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In this book, I have attempted to cover the sphere of Physical Geography for Senior High School/Secondary students. They should find many of the topics they will be examined on, presented in appropriate detail for the level of study. The book covers many more topics than are typically covered in examinations for 16-18 year-olds but this book has a second purpose in giving any young person who wishes to study Geography at University a solid grounding in a wide range of Physical Geography topics. I have provided Question sections that students can use to test themselves as well as Exam Style Questions to give an indication of what might be expected of them by way of assessment. Liberally scattered throughout are exam-style questions and marked answers, which I hope students will find helpful, in working out what exams require of them.


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The Atmosphere and Climate Change

This short book attempts to give a grounding in the Atmospheric system and the processes which are at work in the atmosphere. This background will hopefully give readers a better understanding of how human activity has influenced the world’s climate since the 19th century.

Small climatic changes noticeable over one lifetime are evidence of something very significant going on in the atmosphere. The changes in the British Isles may have been small yet noticeable; in other parts of the world faster-rising sea levels and advancing deserts pose a threat to homes and livelihoods which are very serious.

It should be clear that the carbon dioxide we have already put in the atmosphere will cause continued global warming for the rest of the 21st century. The challenge is to avoid further unnecessary damage to our planet.

My hope is that readers will feel better informed in regard to the climatic changes which we are all experiencing.

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Population and Migration

Population and Migration are Social Science topics which can attract a lot of media attention. Indeed, the media, through careless headlines and oversimplifications are capable of generating many myths based on a very crude understanding of the issues. The politicisation of these topics by both the right and left in politics can make it difficult to separate fact from fiction.

I will attempt to explain some basic concepts and terminology used in these topics and by examining the data available, plot a course through the myths and “fake news”.

There is no doubt the population increase since 1800 and the scale of the current world population - circa 7.7 billion – poses problems for governments and the natural environment. It took our species around 200,000 years to reach the population total of one billion but only a further 200 years to surpass seven billion and in 2020 we are adding around 80 million to the human population each year.

The rapid population growth does have consequences, as a larger population will have a larger resource requirement. The most noticeable pressure is on freshwater resources but the requirement to provide food has in recent years been the cause of tropical forest loss and overfishing in many of the world’s oceans. The increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which fuels climate change, has a direct relationship with world population size.

One of the myths which result in complacency is that “The population is going to stop growing soon” so why take any action. The UN has been doing population projections for many years and they have proved to be very accurate over the last 50 or so. Currently, the median projection from the UN, which does seem the most likely, predicts a peaking of the world population at 10.9 billion in 2100. Some scientists believe this size of population will place such strain on both renewable and non-renewable resources that the earth is heading for both an ecological and societal disaster. In 2017, thousands of scientists from around the world called attention to “widespread misery and biodiversity loss” unless humanity can reduce fertility rates and governments aim for a population which is more sustainable.

Some lobbies argue the real issue is about consumption, not population but it is clear that population is directly related to consumption and as affluence and access to technology increases, in what were once developing countries and are now considered to be newly industrialised countries (NIC’s), consumption will increase even faster than population.

We have in our lifetimes got used to a particular set of societal circumstances, for example retiring in our 60’s and having slightly smaller families. However, we take it hard when the retirement age is raised, and this perception of the norm is challenged. As countries around the world face a growing ageing population there is perhaps a need to reimagine the contribution that a fit, healthy and older population can contribute to society and also examine the belief that we need a large youthful population to support this ageing population.

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This book examines the Geography of WATER. Starting with the Global Hydrological Cycle and then examining selected landscapes shaped by water including Rivers, Coasts, and Water in Rocks such as Chalk and Carboniferous Limestone. Examining the development of coasts, scarp and vale scenery as well as upland Karst scenery. The book concludes with an examination of the geopolitics of water supply, a potential source of conflict in the 21st century.

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Thanks to Danny Murphy for this review of my recent book.

Leading: a handbook for aspiring leaders
(, Feb 2019)
Into this short book, Ritchie Cunningham distils his passion for education, evident in the lessons he shares from his experience of secondary school leadership at every stage of his teaching career, from novice teacher to long-serving headteacher. The style is easy and conversational rather than academic, the insights and lessons illustrated with stories and incidents from his personal experience. Key points are highlighted in bold text. Though the book is thus very readable, a lot of ground is covered in a structured way: the different styles of leadership that are appropriate to different situations – coaching, supporting, delegating, directing; setting priorities according to what is important and what is urgent (not always the same thing); developing and supporting others; the place of listening and consulting, not just speaking and writing, at the heart of a clear communication strategy that involves both face to face daily interaction and a clearly understood strategic vision.
In a school community, he contends, leadership has to be demonstrated every day. The right to lead is established not just in words but in actions, by example. Aspirant leaders need professional skills in teaching and education but also, depending on their role in the school community, management skills. These may include skills in staff management and development, curriculum and timetable management, financial management and behaviour management, supported by the all-important skills in communication. Leaders also generate excitement and positivity, are prepared to innovate, to seek new solutions to old problems. Skilled and effective leadership and management result in a strong, coherent, positive culture, underpinned by well understood and well-supported routines, the foundations on which a school’s pupils can thrive can achieve their potential. On the basis of such work aspirant leaders, and those in leadership positions, come to be trusted to lead, to make the right decisions, and to learn from those decisions that don’t come outright.
Any aspiring educational leader has much to learn from this readable distillation of the lessons Ritchie learned during his career, particularly as headteacher of Inverness High School, the school which benefitted most from his own wise and capable leadership.
Danny Murphy
Honorary Fellow at University of Edinburgh

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Behaviour Management in Schools

This short book gives an introduction into managing behaviour in a school setting. Written by a former high school headteacher who was in post for 23 years. The book sets out by giving some answers to basic questions about behaviour management in schools illustrated with personal insights. The book builds towards the last two chapters which outline a sample training course for staff and then an outline of a sample school policy and procedure. The book will be of interest to teachers of any background as well as managers charged with maintaining order in schools.

Contents include:

Why manage behaviour in schools?

What is low level disruption?

What is required of schools – in regard to behaviour management?

Developing a behaviour management policy



Sanctions for poor behaviour

Developing a school ethos or culture

How to manage pupil behaviour in the classroom

The importance of teacher professionalism

The basic elements of behaviour management

A staff training programme

One school’s behaviour management scheme