8 July 2024
by Sarah Morgan

Call for UK climate education

Education and climate experts are calling for sustainability and climate education to be at the heart of the new UK Government's priorities.

© Chinnapong/Shutterstock

The Labour party, who now hold an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons making up the new government, have committed to making Britain a clean energy superpower and creating a modern educational curriculum in its election manifesto.

Launched at the Royal Meteorological Society Annual Weather and Climate Conference today (Monday 8 July) in Reading, UK, the National Climate Education Action Plan Curriculum Mapping report shows how these two commitments could be linked.

The report has been endorsed by, among others, IOM3 CEO Dr Colin Church CEnv FIMMM.

The report highlights the many opportunities to bring quality climate and sustainability education into the curriculum.

Professor Andrew Charlton-Perez, of the University of Reading,  launchd the report alongside Professor Liz Bentley, Chief Executive of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Professor Charlton-Perez says, ‘Including climate and sustainability within the curriculum review will be vital to ensuring that the new government delivers long-lasting reform that can prepare young people for the good green jobs of the future.’

The report highlights different options to improve climate education from the first week of the new government, and the pros and cons of each of these approaches.

They say there are opportunities for an expansion of current climate education by adjusting teaching within the current curriculum, or by making small but meaningful changes to current curriculum specifications.

The report includes detailed mapping showing where and how climate can fit into the curriculum.

The authors suggest these changes could be implemented quickly while a more comprehensive review takes place.

The report also highlights how greater inclusion of climate education fits with the government’s stated aim to make the curriculum rich, broad and inclusive.

Lisa Hoerning, a recent school leaver, states the desire among young people for the forthcoming curriculum review to incorporate climate and sustainability education as a theme that crosses subjects and educational levels.

She says, ‘The current curriculum studied by young people across England doesn’t educate us on the climate and ecological emergency, and, depending on your subject preferences, you can nearly skip the relevant content entirely.’

She also expressed her hope that that climate education, as demonstrated in the report, would be integrated across all subjects soon.

The report was produced by a group of authors from 14 educational organisations led by Professor Sylvia Knight, of the Royal Meteorological Society, and science education expert Dr Sean McQuaid. It is endorsed by a broad coalition of 60 organisations from schools, colleges, universities, climate charities and educational publishers.

The full National Climate Education Action Plan Curriculum Mapping report is online.

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