Inclusion of Teach the Future Scotland's Asks in Party Manifestos

Anna Brown
May 2, 2021

Over the past months, members of Teach the Future Scotland have been lobbying the five key parties in Scotland for the inclusion of our asks and policy recommendations in each parties manifestos. This is a milestone for our campaign as it means we can effectively hold the government to account on these policies.

I will go and rank each party on the inclusion of our asks in their manifesto as well as the general embedding of climate education. 

  1. A Government-commissioned review into how the whole of the Scottish formal education system is preparing students for the climate emergency and ecological crisis; 
  2. The inclusion of the climate emergency and ecological crisis in teacher education and a new professional teaching qualification;
  3. Increased priority for sustainability in school inspections and publicly influencing educational rankings;
  4. A Scottish Climate and Biodiversity Emergency Education Act.
  5. Embedment of climate justice education throughout the curriculum.

Scottish National Party

As the largest party, the SNP’s manifesto is the most important to influence, as they are the most likely to be involved in any government that forms.

In their manifesto, SNP said “we support the inclusion of the climate emergency and ecological crisis in teacher training and a new professional teaching qualification to help the continued upskilling of educators.”

This is a direct copy of Ask 2 which is a major step towards embedding climate justice in the curriculum.

The SNP also promises the implementation of the Learning for Sustainability action plan and a goal of renewable or zero-emissions heating in all new buildings from 2024.

Score: 3/5

Scottish Labour and Co-operative Party

We are glad to see that Scottish Labour has supported our campaign in addition to working with Teach the Future U.K on other projects. 

In their manifesto, the party states “we need a comprehensive review of Curriculum for Excellence, including broad general education and the senior phase. A key part ... must be the inclusion and expansion of vocational education in school settings... We will also strengthen life skills education ... and enable the climate change emergency to be addressed in the curriculum.”

The promise for a review relates to Ask 1, however we are unsure whether or not this will comply with our terms of a climate education focussed review such as being led by an independent chair.

The contribution of life skills education including the climate change emergency, is appreciated due to it being the overall aim of Teach the Future Scotland. 

Score: 2/5

Scottish Green Party

The Scottish Green Party were the first to announce the inclusion of Teach the Future in their manifesto despite being a smaller party and they have played a key role in government policies in the most recent parliament. 

The party’s manifesto says “Teach the future. This generation of young people will live their adult lives in an era defined by the climate emergency. The Scottish Greens will integrate climate education throughout both phases of the Curriculum for Excellence, ensure that teachers are properly supported through both Initial Teacher Education and Continuing Professional Development to deliver this, and give learning for sustainability greater prominence in inspections.”

This relates to our overall aim of the inclusion of climate justice education through all stages of education as well as empowering this through including Ask 2 and aspects of Ask 3.

Score: 4/5

Scottish Liberal Democrats 

This party was the first to interact with Teach the Future Scotland and has shown support in other projects such as the Heat Networks Bill.

In their manifesto, the party promises to “increase the capacity of schools to teach about the climate emergency by increasing the support given in initial teacher training and providing additional subject-specific materials.”

This helps to achieve the overall goal of embedding climate education and also includes Ask 2 of Teach the Future Scotland.

Score: 2/5

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Out of the five main parties, the Conservatives show the weakest promises on climate education.

Their manifesto only states “Beyond education, schools also play a crucial role in supporting the health and wellbeing of children and young people. Issues such as nutrition and climate responsibility should be embedded within the curriculum from an early age.”

There is no direct mention of any of our Asks and climate responsibility is an individualist term with no plan for implementation.

Score: 0/5


All major parties in Scotland mention climate education in some form, however, the detail of each extremely varies.

Remember to vote this May 6th in the Scottish Parliament elections and please vote for climate!