Education for Environmental Sustainability – new manifesto launchedNovember 3, 2021
Home » Education for Environmental Sustainability – new manifesto launched
A series of nine online workshops across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have shaped a new ‘Manifesto for Education for Environmental Sustainability’, released this week. CAT’s Amanda Smith ran a series of workshops on barriers and solutions, sharing voices and views of young people, teachers and researchers.
What should secondary education for sustainability look like?
This was the main research question behind the new ‘Manifesto for Education for Environmental Sustainability’, launched this week to coincide with the opening of the COP26 UN Climate Summit.
Education has a key role to play in creating long-term responses to the social and environmental consequences of the climate crisis, and it’s vital that these responses are inclusive of the needs of all young people and their teachers.
The manifesto responds to one of the key demands of ‘Teach the Future’ and brought together more than 200 16-18 year-olds, secondary teachers and researchers to define the problems of education for sustainability.
Participants then used co-creative processes to develop a vision for the future in terms of education for environmental sustainability in secondary education. Participants were invited to share their ideas and contribute to the research into what this should look like at class, school, community and policy level.
Participants were asked to consider three questions:
- What is the current context for education for environmental sustainability and what do we need?
- What can we learn from others’ experience of education for environmental sustainability?
- What could the future of education for environmental sustainability look like?
CAT acted as a Principal Partner in the report, coordinating the contribution from Wales and running workshops with people from across the UK looking at barriers and solutions. The research was commissioned by the British Educational Research Association (BERA), and written up by Dr Lynda Dunlop of the University of York and Dr Elizabeth Rushton of King’s College, London. The intention is that the research findings will inform action in policymaking and practice.
Some of the key points of the manifesto include:
- Education has a key role to play in creating long-term responses to the social and environmental consequences of the climate crisis.
- Young people and teachers want to see change at all levels to value sustainability in their schools – not only in teaching and learning, but in the way schools are operated and regulated.
- A co-ordinated review of secondary school curricula involving teachers and students across the UK.
- The environment should be part of all subjects and school practices.
- Sustainability co-ordinators to lead each school to a greener approach.
- A focus on the environment both outside and inside the classroom – for instance, schools should scrutinise their approaches to procurement and food.
- Continuing professional development for teachers of all subjects to help them gain confidence in teaching about sustainability.
- Better opportunities for schools to green their own environments, including growing food and other plants.
- External accredited awards for students and teachers with an environmental sustainability focus; for older students, these awards should carry UCAS points.
- A community ‘sustainability curriculum’ for groups and parents involved in education.
- A campaign to enlist the endorsement of politicians and social media influencers.