The provision of training to empower teachers to effectively incorporate climate change within their lessons, and a national library of quality assured teaching resources, are part of the University’s Climate Education Action Plan which aims to reshape climate education in schools across the UK.
The Climate Education Action Plan – which was launched at COP26 on Monday 8 November – includes nine ways climate education can be immediately improved. The Plan was developed in partnership with organisations including the Department for Education, the Met Office, the Royal Meteorological Society, the Office for Climate Education, the EAUC – Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education, climate solutions charity, Ashden, and many young people, including climate youth campaigners.
The joint Plan will be co-owned, led and delivered by partners, including the Department for Education (DfE) and young people.
Empowering the next generation
It follows a Climate Education Summit organised by the University in September, where young people, scientists, education specialists, campaigners and policymakers, gathered to discuss how all pupils should be equipped with the knowledge and skills to adapt to and help tackle the impacts of climate change.
Professor Andrew Charlton-Perez, Head of the School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences at the University, said: “It really is vital that young people learn about the effects climate change is having on the planet and how it will impact on their lives. This will empower them to face a challenging future with confidence.
“There’s a lot of great work being done by teachers and schools around the country, but we have heard loud and clear, not least from young people, that we need a step change in climate education.
“It’s crucial that everyone – including teachers, school leaders, climate researchers and policymakers – work together to give all young people access to high-quality, up-to-date climate information. This is an issue that requires action right now. We are therefore delighted to have the support of the DfE and our partners to enact significant positive changes that can take place immediately.
“There’s so much good work we can draw on to make this happen and so much energy and enthusiasm for better climate education. If you think you can help us deliver the Action Plan, we would love to hear from you.”
Professor Robert Van de Noort, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said:
“This Climate Education Action Plan makes an important contribution to the University’s commitment to deliver meaningful solutions to the greatest problems facing the planet, and I am proud that we and our partners have delivered this action-based Plan that can start making a difference now.”
Among the Plan’s nine strands are pledges to provide continued professional development in climate education for everyone involved in teaching children in school and college settings, and the creation of a climate award for schools, colleges and youth organisations, led by the DfE.
The University will lead on three strands including the development of climate content in initial teaching training, which the Institute of Education has already made progress on for the current academic year.
The Plan also suggests schools and colleges identify a senior individual to lead on climate education, and that teachers and school leaders be empowered to ensure time for climate education within and beyond the teaching day.
It is aligned with the DfE’s draft Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy – which launched on Friday 5 November – and which also advocates the provision of training and quality resources on climate education for teachers.
A DfE spokesperson, said: “This Climate Education Action Plan supports important elements of the Government’s strategy to help young people develop their knowledge and skills to protect the environment.
“The DfE will play a leading role in delivering these actions. We are pleased to work with organisations that are world-leaders on climate change, and passionate about taking action for the future of our planet.”