The 2019 Geoscience Education Academy

Last week we held the Geoscience Education Academy, a two-day teacher training course for secondary school teachers and teacher trainees. The course aims to boost teachers’ Earth science subject knowledge while providing innovative teaching ideas and activities that can be delivered in the classroom.

Geology as an individual subject is often not taught in secondary schools in the UK. Even schools that do teach geology have noticed a decline in the uptake of GCSE and A Level in the last five years, with a consequent knock on decrease in undergraduate Earth science degree applications. Earth scientists are critical for tackling some of society’s most pressing issues – whether through meeting the challenges of decarbonisation and sustainability, mitigating climate change, exploring for and extracting critical resource minerals and metals to meet future demand, understanding and communicating the effects of geohazards or enabling global access to clean water supplies. It is crucial for the current cohort of geography and science teachers to engage their students in these topics during geography and science subject lessons as well as in geology lessons so that they might be inspired to become society’s future Earth scientists.

This is where the Geoscience Education Academy comes in….

The CPD course, led by Pete Loader (Chief Examiner for WJEC Geology, Chair of Geological Society Education Committee and past Chair of the Earth Science Teachers Association) and Dr Matt Loader (Postdoctoral Researcher in igneous geochemistry at Natural History Museum) provides attendees with a whistle stop tour of all things Earth science. Packed full of interesting activities and experiments, the workshops this year included tectonic hazards and a nice cup of tea, planetary geology, mineral exploration, Google tectonics, washing line of time, a journey to the centre of the Earth and our climate disaster. Teachers also learnt how to describe rock properties found in London building stones in an urban geology fieldtrip and were treated to a guest lecture on slow slip earthquakes by Dr Rebecca Bell from Imperial College.

A few quotes from our 2019 cohort:

‘Very useful and informative with information presented at an appropriate level.’

‘Thank you for a really well run and hugely informative course. Excellent CPD is worth its weight in gold.’

‘This was a really lovely couple of days, I feel I have taken on board some very valuable ‘philosophical’ lessons about education for life rather than teaching to pass exams.’

‘Fantastic course!! Loved getting to know other teachers around the area as well! Matt and Pete were really friendly – thanks!’


2019 Geoscience Education Academy attendees


If you are a teacher or teacher trainee interested in attending future Earth science courses, please sign up to be one of our Geological Society School Affiliates to receive information on upcoming opportunities.

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