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Young Geographer of the Year competition 2014

Young Geographer of the Year (YGOTY) competition, run in partnership with the Geographical, is for geography pupils aged nine to 18.  It is awarded every year alongside the Rex Walford award which recognises the work of a trainee or new geography teacher. 

The question for the 2014 YGOTY competition and accompanying and Rex Walford Award is:

‘How can geography help you?’

Pupils are asked to relate the value of geography to a number of different settings. The significance of both human and physical geography could be considered at a variety of different levels.  Pupils should demonstrate how geography can support their everyday lives, improve their understanding of the world’s people, places and environments and help to prepare them for life beyond school.

We want to hear how geography, be it the knowledge young people learn, the understanding they gain, or skills they develop, helps them in different aspects of their lives. This help might be at many different levels:

  • At school
  • At home with your family
  • When you travel and go on holidays
  • When you think about current events at home or abroad
  • Whether it will help you with further study, perhaps at university
  • Or lead to a particular career you would like to do

We are interested in answers which might look at both the serious and the fun sides of geography and particularly want to see how entrants can relate the value of geography to a number of different settings.  We welcome applications which, as appropriate for the age range, recognise the value of both human and physical geography. 

For the all categories appropriate and accurate geographical vocabulary should be used and we will provide additional credit for entries which use primary data collected by the student, alongside
secondary data.

The competition has four categories: 9-11(Key Stage Two), 11-14 (Key Stage Three), 14-16 (GCSE) and 16-18 (A Level students).

The Society encourages schools to run their own local semi-finals before entering their top placed entries into the national competition. This entry certificate (PDF) can be used for students who enter the competition.

Closing date
The deadline for entries to both the YGOTY competition and Rex Walford Award will be 17.00 Friday 24 October 2014.

The Society regrets that it is unable to acknowledge receipt of entries, return entries or provide feedback on entries and the decision of the Society’s judges are final.

2014 winners have now been personally notified and invited to the award ceremony.

The winners will receive their prizes at a special ceremony at the Society’s headquarters in Kensington, London on Friday 28th November 2014.


Rex Walford Award 2014

This award for trainee or teachers who have just started their careers(*). It reflects the late Rex Walford’s passion for training new geography teachers and the important role of geography teachers in inspiring their pupils about this subject.

Linked to the Young Geographer of the Year competition, this year’s award asks entrants to produce a short scheme of work, covering at least three lessons, focusing on the question “How can geography help you?”  The Society welcomes innovative and effective approaches to engaging pupils with this question and would also be interested to see examples of pupils work that have resulted from the lessons. 

Closing date
The deadline for entries to both the YGOTY competition and Rex Walford Award will be 17.00 Friday 24 October 2014. The winner will receive their prize at a special ceremony at the Society’s headquarters in Kensington, London on Friday 28th November 2014.

(* e.g. PGCE, Teach First, Schools Direct, NQT &/or colleagues in a similar stage in their careers)


Young Geographer of the Year competition 2013 - the results

Young geographers proved they know their local and UK geography, as the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and Geographical magazine’s Young Geographer of the Year 2013 winners were announced. The awards were presented to students in a special ceremony at the Society’s headquarters in Kensington, London on Friday 29 November 2013.

This year's question was 'How does either the human or physical geography of your local area compare to the rest of the UK?'. Pupils were asked to use different sources of geographical information and data to research their local area and compare it to the national picture in the UK. The question allowed students to look at the way in which geography surrounds us all and to better understand the connections, similarities and differences between their local area and the national picture in the UK.

Commenting on the winners, Steve Brace, Head of Education at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), said: “We were very impressed with the level of work the pupils produced.  Their entries drew on many different sources of geographical information, as well as local fieldwork and first-hand data collection, and illustrated high levels of geographical understanding and analysis".

The competition has categories for Key Stage Two, Key Stage Three, GCSE and A Level students. 

Each category had one overall winner and three highly commended entries. The winners were:

Nine to 11 years category (KS2)

Winner: Sami Williams (JPG) Colet Court School

Highly Commended entries:

Twelve to 14 years category (KS3)

Winner: Oliver Mills (JPG) Queen Mary's Grammar School

Highly Commended entries:

Fourteen to 16 years category (KS4)

Winner: George Breckenridge (JPG) Roundhay School

Highly Commended entries:

Sixteen to 18 years category (KS5)

Winner: Ian Cheung (PDF) Loughborough Grammar School

Highly Commended entries:

Full media release (PDF)

For schools that entered the competition but did not get through to the final stages, there is an Entry commendation certificate (PDF) that you can present to your students for entering.


Rex Walford Award 2013 – for student teachers or teaching colleagues new to the classroom

The Society was also delighted to announce the winner of The Rex Walford Award 2013 for PGCE students and newly qualified geography teachers (NQT), reflecting the late Rex Walford’s passion for training new geography teachers. This was awarded for the best set of teaching resources, scheme of work or lesson plans linked to this year's Young Geographer competition. The winner of the annual award in 2013 was Helen Bambridge from Sir William Borlase's Grammar School in Buckinghamshire. Helen can be seen in the slideshow above.

Supported by:

Cotswold Outdoor Ordnance Survey
Philips Stanfords
British Academy Support is provided by the British Academy, as part of their Quantitative Skills programme


David W Smith Memorial Prize 2014 Essay Competition

Supported by Routledge Publishers

The Developing Areas Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) runs an annual essay competition in memory of David W. Smith. David W Smith, who also published under the name of David Drakakis Smith, was an outstanding scholar committed to researching on Third World cities. He died in 1999.

A2 level students in England and Wales and Advanced Higher students in Scotland are invited to write an essay of up to 1500 words on the following title:

Examine the view that levels of inequality are increasing within cities in the Global South.

Essay prize: £100 in book vouchers.

Essays should be word processed, double spaced.

Essays must be received by Friday 28 February 2014. Please include your name, school and contact details with your essay. Your teacher must confirm that the essay is your own work. If you would like to acknowledge receipt of your essay please include a stamped addressed envelope.

Submit either hard copy or electronic copy to the address below.

Gill Miller
David W Smith Memorial Prize
Department of Geography and Development Studies
University of Chester College
Parkgate Road
Chester CH1 4BJ

Electronic copies and queries should be directed to g.miller@chester.ac.uk

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