The NASUWT recognises the urgent need for governments, businesses and the international community to collectively address the issues that have led to the current climate crisis. The climate crisis represents one of the greatest threats to the health, welfare and future life chances of our members and the children and young people they teach. Rising temperatures are also fuelling environment damage, creating food and water insecurity, and causing weather extremes that can have devastating effects on communities and people’s lives.

The NASUWT believes that if the issue of climate change is not prioritised, and decisive action is not taken swiftly through a global response, there will be disastrous consequences for the future of the planet and humanity.

As a union, we have set out our own commitments to reducing our carbon footprint, operating under environmentally sustainable solutions and aligning our work with other partners who share the NASUWT’s vision. These steps will aid our progress towards the longer term goal of becoming a net zero carbon union by 2050. As part of this, we have set out our position statement on Climate Change and Sustainability, as well as our plans for how we will secure sustainable activities.

A key part of understanding the impact of climate change and rising global temperatures is the issue of climate justice. This looks at the human cost of the climate crisis and is recognition that the impact of climate change will not be borne equally. Many global communities, in particular in developing countries, will be disproportionately affected.

The NASUWT is also aware that many of our members, as well as the children and young people they teach, are concerned about their futures and that of the next generations and are therefore striving for long-term environmental sustainability.

We have made clear our belief that education has a critical contribution to addressing the climate crisis, securing climate justice and safeguarding a more sustainable world for future generations. We have long argued about the importance of education on environmental issues, encompassing climate change and climate justice, within the relevant areas of the curriculum.

NASUWT position

The NASUWT strongly advocates for pupils to receive an entitlement to access a broad and balanced education which encourages learning for life. The teaching of environmental issues, including climate change and climate justice, is an important part of this.

The NASUWT has identified ten fundamental principles of effective curricular provision and approaches to climate justice should comply with these principles. The principle to promote the values of equality, community cohesion, social justice and international solidarity, with a view to preparing pupils to live and participate in a globalised world is particularly relevant to climate justice. The NASUWT believes that adopting an equality and human rights perspective will enable pupils to engage critically with the issues of climate justice and is an important part of an effective curriculum.

The concepts and definitions of climate justice are complex and varied. Therefore, the NASUWT would advocate strongly that schools locate climate justice within a framework of equality and human rights and offer space for debate on the different notions of climate justice, as well as its implementation and implications for national and international policy.

The NASUWT believes that a 21st century curriculum entitlement is essential for economic prosperity, future employment and social mobility. This topic, in the context of the climate crisis, is explored further in the NASUWT’s analysis of Climate Change and the Future Life Chances of Children and Young People.

The NASUWT will continue to press governments to ensure schools can offer a curriculum that secures breadth and balance, including curriculum provision in schools that allows space for pupils to explore perspectives of climate justice within the context of climate change.

The NASUWT would encourage schools to exploit the scope already available in existing curriculum frameworks to explore the issues and implications of both climate change and climate justice.

The NASUWT is committed to working with organisations nationally and internationally to support the work of teachers in promoting education for climate justice and sustainable development. Where appropriate, we will share resources and information with members that may assist in the teaching of environmental issues.