On the 12th October 2019, I stood in a classroom full of teachers at the NEU Climate Emergency conference, a countdown clock projected on a screen behind me ran down to zero, and the Teach the Future website was launched (in reality the website had been live for a couple of days, and the countdown was somewhat staged, but that's irrelevant). What's important, is that Teach the Future is one year old today.
I'm so proud of all this campaign has been able to do despite a very tough 12 months, so I'm taking this opportunity to write about some of that. We started off with just 1 volunteer, now we have over 30 plus 5 young staff. We also now have over 130 supporting organisations, have written well over 15 letters to the English government (including one signed by 1,000 students), have sent over 300 emails to MPs, and have met with the Scottish Education Minister.
To celebrate this important day, we've sent another email to Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education for England, which you can see below.
Launch Day - 12/10/2019
In front of a room of educators and campaigners at the NEU Climate Emergency Conference, we launched our campaign. Talks about the possible collaboration between UKSCN and SOS-UK had only begun a few months earlier but in this short amount of time, we were able to come up with practical asks to reform our education system.
Petition - 14/10/2019
Our petition for A review into how the education system prepares students for the climate crisis got 7,413 signatures before Parliament was closed on the 6th November.
Persuading the parties - 12/12/2019
In the lead up to the General Election, we were able to push some of the parties towards stronger climate education, with the Labour manifesto mentioning a review of the curriculum, and the Green Party manifesto specifically mentioning our English Climate Emergency Education Act.
Crowdfunder - 05/02/2020
Thanks to 552 kind supporters we were able to raise a whopping £11,256 through our Crowdfunder, which had an original target of £4,000.
Drafted a bill - 12/02/2020
We worked with a lawyer to write the very first education bill written by students, the Climate Emergency Education Bill. A lot of work went into our thinking about what our bill should say, including what acts of parliament we needed to change, and what amounts of money we will need to do what needs to be done.
Letter writing campaign - /02/2020
Over 50 MPs received letters about our asks from their constituents, and that dialogue continues, including detailed correspondence with Nick Gibb, Minister for Schools Standards, via Michael Gove, via one of his constituents. This dialogue has helped raise the profile of climate education with policymakers.
Press appearances - 25/02/2020
In the lead up to our Parliamentary Reception, we appeared all over the news, including on BBC Breakfast, The Guardian, Reuters and even Japan Times!
Parliamentary Reception - 26/02/2020
47 students in the Teach the Future team ran an event in parliament to introduce our campaign and bill to MPs. We think that, in total, over 70 MPs and peers joined us with fantastic cross-party support.
£30k funding secured - 15/04/2020
Teach the Future secured two incredibly generous donations to aid us in the continuation of the campaign. This allowed us to employ 5 of our students and a member of staff from the SOS-UK on secondment to allow TtF the capacity it needed to continue our exciting ventures into the future.
Push for a Green Recovery for Education - /06/2020
During June and July, we pushed for a Green Recovery from Coronavirus, one that includes the retrofitting of all education buildings in the UK. Our ask was listened too, as funding was given to retrofit education buildings in the Chancellor's mini-budget - however, we didn't achieve all that we asked for.
Adult Advisory Board - /06/2020
Lockdown wasn't stopping us, we decided to put together an Adult Advisory board full of people with great experience in education, campaigning, policy and construction. These people have been meeting with us monthly to advise our campaign since then!
1,105 students sign letter - 17/06/2020
We wrote a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for a Green Recovery for Education that over 1,100 students signed in just a few days.
We also sent over 300 letters to MPs on this topic.
Scotland Launch Day - 06/07/2020
During lockdown, we worked hard to create a Scotland-specific branch of the campaign, that marked their start with a letter to Nicola Sturgeon.
Meeting with John Swinney - 09/09/20
Our Scottish campaigners met with their Education Secretary where he agreed to consider including our asks in the SNP manifesto.
You'll notice that the last few months have been a bit less busy, this is partly because our student volunteers have been getting back to school (so have less time to contribute to Teach the Future) and also because we're in the process of planning something new and exciting for the campaign. Keep an eye out for more updates like this, we hope to launch Phase 2 for the campaign in a few months.