2020 has been a whirlwind of a year but despite everything Teach the Future has made progress across the four nations of the U.K and started an international campaign.
We started the year with a parliamentary reception at Westminster with 100 parliamentarians to launch the English Climate Emergency Education Act, the first-ever student-written bill. Following this, the team ran a green recovery for education campaign across the U.K resulting in 1105 students signing a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking for a £23 billion investment in net-zero education buildings, only £1 billion was announced. In June, we created an Adult Advisory Board full of people with significant education, campaigning, policy and construction who met with us monthly. This has been immensely helpful with our campaign progress, especially concerning net-zero buildings.
Excitingly, in July, we launched the Teach the Future Scotland campaign with a banner drop outside the Scottish Parliament and a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Firstly, the group had a meeting with John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education, and Liam Cahill, a policy advisor to the First Minister, discussing our asks and how they can support these in government. The campaign also met with Cabinet Secretaries Iain Grey and Claudia Beamish from Scottish Labour to discuss our asks and their inclusion in the party manifesto ahead of the May election. Further, the team met with Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Beatrice Wishart, their education spokesperson. It made extensive progress in regards to election promises as well as their continued support of our work. The Scottish group has made lots of progress gaining support from councillors and MSPs around the country with Fife Council passing a motion to support our campaign as well as there and South Lanarkshire Council working with us to review their education system shortly. Last week, we sent an open letter to John Swinney signed by 288 people with parliamentarians' support regarding the new school projects announced. This led to us discussing our asks with the Scottish Green Party.
While Teach the Future UK continued its lobbying and political engagement work throughout the year, the international support working group focused on outreach to climate activist circles around the world, to support them in establishing climate education and sustainability awareness strands within their own organisations. Ranging from Latvia to the Congo, Teach the Future now works with 7 nations outside of Scotland, England and Wales, with plans already in the making to work with UN contacts and international teaching unions to support even more groups to platform their work and provide them with resources to spread their message widely.
Outside of supporting other groups, Teach the Future has become a major stakeholder in the Fridays for Future Europe climate education forum. It sends 8 representatives to work on campaigns and demand development at a continental level. This expansion of knowledge on a European plane allowed our campaign to work with Members of the European Parliament for the first time this year, hosting meetings with political engagement volunteers from the UK and members of the Klimaat in de Klas group from the Netherlands with Mohammed Chahim MEP.
Teach the Future has also worked with the England branch’s parent organisation, the UK Student Climate Network, to support gaining COP26 observer status - as a large part of the group's international outreach portfolio.
It’s fair to say that it has been a great year for the Teach the Future campaign, especially for our new nations and international groups! Here’s to the next year of exciting work.