Education and climate experts call on new government to prioritise ‘sustainability and climate education’

Jul 8, 2024

the chemical formula for carbon dioxide written in chalk on a blackboard

A coalition of 60 organisations from schools, colleges, universities, climate charities and educational publishers, has today launched a report highlighting opportunities to bring climate and sustainability education into the curriculum – vital for green economy jobs.

In its election manifesto, the Labour party, now the new government, have committed to making Britain a clean energy superpower and to a new, modern educational curriculum.

The National Climate Education Action Plan Curriculum Mapping 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.

The climate action report was launched today at the Royal Meteorological Society Annual Weather and Climate Conference today by Professor Andrew Charlton-Perez, of the University of Reading, together with Professor Liz Bentley, chief executive of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Professor Andrew Charlton-Perez, commented: “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 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.

In the foreword to the report, Lisa Hoerning, a recent school leaver, makes clear the desire amongst young people for the forthcoming curriculum review to incorporate climate and sustainability education as a theme that crosses subjects and educational levels.

She said: “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 in the near future climate education, as demonstrated in the report, would be integrated across all subjects.

EngineeringUK launched brand new schools programme, Climate Schools Programme in November, a cross-curricular approach covering science, geography and English, as well as supporting teachers to improve their knowledge and teaching practice of this area. The programme helps students explore solutions to tackle climate change and discover how engineers, and engineering and technology are key to this.

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

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