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Course presenters

Meet our presenters

Each year, the GA organises a range of face-to-face and online CPD courses to cover a variety of key geography themes. Our courses are led by a dedicated team of primary and secondary geography specialists, to ensure our delegates receive high quality CPD based on the latest thinking. Click on their profiles below to find out more about their interests and expertise.

Ben Ballin

Primary fieldwork

Rob Chambers

Secondary leadership

Richard Bustin

Secondary knowledge & skills

Bob Digby

GCSE & A level

Jon Cannell

Primary curriculum lead

Emma Espley

Primary knowledge & skills

Richard Hatwood

Primary leadership

David Holmes

GCSE, A level & fieldwork

Jess Hill

Primary & PGQM

Simran Jouhal

Secondary leadership

Judy Hills

Primary curriculum lead

Rachel Kay

Curriculum development

Dr Becky Kitchen

Head of professional development

Catherine Owen

Secondary leadership

Tanith Ludlam

Secondary & ECT

Alan Parkinson

Secondary leadership

Janine Maddison

Fieldwork & research

Kit Marie Rackley

Secondary, environment & EDI

Nell Seal

Primary leadership & fieldwork

Sarah Sprake

Early Years Adviser

Chloe Searl

Secondary fieldwork

Emma White

Primary & PGQM

Kate Stockings

Secondary leadership

Dr Dan Whittall

Secondary & research

Ben Ballin

Having taught in a Primary Special School in Kenya, Ben currently leads CPD courses for the GA on urban fieldwork, critical thinking and problem solving. He also provides consultancy, supporting planning around the National Curriculum and on planning for progression in primary geography. Ben is a board member for Primary Geography magazine, as well as published author in his own right.

Dr Richard Bustin

Richard is currently Head of Geography at Lancing College, having held a variety of geography teaching roles in schools and a stint as a Deputy Head. He is on the editorial board of the GA’s Teaching Geography journal, where he writes, commissions and edits articles of interest to geography teachers. Richard has authored a number of books and articles on geography education, including ‘Geography Education’s potential and the capability approach‘ which won the GA Silver Award. He particularly enjoys supporting beginning teachers, and as such mentors and presents to trainees across the country.

Jon Cannell

Jon is the Primary Curriculum Leader at the GA. He has more than twenty years of primary teaching and leadership experience starting out in Norfolk before spending eleven years at a highly respected international school in Singapore.

In his role with the GA Jon works closely with schools to develop their curriculum; runs network meetings, develops resources; writes articles for the GA magazines and leads training on aspects of education including critical thinking, leadership, assessment, global learning and high-quality geography.

Rob Chambers

Rob Chambers has 20 years teaching experience and is Head of Geography at St Ivo Academy in St Ives, Cambridgeshire. He is a member of the Geographical Association and the Royal Geographical Society and is also a Chartered Geographer. He has a strong interest in the use ICT and online learning in supporting effective teaching and learning and spent 8 years as an Advanced Skills Teacher/ Lead Practitioner in Geography and ICT across the curriculum. Rob is a GA consultant and has also acted as a Schools Programme Consultant for Geography for the Princes Teaching Institute. In 2019 was awarded the Royal Geographical Society’s Ordnance Survey Award for excellence in geography teaching at secondary level.

Karen Corfield

Karen is currently Education Travel Manager at Discover the World Education (DTWE). Prior to taking a sabbatical from teaching, she worked in a variety of different schools as Head of Geography, Pastoral Deputy and NQT mentor. Karen is a trained Icelandic guide and is passionate about the academic and pastoral benefits of overseas outdoor education.

Karen has authored a number of articles on the importance of pastoral education, delivers CPD on new and exciting case studies and leads the DTWE CPD workshops on Thinking and Writing like a Geographer. She has delivered a variety of webinars and presentations both for the GA and DTWE.

Bob Digby

Bob is Honorary Treasurer of the GA and is a former President (2012-13), having been on its Board of Trustees since 2010. He taught for a total of 35 years, 24 of them in three schools (two as a head of Department), and 11 in Sheffield, Manchester and Brunel Universities as a PGCE Geography/Education lecturer. He now freelances, including writing for and editing a wide variety of school textbooks for both GCSE and A level markets; leading CPD for the GA and exam boards, as well as several commercial companies; offering a range of fieldwork and other student-facing sessions including revision; leading practical sessions with PGCE students about assessment; and examining across a range of examinations at GCSE and A level. 

Emma Espley

Fifteen years teaching many subjects across a broad age range in a variety of schools has certainly proved invaluable for Emma’s current role as a freelance author and consultant and private tutor. In the past, she has been based in mainstream, independent, selective and comprehensive schools. Whilst her PGCE is at secondary level, with a specialism identified as geography and religious studies as a second subject, Emma has taught from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 5. She has also held numerous roles of responsibility alongside my teaching commitments, related to either the taught or extended curriculum.

For the past ten years, Emma has worked in a freelance capacity, undertaking a vast array of authoring and consultancy tasks. Much of what she does has a county or south west focus, including contributing to the primary section of geography south west’s newly developed website and steering a growing Primary Humanities Network.

Richard Hatwood

Richard has taught for over ten years and has also held a senior position within Local Authority Education Services. More recently, he was appointed Headteacher of a large primary school in North Wales and has secured a very positive inspection judgement citing: ‘The headteacher provides strong and effective leadership.’
He has worked as part of the pilot for the Welsh Primary Geography Quality Mark and has been a member of the Moderation Team for several years. Richard is also a board member for the Primary Geography Journal. In addition, Richard has provided a range of consultancy services for the Geographical Association, from bespoke support and INSET to the highly successful ‘Outstanding Teaching and Learning in Primary Geography’ course.

Jess Hill

Jess Hill is Deputy Head of Alwoodley Primary School Leeds where she has taught and led geography for over 20 years. With a degree in geography, Jess is passionate about instilling a love for the subject in the pupils she teaches and, through her consultancy work, extending this beyond her own setting. Jess is a consultant to the Geographical Association and a moderator for the Primary Geography Quality Mark. Jess has written articles for the Primary Geography journal and has contributed to online resources on www.oddizzi.com and created teaching materials for the Champions of Antarctica project in collaboration with The 2041 Foundation and Oddizzi.

Judy Hills

Judy Hills (nee Gleen) is currently Assistant Headteacher for Teaching and Learning in an Oxfordshire school having previously been the Head of Humanities and before that a Head of Geography. As an Associate Assistant Headteacher she was given the role of overhauling the small Academy’s curriculum and worked with both the Primary and Secondary schools to evaluate their current offer, create a new school vision and support middle leaders to reshape their subject curriculums. She has been a member of the Secondary Phase Committee for a number of years and has both presented at Conference and written for Teaching Geography on multiple occasions. 

David Holmes

David is a curriculum designer, fieldwork advocate and senior examiner as well as lover of geography. As an ex-teacher and author, he is a long standing member of the GA and FSC, and has previously been involved in our Worldwise events. David is a facilitator for student courses, leading sessions on student knowledge and revision, across the GCSE and A level curriculum.

Simran Jouhal

Simran is Head of Geography in a North London secondary school. She has wider responsibilities including staff development for the new and beginning teachers, whole school staff wellbeing, and is a staff governor. She is a GA enthusiast and has presented at the GA conference many times. Simran was also the second ever recipient of the Enhanced Professional Passport Award from the GA, and has subsequently gone on to support moderation of the next round of submissions for the awards alongside key members of the GA. Simran has a teaching and learning blog under the name GeographiaUK.

Rachel Kay

Rachel has 20 years teaching experience and is Head of Geography and Lead Practitioner at Salendine Nook High School in Huddersfield. As an SLE, she also works with geography departments in West Yorkshire to support curriculum development. Rachel has been an enthusiastic member of the GA’s Secondary Phase Committee for the past 14 years; she has delivered several workshops at the GA Conference and has written articles for Teaching Geography. She has also been interviewed for The GA’s GeogPod about curriculum planning and preparing for a geography deep dive.

Dr Rebecca Kitchen

Rebecca Kitchen is CPD, Curriculum and Marketing Manager at the Geographical Association, and has previously received the Geographical Association Award for Excellence in Leading Geography in 2014. Becky’s current remit with her GA role is to support teachers in enabling their students to access a high-quality geography curriculum, predominantly through CPD and Curriculum projects. One aspect of her work is leading the Geography Quality Marks which aim to enable subject leaders to raise the standards of geography in school, supporting the teaching of quality geography and promoting department leadership and management.

Tanith Ludlam

Tanith is Head of Humanities at a Nottingham city school. She also has whole school responsibilities for Achievement at KS3. Tanith has been a member of the GA Secondary Phase Committee for the past 5 years and is currently the secretary. Tanith has delivered several workshops and CPD events for the GA, with a focus on ECT.

Janine Maddison

Janine is a postgraduate researcher at Newcastle University researching the pedagogic benefits of the virtual world to enhance fieldwork. With 8 years fieldwork experience at the Field Studies Council (FSC), Janine wrote the Creative Fieldwork publication and most recently coordinated and developed FSC’s #fieldworklive programme. She has worked with Awarding Organisation’s to deliver fieldwork focused CPD events and written several fieldwork guides including ‘A Guide to Conducting High Quality Fieldwork at GCSE’ (Pearson Edexcel), ‘A Level Environmental Science Practical Science Handbook’ (AQA) and ‘Geographical Skills Handbook for GCSE’ (OCR). Her 2018 Teaching Geography article ‘Casting aside our hammers-creative fieldwork approaches and methods’ was awarded the GA’s Award for Excellence in Leading Geography.

Gemma Mawdsley

Gemma is a consultant for the GA and an SLE for the Wade Deacon Trust with 16 years’ experience as a classroom practitioner, 14 of which have been in a leadership role. She has led CPD on the GA’s Critical Thinking for Achievement 2018-20 programme along with bespoke CPD upon request. As an SLE, Gemma works with Humanities departments across the trust to support curriculum planning, raise attainment and mentor staff new in leadership roles. She is an Accelerate Coach for the Chartered College and coaches staff in the first five years of their career under this scheme.

Jennifer Monk

Jennifer is an experienced Head of Geography and SLE in the North West. She has written resources for a range of publishers such as Hodder Education, Seneca and the RGS; she also won the 2019 Royal Geographical Society Award for Excellence in the Geography Classroom. Jennifer has attended almost every GA conference in the last 8 years and has presented at four of them.

Catherine Owen

Catherine is the Head of Geography at The King Alfred School an Academy (a GA Centre of Excellence) and has 26 years teaching experience, as well as being a RGS Chartered Geography Teacher. She chairs the GA International Special Interest Group and is a GA consultant. Catherine also writes and leads CPD events for the GA, OUP, Hodder, Seneca and Tutor2U.

Alan Parkinson

Alan Parkinson is a former GA President (2021-22) and is currently Head of Geography at King’s Ely Junior in Cambridgeshire. He has written numerous textbooks and children’s books and previously worked for the Geographical Association as Secondary Curriculum Development Leader, leading many CPD courses. He is a Chartered Geographer and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and has won numerous awards for his writing, innovative teaching, and support of other colleagues. He writes the LivingGeography blog and tweets @GeoBlogs. He is a Primary Geography Champion and Consultant to the GA

Kit Marie Rackley

Kit Marie taught high-school Geography for 13 years in Norwich, including leading their department to the GA’s SGQM ‘Centre of Excellence’ Award. They have a BSc in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia (UEA), specialising in meteorology and scientific communication. After a gap-year working with climate scientists and science educators in the USA, Kit Marie continues to provide teacher CPD and student workshops as a freelance educator through their Geogramblings website, maintaining a close connection to the GA as a consultant, author and a member of the ICT Special Interest Group.

David Rogers

David is a geography teacher and senior leader is a large south coast school. He also works as a behaviour lead. As a multi award winning teacher FRGS and Chartered Geographer, David doesn’t like desks, but has been behind one long enough to edit a series of GCSE textbooks and 100 Tips for quality geography. He has also contributed to online resources including the classroom study aids developed through the GA partnership with Discover the World.

Nell Seal

Nell Seal has worked the last 22 years in environmental and outdoor learning, including managing an outdoor centre, as a consultant to the Geographical Association and as an advisory teacher for Norfolk County Council. Nell has both an BSc and MSc in Ecology, a PGCE in Secondary Geography and is a qualified Forest School practitioner. Currently Nell is a freelance consultant specialising in facilitating CPD training in the areas of learning for sustainability, outdoor learning and primary geography. Nell has worked with the Geographical Association for over 10 years and has been a PGQM moderator for 4 years. Find out more on her website.

Chloe Searl

As an independent field studies tutor on the Isle of Wight, Chloe specialises in delivering fieldwork based around the A level NEA. She runs training sessions for teachers and students on using ArcGIS in fieldwork and is an award winning resources writer, publishing under ‘The Island Geographer’ as well as writing commissions for the Geographical Association, the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and other geographical bodies. Chloe has taught geography for nearly twenty years both in the classroom and in the field and is a member of the GA’s Fieldwork and Outdoor Learning Special Interest Group.

Kate Stockings

Kate is an experienced Head of Geography currently working at Hampstead School in London. She has written resources, led training & blogged for several organisations including Oxford University Press, Hodder Education and Seneca Learning. Beyond the classroom, she is passionate about outreach and extra-curricular opportunities for students and is the Education Officer for the UK Polar Network and Chair of the Teacher Panel for the Museum of London. Kate is part of the International Schools SIG at the GA.

Ryan Nock

Ryan has over 10 years teaching experience and is Head of Geography at Carr Manor Community School in Leeds. Ryan is currently Chair of the Fieldwork and Outdoor Learning Special Interest Group (FOLSIG). He has delivered several workshops at the GA conference and is also an active member of the Physical Geography Special Interest Group (PGSIG) contributing to the groups work for the GA. In 2020 Ryan was awarded the status of Chartered Geographer (CGeog) by the Royal Geographical Society for his contributions to geography inside and outside of the classroom.

Emma White

Emma is Deputy Head of a large primary school in east London. After gaining her geography degree and subsequent PGCE Secondary Geography, she started her career in education teaching geography to KS3-4, before making the switch to primary when she moved to London. She led her school to achieve the PGQM Gold award and, following this, become the first mainstream primary school to gain Gold Hub School status. Emma is passionate about geography and igniting in children a lifelong love for the subject and, with this in mind, actively supports schools and subject leaders in developing an engaging, enriching geography curriculum. In recent years, Emma has worked on the Geography Subject Hub for London, given talks and run workshops for the RGS, written for the GA’s Primary Geography Journal, and run a series of sessions on Developing Subject Leadership in Geography for teachers in and around London.

Dan Whittall

Dan is Research Engagement Lead for the Geographical Association, job-sharing with Christine Winter, and also teaches Geography at a sixth form college in West Yorkshire. He has over ten years’ experience in classrooms, and has written for Teaching Geography as well as other publications. He is on the editorial board of Routes: The Student Geography Journal, and is also a member of the Decolonising Geography collective.

Chris Winter

Chris Winter works as Research Engagement Lead at the Geographical Association in a job-share role with Dan Whittall. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield School of Education. As a curriculum researcher, Chris focuses on school geography policy, geographical knowledge and practice and decolonising school geography. In her recent British Academy project, she investigated the white GCSE geography curriculum in England. She is currently conducting research in racial literacy in teacher education.

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