University of Surrey - Thursday 20 - Saturday 22 April 2017

Every year the GA Annual Conference features more than a hundred sessions including hands-on workshops, academic lectures, field visits, informal 'teacher-to-teacher' sessions and lively debates.

The main programme takes place on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 April with the free Public Lecture, 'Association at Work' events and Awards Ceremonies taking place on Thursday 20.

Keep an eye on the Conference front page or follow us on Twitter #gaconf17 for all the latest updates.

Thursday programme at a glance
Friday programme at a glance
Saturday programme at a glance
Full Programme
Full session descriptions 

Programme alternations

Friday, 09.00-09.50

Debate 'Do cake sales work? The role of geography in pupil participation in local-global issues: now KS2-4.

Workshop 1 'Geography ITE: how is the landscape chaging?: new presenter - Richard Maurice, Geography Consultant and Lead Practitioner, Harris Federation, London.

Friday, 14.55-15.45

Lecture 15 'Landscape architecture:inclusive geographies in action?': new presenter - Helen Allen, Inclusive Design Consultant and Landscape Architect, HADA. 

Workshop 21 'Tackling exam questions in new specifications': new presenter - Kathryn Stephenson, Member, GA Secondary Phase Committee.

Saturday, 12.50-13.10

Teacher-to-Teacher cancelled 'Developing a growth mindset', Rachel Riley, NQT Geography Teacher.

Programme Pathways

The Conference is an excellent source of CPD and to help you improve your knowledge and skills in specific areas we have identified six pathways where you select a route from suggested sessions.

Pathways at a glance

Primary- information, ideas and resources for planning and teaching primary geography.
GCSE- information, ideas and resources for planning and teaching your GCSE courses.
A level- information, ideas and resources for planning and teaching your A level courses.
Fieldwork- develop ideas and resources for creative learning outside the classroom.
ECT- aimed at providing students, trainee teachers, NQTs, or others at an early stage in their careers, with a toolkit for teaching quality geography.
Global Learning- suggestions and resources for developing a global perspective in the classroom. 

Public lecture

University of Surrey, 17.45-19.00, free of charge
Meteorologist and broadcaster Peter Gibbs will give this year’s lecture on ‘Antarctica - Heartbeat of the Planet’. Antarctica is the coldest, driest, windiest place on Earth. A continent the size of the USA and Mexico combined, it is almost entirely covered in ice up to 4km thick! A hugely important driver of global weather and climate, its vastness and remoteness makes it challenging to study. Peter Gibbs worked there as a meteorologist in the early 1980s and recently returned to make a film for BBC2's Horizon. He talks about his career and the work of today's scientists at the most isolated British research station, Halley.

Conference TeachMeet

A TeachMeet is an informal gathering of likeminded teachers coming together to present to, and learn from one another's classroom practice including practical innovations and personal insights in teaching. The 2017 Conference TeachMeet will take place on Friday 21 April before the free networking and quiz and unofficial #beermeet. Sign-up online to give a six minute presentation and/or to attend for free!

Special thanks to David Rogers (@davidErogers) for organising the TeachMeet.

Proudly sponsored by, Discover the World Education and NST Travel Group Ltd.

Future Geographers programme

We're offering a free programme for students aged 14–18 to enthuse them about geography and to enable them to think beyond school.

We're inviting teachers to bring up to six students along to the GA Annual Conference on Friday 21 April, where they'll take part in their own programme of sessions. Although student places are free, teachers must pay the appropriate delegate registration fee. Places are free of charge to students of GA members only.

It's an informal day and students can dress casually. We ask that you bring and supervise your students throughout, but that doesn't mean you can't go to your own lectures and workshops. You just need to know where your students are and take full responsibility for them. You'll also need to be covered throughout by your own school insurance and should risk assess the event as though it were a usual school trip.

Refreshments are provided free of charge, but we do ask that students either bring along a packed lunch or purchase food from the various outlets located around the exhibition.

Contact Harriet Brookes to rgeister your students.

Download the Future Geographers programme.

Networking events

All events and receptions take place at the University of Surrey. View the full programme and booking information for further information.

Wine Reception
Thursday 20 April, 19.00-20.00, free of charge

Conference Dinner
Thursday 20 April, 20.00-22.00, £36

Beer Tasting with Pie and Pea Supper
Thursday 20 April, 20.00-22.00, £15

Networking Reception
Friday 21 April, 13.00-13.45, free of charge

Networking and Geography Quiz
Friday 21 April, 20.00-22.30, free of charge

Primary Reception
Saturday 22 April, 13.15-14.00, free of charge

Mentor Meet
Saturday 22 April, 13.15-14.00, free of charge

The Rex Walford Memorial Lecture

The GA is proud to sponsor the annual Rex Walford Memorial Lecture. It is aimed at trainee teachers and NQTs, taking its cue from Rex's remarkable contribution to geography education in the UK. This year's lecture will be given by David Lambert, Professor of Geography Education, UCL Institute of Education on 'Geography, capabilities and ‘this day and age’'.

We hope the annual Rex Walford Memorial Lecture will inspire you and remind us all what can be achieved through innovative and imaginative geography teaching.

The Rex Walford Memorial Lecture is designed for new teachers but is of course open to all.

Session Descriptions

These are innovative, 20-minute sessions offering you a unique opportunity for professional conversation about what you do best. Places will be limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

A workshop is a 50-minute session that will include interactions and discussion between participants and the facilitator, practical activities with a resource or stimulus, and a clear sense of purpose and outcomes enabling participants to leave with practical materials for classroom use. Places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Reporting Research

These sessions focus and report on recent research into geographical education. There will be papers on different types of research, for example action research into teachers' own practice, ethnographic classroom research or research into particular aspects of curriculum or assessment.


A lecture will normally include a 40-minute presentation, and ten minutes for questions. The lectures are all clearly defined by phase and title.

Lecture Plus

These are 25-minute lectures, presented by leading geographers, followed by discussions on classroom implications, applications and possibilities.


The Forum will look at current, and possibly controversial issues. Invited panelists will be asked to talk for no more than ten minutes on the theme from their point of view and a strong Chair will ensure times are kept to! Discussion will be opened to the floor giving the audience a chance to make short, sharp points or ask questions of the panel. At the end of the discussion period each panelist will be asked to make a short 'round up' comment.

Key for GA Committees and Special Interest Groups

EYPPC - Early Years & Primary Phase Committee
SPC - Secondary Phase Committee
P16HEPC - Post-16 & HE Phase Committee
AESIG - Assessment & Examinations Special Interest Group
ICTSIG - ICT Special Interest Group
ISSIG - Independent Schools Special Interest Group
ISIG - International Special Interest Group
FOLSIG - Fieldwork and Outdoor Learning Special Interest Group
PGSIG - Physical Geography Special Interest Group
SCSIG - Sustainability and Citizenship Special Interest Group
TESIG - Teacher Education Special Interest Group
WSIG - Welsh Special Interest Group

Official 2017 Conference Sponsors

Comment on this page

Comments made by GA members appear instantly and don't require security words to be entered - make sure you're logged in! Guest comments will be sent to a moderator for approval.



Chris Trevor Guest

Hi Do I need to book onto all the workshops? I am presenting a session on both days, therefore do not need to pay the admission fee each day, but I would like to secure my places at certain sessions and events. Please advise how I can do this.


Lucy Oxley

Lucy Oxley GA Staff

Places on all workshops, lectures, research papers and teacher-to-teacher sessions are allocated on a first-come first-served basis on the day.



Sarah Hodgson Guest

Please could you tell me if the Exhibitions will be available for viewing on the Thursday afternoon before the Public Lecture and Awards.

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