Guidance on the Government's strategy for the education and children’s services systems.

Introduction

The Government has launched its Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy as part of wider plans for the UK education sector to become a world leader in climate change by 2030.

The strategy comprises short, medium and longer term actions that the Government has identified as playing a key role in achieving four strategic aims:

  1. Excellence in education and skills for a changing world: preparing all young people for a world impacted by climate change through learning and practical experience.

  2. Net zero: reducing direct and indirect emissions from education and care buildings, driving innovation to meet legislative targets and providing opportunities for children and young people to engage practically in the transition to net zero.

  3. Resilience to climate change: adapting our education and care buildings and system to prepare for the effects of climate change.

  4. A better environment for future generations: enhancing biodiversity, improving air quality and increasing access to, and connection with, nature in and around education and care settings.

The strategy is divided into five Action Areas:

  • Climate education.

  • Green skills and careers.

  • Education estate and digital infrastructure.

  • Operations and supply chains.

  • International.

There are several flagship initiatives that cross-cut more than one of these five themes, as well as a number of activities and plans that directly relate to one action area.

The larger initiatives are primarily the National Education Nature Park and the Climate Leaders’ Award, which are explained in more detail below.

National Education Nature Park

This project will consider the whole physical education estate as a virtual National Education Nature Park.

The idea behind this is that it will encourage children and young people to get more involved in the natural world. They will then upload their progress on the park’s digital mapping services, helping them develop skills such as scientific and data analysis by participating in activities such as biodiversity mapping.

The Nature Park will be supported by an online hub, which will enable the sharing of best practice across the education estate. The intention is that over time, it will go beyond biodiversity to show impact and climate resilience, including flood, overheating and air quality status of the estate.

Teachers will be provided with free, high-quality climate education resources as part of the Nature Park hub.

Climate Leaders Award

The Climate Leaders Award has been developed with the aim of helping children and young people develop their skills and knowledge in biodiversity and sustainability and celebrate and recognise their work in protecting the local environment.

The award will provide a structured route following existing awards in this area, for example, the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Children and young people will acquire credits towards the Climate Leaders Award.

It has also been announced that a new GCSE in natural history will be introduced by September 2025.

Support for teaching

The strategy contains a section on ‘Support for teaching’ which is the most pertinent part for NASUWT members.

From 2022, the strategy states that:

  • climate change and sustainability will be included in science teachers’ CPD;

  • content on sustainability will be included when the DfE is tendering for new CPD (when relevant to the subject area);

  • pilot projects will be delivered through the National Education Nature Park, which will test an approach for sharing university climate expertise and learning opportunities with colleges, schools and nurseries;

  • best practice will be shared by the DfE to demonstrate how sustainability and climate change has been incorporated into teaching;

  • further steps will be considered for supporting the teaching of sustainability in relevant subjects, for example the circular economy in design and technology;

  • there will be a continuation in the work with higher education to identify collaborative working opportunities to further enhance best practice in teacher training;

  • relevant teaching resources from other government departments will be promoted and shared.

There are further actions outlined that will be taken by 2023, including the development of a Primary Science Model Curriculum.

The full strategy can be found on the DfE website.

Next steps

The NASUWT will monitor for further details or updates and continue to engage with the DfE on the strategy and the implementation of it.   

The Union will provide further updates to members as appropriate.

 

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