and Europe.


The Geographical Association was formed by five geographers, including Halford John Mackinder, in 1893 and remains an independent, unincorporated association. The first members got together to use and exchange lantern slides, a leading technology of the day. Today, the Geographical Association's purpose remains much the same - sharing ideas and learning from each other, using the best available technology. However, it also serves a body that creates a voice for and represents the interests of geography teachers in policy and practice initiatives through engagement with government.

More information on the history of the association can be found in a publication called "The First Hundred Years: 1893-1993"[1]

Present day

A dedicated body of professional staff, based at the GA headquarters in Sheffield headquarters, operate under the leadership of its elected officers and appointed Chief Executive. The GA is overseen by two main committees, giving strong representation to the members.

What does the Geographical Association do?

The Geographical Association is consciously taking steps to be inclusive and serve the needs of all teachers of geography, whatever the individual's particular enthusiasms. Its purpose is "to seek out, nurture and support excellence in geography teaching and ensure the education service understands the power of geography to serve educational goals. It aims to achieve this through a range of activities."

Geography subject leadership: The Geographical Association develops geography subject leadership at all levels, from new teachers during their initial training, to geography co-ordinators in primary schools, to secondary heads of department

Key geography resources: The Geographical Association publishes a wide range of resources from Early Years through to Post-16. Resources include materials for primary-aged children focussed on the geographical adventures of a teddy bear called Barnaby Bear (A Trade Marked product), Handbooks for primary and secondary teachers, KS3 and GCSE Toolkit series (providing curriculum planning advice) and Top Spec Geography (booklets on contemporary topics for AS/A2 level students), and a series of City and Landform Guides providing interpretive guides to areas of 'classic' landforms and the exploration of cities and how they have been shaped). In addition, three professional journals are published for members on a termly basis - Primary Geography, Teaching Geography and Geography.

CPD events: every year the Geographical Association runs an extensive programme of CPD events across the country, including an annual conference. Recent locations for the annual conference have been Derby (2010), Guildford (2011) and Manchester (2012).

Campaigning for geography: The Geographical Association engages with policy makers and government ministers to constantly make the case for geography, with a strong involvement in curriculum reviews and Government education consultations.

Funded projects: Over a number of years the Geographical Association has established itself as a leading force in the development of innovative geography projects in partnership with a variety of high-profile funders. Since 2006 the Geographical Association and RGS-IBG have jointly led the government funded Action Plan for Geography.

The Action Plan for Geography

The Geographical Association, in conjunction with the Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG) was awarded Government funding to support a range of projects as part of the Action Plan for Geography (APG) covering the period 2006-11.

The APG's goal was: 'To provide everyone - opinion formers, policy makers, parents and pupils - with a clear vision of geography as a relevant, powerful, 21st century subject; and to equip teachers with the professional skills and support they need so that pupils enjoy and succeed in geography.'[2]

This recognised the need for well trained, up-to-date and enthusiastic teachers who understand and can use geography to help young people become confident in their learning, informed about the world around them, and responsible, productive, active citizens.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Balchin, W.J.V (1993). The Geographical Association: the first hundred years. Sheffield: GA. 
  2. ^ "Action Plan for Geography". Retrieved 2012-08-01. 

External links

  • Geographical Association home page
  • Geographical Association resources shop
  • Barnaby Bear Official Site
  • Worldwise
  • Geographical Association NING
  • Geography Champions NING
  • Geographical Association in Manchester
  • The Young People's Geographies project page
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