See Press Release here.
Today the government has announced that they plan to invest £1bn into a ten-year school retrofit and rebuilding plan, this comes after Teach the Future has been pushing for a Green Recovery for Education, a similar but significantly more ambitious 10-year retrofit plan.
We welcome this announcement and are very glad that we have been able to influence recovery investment, however, we also recognise that much more needs to come:
We call on the government to increase this investment to almost £30bn, to cover the £6.7bn¹ needed for repairs, and the £23bn² required to retrofit the entire education estate to net-zero emissions.
Our campaign for a Green Recovery for Education included multiple letters to Gavin Williamson, Boris Johnson, Alok Sharma, Rishi Sunak and over 200 MPs contacted by students. It also included an open letter signed by 1,105 students on 17th June to Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for government investment into all UK education buildings and a similar letter by 52 environment and education organisations sent yesterday.
Joe Brindle, 18, Teach the Future founder says: “We have been calling for an ambitious ten-year schools and colleges rebuilding plan, and welcome the news that the government has listened to us. We’re glad to see that the Department for Education will be making some schools and colleges more energy-efficient, however, we think that this investment should be significantly increased so that all education buildings are retrofitted to net-zero by 2030. Doing this will create thousands of green jobs, ensure post-COVID investment is spread across the country, reduce the UK’s emissions and inspire students to live sustainably.
Additionally, we don’t just need our school and college buildings to be sustainable, but also need our education as a whole to reflect the severity of the climate crisis. Therefore, the Department for Education needs to make sustainability a key principle in education.”
Zamzam Ibrahim, 26, President of the National Union of Students & Teach the Future campaigner says: “Young people have suffered some of the greatest impacts from this lockdown, with our educational and career prospects put at risk. The government should do the right thing and make sure that post-COVID investment doesn’t leave us behind but instead improves our education.”
Scarlett Westbrook, 15, Teach the Future campaigner says: “During the election, the Conservatives committed to 'levelling up' the country. Investing in retrofitting all education buildings to net-zero emissions will create tens of thousands of green jobs, ensure investment is spread across the country, help stimulate the UK economy, reduce the UK's carbon emissions, and inspire students to live more sustainably - helping fulfil this manifesto promise. We look forward to being invited by Mr Sunak to discuss this matter further.”
We, the students in Teach the Future, hope to meet with Gavin Williamson or Rishi Sunak so that we can further make the case to include investment in retrofitting all educational buildings to net-zero in post-COVID19 economic recovery plans.
¹ Repairing all school buildings to a satisfactory standard will cost an estimated £6.7bn, according to a National Audit Office report. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39043733
² Teach the Future and Energise report into cost of net-zero education buildings. http://www.teachthefuture.uk/asks