Is the Government is trying to sideline ‘the environment’… ‘environmental education’ … education for sustainable development’ …? The National Curriculum Review currently underway is the chance for groups including NAEE (of which I am co-chair and Bill Scott is President) to have say and – we hope – influence policy and positive change!
Department for Education
20 Great Smith Street
Cc: Owen Paterson MP, Defra; David Heath MP, Defra; Joan Walley MP, EAC
16 April 2013
Dear Michael Gove
We are writing to urge you to keep sustainability in the National Curriculum objectives. In 2000, the following values, aims and purposes were introduced:
“Pupils should develop awareness and understanding of, and respect for, the environments in which they live, and secure their commitment to sustainable development at a personal, national and global level.” (pg 11, https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/QCA-99-457.pdf)
This has allowed pioneer schools to create local whole school curricula that make core knowledge relevant and motivational. Schools embedding sustainability in their practice have been shown by Ofsted in many research reports to be Good or Excellent and with good links to improved achievement. But this practice is not yet across all schools.
Sustainability skills are commonly cited as needed by:
- Students (over 80% of 7-14 year olds want to learn more about global issues at school and rank this 3rd after numeracy and literacy – The Cooperative 2011 Ipsos Mori, quoted in their Sustainability Guide);
- University students (over 85% believe they need 8 sustainable development competencies in order to get jobs – HEA/NUS 2010, 2012),
- Teachers wanting to prepare their students for a sustainable future (see for example the Keep Britain Tidy Eco-Schools survey in 2013 where 92% wanted to keep sustainability in the curriculum, SEEd’s Teachers Needs Survey and baseline audits 2009, 2010, 2011)
- Businesses wanting both an understanding of, and skills for sustainability (many CSR reports and longer term sustainability strategies require these skills to underpin public commitments)
Keeping sustainability as an objective in the National Curriculum would allow many other schools to address topics that are part of sustainability without having to add more content to the pared down National Curriculum. This would reinforce the Department for Education’s endorsement of the Sustainable Schools Alliance, programmes such as Eco-Schools and other sustainable development initiatives in the Natural Environment White Paper 2011.
The ‘green economy’ has been growing in this country despite the recession; our students need the skills, innovation and creativity required for an environmentally, economically and socially better future.
The environment underpins our economy and society. Therefore we believe understanding this should be the entitlement for all children through retaining sustainability within the objectives of the national curriculum.
Chief Executive Officer, SEEd
Chief Executive Officer, Keep Britain Tidy
Head of Education and Youth, Oxfam GB
Chair of the Federation of Women’s Institutes
Director General, Food and Drink Federation
Chief Executive Officer, Sita-UK part of Suez Environment
Policy Director, Friends of the Earth
Executive Director, new economics foundation
Author of The Spirit Level
Executive Director – Food Ethics Council
Chief Executive, Marine Conservation Society
Finn Bolding Thomsen
Managing Director, Foundation for Environmental Education
Creative Group Director, Epitype
Dr Diane Purchase
Principal Lecturer in Environmental Health/Biology, Middlesex University
Professor Sally Inman
Director Teacher Education for Equity and Sustainability UK Network (TEESNet)
Head of Sustainability, University of Greenwich
Professor of Sustainability Education, University of Plymouth
Emeritus Professor William Scott, University of Bath; President of NAEE: the National Association for Environmental Education
Dr Heather Barrett-Mold
Chair of Council, Institution of Environmental Sciences
Chief Executive, Severn Wye Energy Agency
Chair of North East Environment Network (trading as Outdoor and Sustainability Education Specialists, OASES).
Lead for Sustainability Education, Durham County Council, Coordinator for North East Strategic Partnership for Sustainable Schools.
Advisor, Norfolk Integrated Education Advisory Service, Norfolk County Council.
Chief Executive, EAUC (Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges).
Director, Green Alliance
Coordinator, Eco Active
Executive Director, Surfers Against Sewage
Gaeia – Global and Ethical Investment Advice
Liverpool World Centre
Chief Executive, People United.
- Plans to drop climate debate from national curriculum ‘unacceptable’ (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- ‘Keep climate lessons in curriculum’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Plans to drop climate change from national curriculum ‘unacceptable’ (guardian.co.uk)
- Politicians should stay out of schools, says ex-curriculum head (schoolsimprovement.net)
- Climate change and the curriculum: teachers share their views (guardian.co.uk)
- Teachers speak out against Michael Gove’s ‘lists of facts’ curriculum (schoolsimprovement.net)
- Teachers speak out against Gove’s ‘lists of facts’ curriculum (independent.co.uk)
- CLIMATE CHANGE: Thousands sign school petition started by 15-year-old (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- British children ‘deeply concerned’ about the impact of climate change (guardian.co.uk)