23rd September 2005 at 01:00
All teachers can find it difficult staying up-to-date with their subjects, especially when they work in small departments or as isolated individuals.

Even if you've spent next month's pay, take the plunge and invest in joining your subject association. You'll find resources, courses, magazines and meet new colleagues you never knew you had.

The Geographical Association has a fight on its hands as the subject competes for pupils. More than 75,000 fewer candidates now take GCSE than ten years ago, and you may find you are the NQT and head of department in your school.

David Lambert, the GA's chief executive, said the organisation was "simply against geography teachers working in isolation".

By joining the association you will be part of a wider community of teachers, which will ensure your voice is heard at a time when interest in the subject is declining. What do you get? The association has a lively easy-to-navigate website with free resource downloads, discussion forums and a new feature - the diary pages of four newly-qualified teachers. There are also tips on how to persuade Year 9s to pick the subject for their options.

The next annual conference will be held in Manchester in April 2006, with Sensational Geography as its theme.

For a new teachers, joining fees start from pound;25.25, depending on the number of journals you order. Or persuade your school to pay for group membership out of its staff development or library budget. If you have to pay yourself, it is tax deductible.


Geographical Association, 160 Solly Street, Sheffield, S1 4BF. Tel: 0114 296 0088; www.geography.org.ukJournals: Primary Geographer, Teaching Geography, Geography

Andrew Stanley

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