The Primary Geography Quality Mark (PGQM)

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What is the Primary Geography Quality Mark?

The Primary Geography Quality Mark (PGQM) is both an award and a powerful curriculum development tool. It supports the process of school improvement - an essential part of the geography subject leader's role - and allows you and your school to gain recognition for it.

Primary Geography Quality Mark Framework

The PGQM self assessment framework has been updated in the light of recent Ofsted guidance, Teacher Standards and National College of School Leadership advice. The PGQM is also now designed to link with the Global Learning Programme.

The PGQM Wales version (click here for Welsh translation) designed to support schools in Wales has been developed by taking into account best practice in global learning and ESDGC and guidance from Estyn. The PGQMW is also designed to link to the Global Learning Programme in Wales and has been successfully piloted by three of their lead primary schools: St Christopher's Special School; Millbrook Primary; Ysgol Escob Morgan.

Click here to see how schools exemplify and support quality global learning through the Geography Quality Marks.

The GA is a partner in the Global Learning Programme England and Wales

Schools can take advantage of the support on offer through the GLP to develop their expertise in curriculum - making; using geography to fuel pupil achievement. In England, schools wanting to further develop Global Learning can follow the Quality Mark ‘Next Steps’ to join the GLP as a Partner School, or provide evidence of good practice and impact to become a GLP Expert Centre. QM accreditation could also lead to recognition for teachers as GLP Lead Practitioners.

All registered schools have free access to a comprehensive set of documents on our PGQM VLE including the PGQM framework, action plans and exemplar materials to help you audit the quality of geography in your school and work towards a higher standard.

Your school can then choose to apply for the official PGQM award which recognises quality and progress in geography leadership, curriculum development, learning and teaching.

Introduction to the PGQM (PDF, 166k) summarises the award process and answers some frequently asked questions. The PGQM: Leading the way in primary geography (PPT, 3.7M) provides a general introduction to the Quality Mark and is ideal for using with other staff in school.

Benefits of the Primary Geography Quality Mark

  • The self assessment criteria helps you assess the quality of geography in your school and work through a structured improvement plan
  • The PGQM process helps to improve both excellence in and enjoyment of geography among staff and pupils whether it be taught as a stand- alone subject or within Areas of Learning
  • The VLE and its exemplar materials allow you to compare yourself with other schools both locally and nationally
  • The award raises the profile of geography within the primary curriculum and in the community - many Quality Mark schools are featured in local newspapers
  • Applying for the award is excellent CPD for the subject leader who manages the process
  • Feedback from professional consultants can steer you towards making further improvements
  • Professional recognition of the quality of your geography provision from the Geographical Association, the UK's leading subject association for geography

'After I discovered that I could apply for the Geography Quality Mark, that was when the development of geography really took off! There has been no looking back and I have found this process an excellent tool to enable me to see geography progress in the direction I envisaged in my school.' - Sian Cooper Springwood Primary Cardiff


All schools who register for the PGQM get access to the PGQM VLE, a password protected website containing everything you need to know about the Quality Mark and a variety of resources to help you audit geography in your school including:

  • Self-assessment framework
  • Action plans
  • Exemplar materials from other schools
  • Updates on submission deadlines
  • Guidance on preparing your application

Contact Julie Beattie with your GA membership number to request VLE login details.

How do I apply for the Primary Geography Quality Mark?

1. Join the GA
The first thing to do is check that your school is a member of the GA. If you're not sure, just give us a call on 0114 296 0088. If you need to join you can do this online, over the phone, or our Administrator can organise membership for you as part of your Quality Mark registration.

2. Complete and return the registration form
Complete the Registration Form (Word, 72k) and return it to the Administrator before 31 October. The form tells you how much the award costs, where to send it to and how to pay. Most schools register during the Summer term to give themselves a further 2-3 terms to go through the process.

3. Work out which level to apply for
When you are registered, Contact Julie Beattie to request VLE login details and visit the PGQM VLE for the full set of documentation. Use the Self-Assessment Framework and the Audit Checklist found here to determine whether your school is ready to apply for a Bronze, Silver or Gold Quality Mark. Contact Julie Beattie to request VLE login details.

4. Start gathering evidence
From this point schools generally take two or three terms to gather evidence and write and present their application. The earlier you register the more time you will have to plan ahead.

5. Work towards the award
In brief, the process asks that you perform a subject audit using the Self-Assessment Framework from which you develop an action plan. The final application consists of a presentation of your PGQM action plan, evidence of your development (text and photos) accompanied by other school documentation e.g. planning and pupil work.       

6. Submit your final application
Applications are submitted in April each year, moderation takes place throughout the summer and awards are distributed in October. Guidance can be found on the PGQM VLE.

GLP Partner schools have until the 31 January to register and pay using e-credits. Simply log-in on the GLP website to sign up now. Not a GLP Partner School? Go to the GLP website to find out more.

What is the timeframe for completing the award?

Your school can start working towards the award at any time however you must register and submit your final application by the annual deadlines below.

NB - registration will close when the full quota of schools for the period is reached

Register by: 31 October
Submit final application by: end of April
Moderation during:
Notified of award by:


In order to meet some of the costs of administering and moderating the award, at the point of registration a fee is payable upon the following scale.

  • Very small schools <50 pupils = £165
  • Very small schools 50-99 pupils = £215
  • Small schools 100-249 pupils - £265
  • Medium schools 250-399 pupils - £315
  • Large schools >400 pupils - £365

Current Geographical Association membership is essential when applying for the PGQM. Once awarded, schools are also requested to maintain their GA membership for the three-year period that the PGQM is valid.

Further support

Detailed guidance and sample material is available on the PGQM VLE and the Champions Ning has a dedicated PGQM Group where you can chat to other teachers and GA staff.

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