During COP26 back in November, Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi announced the Department for Education's draft Climate and Sustainability strategy as part of a joint summit between the world's education ministers. Six months on, the final strategy has been released; here's what we have to say about it.
While we welcome the strategy’s publication, we are left feeling underwhelmed and we believe this to be a missed opportunity to integrate climate education and become a world-leader in sustainability. Initially, the Secretary of State had committed to integrating sustainability and climate change - a move we had welcomed - but this has now been walked back. The only curriculum changes to come out of this strategy are the new optional GCSE in Natural History, and the new primary science model curriculum. We firmly believe that climate education must be woven through the education system like a golden thread throughout all subjects, so that no student is excluded; this new GCSE only continues to silo the crisis into geography and science based subjects.
Additionally, many of the commitments to teacher training have been dropped or weakened since the draft strategy, meaning teachers will continue to feel inadequately prepared to support students in learning about the climate crisis (see our research on this).
Overall, the strategy lacks measurable targets and does not set deadlines for the commitments it does lay out. As such, we are concerned that its implementation shall be un-impactful, and the country’s young people will only be let down once again.
Read our full reactive on our policy page.