Government announces measures to help nurseries and schools be more environmentally sustainable

The roll-out of training to help cared-for nurseries develop climate action plans is to be accelerated by the government as part of plans for the UK education sector to become the global climate change leader by 2030.

In making the announcement today, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi will outline the role the education sector will play in the government’s flagship sustainability and climate change strategy.

As part of the strategy, the government will accelerate the roll-out of carbon training to support at least one sustainability officer in every locally maintained nursery, school, college and university. The training will help communities develop climate action plans that will bring together and stimulate activities to improve climate education, put in place measures to protect them against the effects of the climate and increase climate resilience. through adaptation initiatives.

The education secretary will also pledge to further support climate change education at all levels, while announcing the acceleration of the rollout of ultra-low-carbon education buildings. By 2025, at least four schools and one college will have been built through the Gen Zero platform – a construction kit of parts to build an ultra-low carbon structure.

Other measures include:

  • The introduction of a new Natural History GCSE by September 2025.
  • More support and training for teachers on sustainable education with a greater focus on nature and climate change.
  • Previously announced at COP26 – a new climate prize for children and young people and the establishment of the National Education Park to increase biodiversity in nurseries and school gardens.

Although pre-school education welcomed the measures, it stressed that “outdoor space is not a requirement for the early years” and called on the government to reconsider the issue in future.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “We are delivering a better, safer and greener world for future generations and education is one of our main weapons in the fight against climate change. The spirit of enterprise and dynamism of this country gives me confidence that we will win this fight.

“It should come as no surprise that young people are already very committed to a more sustainable planet. We should be proud of them and I want to do everything to encourage this passion so that they can be agents of change in protecting our planet.

“The new Natural History GCSE will give young people a chance to develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of this amazing planet, its environment and how we can come together to conserve it.”

Beatrice Merrick, c.The CEO of Early Childhood Education, said: “We welcome the government’s new strategy and the fact that early childhood is reflected through a range of strands, including commitments to inclusion of sustainability in the national education program and natural park. This It is perhaps increasingly abnormal that outdoor space is not a requirement for early childhood provision, and we hope this is something the government will consider in the future.

“The popularity of the sustainability component during the Birth to 5 Matters spring festival demonstrates that the sector is already very committed to this subject.”

Baroness Floella Benjamin said: “Understanding the fate of our planet and how to save it is vital. Young people should therefore study natural history in depth as early as possible, so that they can pass the GCSE exams and be equipped to save the world from disaster.

Global Adventurer Bear Grylls added,The introduction of a natural history GCSE is a brilliant addition to the learning young people receive about climate education.

“It will inspire so many young people to develop their passion and knowledge of the natural world and how best to protect it.”

“We must do more”

The Let’s Go Zero campaign is a school climate campaign, which over 1,200 UK schools, colleges and nurseries have signed up to so far.

He wants all schools to have the ability to generate their own energy, and for the DfE to commit to other key policies, including an urgent renovation of the school stock and committing to all schools being zero carbon by 2030.

Harriet Lamb, CEO of climate charity Ashden, which leads the Let’s Go Zero campaign, said: “We welcome many aspects of this strategy, including our suggestions that every school has an action plan for climate, a sustainability manager and includes sustainability and climate change in teacher training. But empowering schools to decarbonize quickly was a glaring absence from the strategy.

“We need to invest now in a national program to modernize schools across the country. Providing adequate funding for action now will save struggling school budgets as fuel prices soar, stimulate local businesses, create new jobs, and support net zero and leveling goals. of the government.

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint Secretary General of National Educationmentioned, “It’s a step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go if the education sector is to be able to claim to be a global leader on climate change by 2030. Encouraging young people to become agents of change in protecting our planet is hugely important and the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the natural world is an integral part of this.However, we are concerned that the DfE has not seized the opportunity to address broader climate issues. wide for young people at all stages of their education.

“The deployment of ultra-low carbon buildings needs to happen quickly. What has been announced – 4 new schools and 1 college by 2025 – is far too slow. The process must be accelerated. We need a target date for each new school to be built to these new specifications and for each old school to be upgraded to a comparable standard.

  • Support early childhood establishments to be more sustainable nursery world organizes a conference in July on the subject, for more information click here