Sheila Jones was an inspirational geography teacher who had a lifetime of involvement with the Geographical Association. She was a member of the GA Bristol Branch and the National Branch Officer, becoming the voice of some of the GA’s networks at a national level.
Sheila was also the first woman school teacher to be elected GA President in 1975 and her considerable service to the association was recognised in 2007 when she was awarded Honorary Membership of the GA.
When Sheila sadly passed away in 2021, her estate left the Geographical Association a legacy of £10,000. Given Sheila’s great advocacy for networking, this donation was divided into 100 packages of £100 each which were used to support, rejuvenate and develop networking through the GA.
Since it was launched on 1 September 2022, the Sheila Jones legacy fund has enabled the development of several geography educator networks all of whom have used the funding packages in different ways.
GA Early Years and Primary Phase Committee
The GA Early Years and Primary Phase Committee have been offering half-termly GeogLive! one hour twilight webinars since May 2021, the recordings of which have been viewed over 6,000 times.
The group are no longer able to use the university account to host these sessions and so have used the funding to pay for their own zoom account so that they can continue to support a network of primary teachers and offer them mutual support and encouragement.
GA Belfast Branch
Another group that have used the funds to pay for infrastructure to support online networking are the GA Belfast Branch who have been hosting a programme of short evening talks covering a range of AS and A2 geography units.
The funds were used to offset the cost of hosting the event as a webinar on Zoom, the development of a YouTube channel to archive a recording of the event, and the creation of a virtual space for teachers to access the recordings and support materials, as well as post topics for discussion.
GA Chester Branch
Other groups have used the funding to rejuvenate face-to-face networking activity which has been a challenge during and after the pandemic. The GA Chester Branch quiz aims to boost interest for geography amongst KS3 pupils as they choose their GCSE options and regularly has over 60 students from West Cheshire, the Wirral and North Wales attending.
Their funding package was used to buy certificates and geography themed prizes for all students as well as a new winners shield which needed replacing.
GA Oxford Branch
The GA Oxford Branch have a wide-ranging programme that includes both online and face-to-face events. However, they have specifically earmarked their funds so that they can reintroduce and reduce the cost of their primary schools’ fieldwork day in the summer of 2023.