We Took Our Fight To Gavin Williamson’s Doorstep

Charlie Sweetman
August 12, 2021

On Wednesday 11th August, the day after A-level, AS-level and Scottish results day and the day before GCSE results day across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Teach the Future took our calls for increased climate education to Gavin Williamson’s doorstep: at the Department for Education in London.

In a week that has seen the IPCC report state that climate breakdown is impacting every region of the planet and show the scale of disaster on our hands,  and that will see another year of students be adversely impacted by Williamson’s botched exam grading, young people are tired of the bad deal this government is handing us. So,  students from Teach the Future and the UK Student Climate Network decided to unite for a new type of results day; a results day to show the Education Secretary how he has performed in the position supposedly “supporting young people’s education” while ignoring our letters over 20 times!

With results being given to hundreds of thousands of students across the country this week, we think it is more important than ever to raise awareness of the grave inequalities being exacerbated by our education system, as the foundation of our society, and its failures by not teaching students adequately about the environment, climate justice and sustainability - which will be the knowledge and skills they require in a future on a burning planet. So, what do grades matter if their classes and exams aren’t truly teaching young people what they need to know? The ultimate culmination of a young person’s educational career - an end of  traditional learning for many - is merely a façade for unpreparedness for future life.

As Gavin Williamson and his party refuse to listen to the science around them and to us, by not enacting comprehensive climate education, we decided to give him a report card on the way he has acted in his position and the generations he has failed:

  • Devaluing students - A*
  • Ignoring climate campaigns - A*
  • Better climate education -  U
  • Providing green vocational courses - U
  • Sustainable schools - U

Alongside his report card, we handed a letter into the Department, took part in a teach-in with modified climate education textbooks from Teach the Future, picket lines with banners and chanting as well as engaging in conversations with members of the public who were interested in our campaign and what our aims are.

Although a smaller action compared to many climate protests, it was certainly an impactful one with much engagement (including social media coverage and support from Jeremy Corbyn MP and Huck Magazine). This is just the beginning for our actions and it certainly will not be the last, as we will continue to fight for climate education until those in power #TeachTheFuture.

Cover Photo: Oscar Blair