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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2007  /  The Fawcett Fellowships – Support for School Teachers

The Fawcett Fellowships – Support for School Teachers

Two school geography teachers have started on the Fawcett Fellowships that fund teachers on a 4-month stay in the department to refresh their knowledge in their subject.

The Fawcett Fellowships – Support for School Teachers

The autumn term is the season for the Fawcett Fellowship, when school geography teachers can take time out to refresh their knowledge of their chosen subject.  The Fellowship covers the replacement costs to their schools of two mid-career school geography teachers to spend four months in self-directed study in the Department.

This year the two teachers to win the Fellowships are Neil Hunter, head of the geography department at Porth Community School, Rhondda, South Wales; and Neil Lobo, of Vyner’s School, Ickenham in West London.  Although they both have the same first name, they do have different ideas about how they will spend their time in the Department.

Neil Hunter’s focus is A Level and key stage 3.  He’ll be developing learning resources and assessment packages for those groups.

His particular interest is urban regeneration – the re-branding of urban areas like the Greenwich Millennium village, or the impending gentrification in the Deptford area, which is becoming an artistic quarter.  Also the gentrification in the Kentish Town area of Islington, and the provision of social housing in the Hammersmith/Fulham area.  These topics are particularly pertinent now because they will be one of the areas in the new revised A Level which starts being taught in September 08.  It has a whole unit on re-branding in the urban environment.  But as he lives in the Welsh Borders, Neil Hunter is also interested in the re-branding going on in the rural environment.  He will use some of his time on the Fawcett Fellowship to investigate agricultural diversification. He wants to develop teaching packs on both urban and rural areas that can be used by different year groups.  Each year’s pack would be based on the same material, but it could be presented differently for each age group, thereby maximising the return from one visit by Neil Hunter to each site.

Neil Lobo will be concentrating on London.  He aims to learn more about the capital – he says Londoners often get stuck in their own little areas and do not fully interact with the city.  He will use the Fellowship time to develop a series of lessons on the city for children in year 7.  Neil Lobo is very interested in how London operates as a community, and will be looking into how he can link that sense of community into effective learning patterns in the school community.

Both teachers will be setting up field visits while they are here –  putting the whole day together, drawing up good fieldwork activities and exploring the sites to which they want to take their students – places like the Arsenal football club, the Olympic site in East London, and the Greenwich Millennium village.

Both teachers are very appreciative of the opportunity the Fellowship gives them - time to think and study.  They are not really able to do much of that when in school, as they are so busy teaching and doing paperwork.

Neil Lobo is looking forward to attending lectures, and getting up-to-date information – he says the examples in the textbooks teachers have available are often 10 or 15 years old.  Neil Hunter will attend lectures as well, but he will also use the time to put his pre-inspection material together into a handbook.

As they have just started at the beginning of September, neither can comment much on the Department, except to praise its resources, and the friendliness of the staff. But they have high hopes - Neil Hunter says he applied for the fellowship because he was aware of the Department’s reputation for academic excellence and had heard of its great resources.  And for Neil Lobo, the Fellowship is an opportunity to study current developments in geography that he just could not refuse.