Geographical Association’s Annual Conference – A Geographer’s Dream

Last updated: Jan 30th, 2019

This weekend Manchester University Place became the epicentre for geography lovers, with over 700 primary, secondary and FE teachers, lecturers, advisors, inspectors, head teachers and heads of department all making their way to be part of the Geographical Association’s (GA) annual conference.  Attendees had the opportunity to take part in a variety of lectures, workshops and social events and discover the latest ideas, resources and support in primary and secondary geography.

While Rayburn Tours have been ‘rocking’ up to the GA Conference for many years, this year saw the appearance of two conference newbies – Megan and Tracey, alongside Cath our Geography Tours Development Manager.


For those of you who have become accustomed to seeing Rayburn’s Jackie attending (and many of you have been asking after her) she has not hung up her walking boots, just let someone else take to the stand. We’re sure she won’t be able to keep away next year though!

The crowds came flooding in

Both Friday and Saturday morning started off with a quick cup of tea (as all good days should), before the doors opened and geography teachers and lovers came flooding in.

Cup of tea

With so many workshops and lectures taking place, we couldn’t resist nipping in to some ourselves! Megan sat in on GA President Steve Rawlinson’s address, where he gave insight into how geography had played such a role in his own life, from his primary education where his own teacher at a rural school in Buckinghamshire got them out in the great outdoors, to his current position at the GA.

Putting the meanderings back into teaching

Steve’s talk was exploding with tips for teachers, such as putting the meanderings back into teaching with the ‘wildthink’ approach. Many scribbled down ideas they were going to take away and use in their own teaching, there were nods of agreement, as well as laughter in all the appropriate places. It was clear Steve was talking from the heart and the session ended with the audience erupting into a round of applause!

MH at stand

Throughout the day, we were lucky enough to meet with enthusiastic teachers all dedicated to getting their students fired up about geography. We chatted with many party leaders who’d travelled with Rayburn Tours on a number of occasions, as well as those who’d just returned from a geographical trip of a lifetime with us, thrilled with the experiences they’d had, if not relieved to have some time away from the students…we can’t fault you!

We also loved meeting with plenty of new faces. Whether interested in The Netherlands or The Bay of Naples, Sicily or Singapore, all were ready to start planning an amazing international adventure.

A four legged friend

We even met with a four legged friend, handsome puppy Zeb from Dogs for Good, who posed beautifully for a photo with Tracey… even if he did have to be bribed with treats.


“Geography is a subject that becomes a way of life.”

One thing’s for sure, geographers are a friendly and enthusiastic bunch. We certainly enjoyed ourselves and hope all those attending have picked up plenty of ideas and inspiration to bring geography alive for their students. After all, as Steve put it, “Geography is a subject that becomes a way of life.”