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The Royal High School Geography Department Named ‘Centre of Excellence’

23 September 2016

The RHSB Geography department has been awarded the highly prestigious status as a “Centre of Excellence in Geography Teaching” by the UK’s Geographical Association, one of only 16 schools across the UK to be presented with the award this year.

This is in recognition of the outstanding work of all the teachers in the department. To receive the award, the department must demonstrate excellence in its own teaching, and actively promote and share good practice to the wider teaching community.

This summer’s results speak for themselves with 80% of RHSB GCSE Geographers gaining an A* or A grade and 88% gaining an A* to B grade at A level, with 30% of these being at A* level. Additionally, students won numerous national geography competitions last year, including the Royal Geographical Society Key Stage 3 Young Geographer of the Year, the GDST Geographer of the Year, the Geographical Association Post 16 Essay Competition and the Esri UK GIS Award. Over the last few years, the Geography department has led numerous fieldtrips to Iceland and Morocco, and are leading a new trip with the Classics Department to Rome and the Bay of Naples to explore the tectonic landscape of Italy and inspire students.

The department has been involved in a wide range of activities outside of school, to become recognised as leading innovation in Geography teaching. They are at the cutting edge in the use of computer mapping technology within schools. Mr Heath, Head of Geography at The Royal High School Bath was invited to contribute to a week-long conference for American teachers in the use of computer mapping in California this summer. He was awarded a sizable grant from the Goldsmith’s company, to contribute to assisting other schools in the use of this technology. The department also developed a series of global collaborative mapping events in which over 20,000 students from around the world participated. These events have given students a chance to work on a global scale project and to develop higher level spatial analysis skills using large data sets. The next global “Map Off” event will take place in November and will ask participants to respond to a survey about their views on climate change. It should produce some interesting results to examine how views vary in different locations. To find out more visit the event website: http://themapoff.wixsite.com/mapoff

The Royal High School Bath Geography department is passionate about sharing good practice with other teachers. By sharing their best work with other teachers they are pushed to innovate even further. The Royal High School Bath is lucky to be part of the GDST network of 26 schools, and the Geography department leads in the development of an online collaboration project wherein teachers share resources between schools. Alongside presenting at national and international conferences, and having articles on best practice published, the department has won numerous awards for its teaching, including a Pearson teaching award, a Geographical Association Publishers Award and an Ordnance Survey Award.

The Geographical Association makes the following description of the UK’s Centre of Excellence in Geography Teaching:

“These hubs of excellence are pivotal to the Geographical Association’s desire to spread good practice through the development of local networks of teachers. The Centre of Excellence award recognises a school’s contribution to disseminating quality approaches to the teaching of geography and global learning. In these schools, geography is managed by enthusiastic curriculum leaders who are able to inspire their colleagues.”

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