In March 2006 Lord Adonis, the Schools Minister, and Michael Palin announced the Action Plan for Geography (APG). It began as a two-year programme of support and development for school geography led jointly and equally by the Geographical Association and the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers). Funding for a further 3 years was announced in April 2008. 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.’
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.
The main priority for the second phase of the Action Plan for Geography was to extend the reach of the activities designed to raise the quality of geographical teaching and learning – in the classroom and the field – and for this to be reflected in the achievements of young people.
Project activities and achievements
The funded period of the Action Plan for Geography was 2006-11. It was a great success, meeting or exceeded 47 of its 50 key targets and milestones. Over 1700 secondary schools, (more than 50% of the maintained secondary sector) and 1200 primary schools engaged with face-to-face events and CPD was provided to 5000 teachers. Online resources received more than 1.25 million ‘user sessions’.
Action Plan for Geography 2006-11: Final Report and Evaluation
The overall legacy of the APG is that the GA has continued, and expanded, its highly regarded CPD courses programme. Several strands of the APG continued beyond the lifetime of the programme, such as the Geography Quality Marks, which have been achieved by hundreds of schools around the country and beyond.
Speech by Michael Palin, guest of honour at a reception at the Speaker’s House on 27 November 2007 to celebrate the successes of the Action Plan for Geography Phase I:
Speech by Minister for Schools Jim Knight at GA Annual Conference, Guildford, 27 March 2008.