Government plans to build sustainability into teaching in schools and colleges in England and Wales have been backed by pioneers of ‘planet education’ in LJMU’s School of Education.
Attending the launch in Westminster of the government’s flagship Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy, Dr Diane Boyd, senior lecturer in early years, said: “This is a step in the right direction but we need to go further and educate the youngest children about protecting our planet.”
The national strategy, announced by Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi (Thurs, 21 April), sees a new GSCE in natural history from 2025 and an accelerated rollout of carbon literacy training to support sustainability leads in every locally maintained nursery, school, college and university.
The minister also pledged greater support for teaching climate change at all levels and by 2023 there will be new requirements for further education teachers to build sustainability into their teaching.
The School of Education has been at the forefront of developing teaching resources for sustainability and in December 2021 launched a toolkit for teachers of nursery and infant pupils with the NCFE.
Dr Boyd, who represents early years in the DfE’s working groups on sustainability was among VIP guests to meet the Secretary of State last week at the Natural History Museum, where explorer and naturalist Bear Grylls also spoke.
She said: “I spoke to Nadhim and he has agreed to meet and discuss climate change and early years education at greater length.
“I have also been invited by the DfE early years policy unit to write sustainability matters to support the government strategy.”
According to Diane, the goals of protecting the planet are still not filtering into formal education, nationally or globally.
In an interview in December, she said: “There seems to be a long way to go in this instance. The majority of serving teachers seem unaware of education for sustainability or the key UNESCO framework for 2030. Conversations I have had with many teachers in developing my latest resource underline a lack of awareness of the three pillars of sustainability - climate education, economic and socio-cultural sustainability. Research has shown that you cannot ‘do’ one pillar without the other two, as it weakens the impact.”