At last, climate change is at the heart of education

Young people will be empowered to take action on the environment as part of new measures designed to put climate change at the heart of education.
Young people will be empowered to take action on the environment as part of new measures designed to put climate change at the heart of education.

Announcing a range of measures in a speech at COP26 on 5 November 2021, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi set out his vision for all children to be taught about the importance of conserving and protecting our planet.

Teachers will be supported to deliver world-leading climate change education through a model science curriculum, which will be in place by 2023, to teach children about nature and their impact on the world around them.
Children and young people will also be encouraged to get involved in the natural world by increasing biodiversity in the grounds of their nursery, school or college by taking small steps like installing bird feeders.

They will be able to upload their data onto a new, virtual National Education Nature Park – which will allow them to track their progress against other schools in the country, increase their knowledge of different species and develop skills in biodiversity mapping.
Combined, the grounds of schools, colleges, nurseries and universities in England take up an area over twice the size of Birmingham, so improving their biodiversity could have a significant impact on the environment.

Children and young people will also be able to undertake a new Climate Award in recognition for their work to improve their environment, with a prestigious national awards ceremony held every year.

The Climate Leaders Award will help children and young people develop their skills and knowledge in biodiversity and sustainability, and celebrate and recognise their work in protecting the local environment. For example, young people may choose to undertake a project that delivers change in their local community, such as increasing the biodiversity of a neighbourhood piece of land or helping to deliver experiences for younger children to explore nature and local woodland.

EAUC are working closely with the Sustainability Unit over the coming months to ensure colleges and universities are at the heart of their strategy and to encourage them to be much more ambitious with their plans. We will keep members updated throughout this process.

In response to this announcement, EAUC's CEO Iain Patton, said:

“We are delighted that Education Ministers from around the world were finally invited to COP26, but we still have much more to do. We need ALL universities and colleges around the world to commit to net-zero targets, and we need to get our own house in order to fully integrate climate education in the curriculum in the UK – it is clearly just not good enough to have a few hours in Geography or Science.

“Students and other young people are looking at us for leadership and we need to take bold steps to provide the skills and knowledge that young people will need to thrive. To quote the Italian Education Minister, Patrizio Bianchi, “everything starts with education and every career is a sustainable career”.

Find out more here
Delivered by EAUC