Advertisement
Environment

Government rejects calls to improve climate change education in schools

The government has rejected a recommendation to expand environmental education in a move MPs have called “disappointing”.

The government has rejected calls to expand environmental education across all school courses in its response to a key report on green jobs.

In October, MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) recommended that environmental sustainability be embedded across the whole curriculum in order to prepare young people for green jobs in the future.

In a response published on Thursday, the government rejected the recommendation, saying: “Topics related to climate change and the environment are already included within the citizenship, science and geography National Curricula”.

Subscribe to The Big Issue

From just £3 per week

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work. With each subscription we invest every penny back into supporting the network of sellers across the UK. A subscription also means you'll never miss the weekly editions of an award-winning publication, with each issue featuring the leading voices on life, culture, politics and social activism.

The government also rejected a recommendation to include an environmental sustainability module in all A- and T-Levels, saying this would only be included where “occupationally relevant”.

EAC chair, Philip Dunne MP, called the response “disappointing”, adding: “The national curriculum is not embedding environmental sustainability nor even restoring the teaching of nature into schools as we [the EAC] had recommended.”

The government has pledged to provide two million green jobs in the UK by 2030, but the EAC warned in its October report that plans for delivery “lack detail” and could put key environmental targets – like the 25-Year Environment Plans – at risk.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Article continues below

The latest response from the government fails to address this lack of detail or “give the confidence boost to those industrial sectors that will require, and need to develop, the green skills of the future”, the EAC said.

As well as rejecting a recommendation on environmental education, the EAC noted that “key departments” have been excluded from the government’s Green Jobs Delivery Group, which will oversee development and delivery of green jobs across sectors.

Neither the Treasury or the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will be represented in the Green Jobs Delivery Group, in spite of homes accounting for 15 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions.

While the EAC said the government’s “general commitment to ensure the right skills are in place for the green transition is welcome”, the group is concerned that government departments “lack a central coordination function to deliver green jobs policies”.

EAC MPs are not the first to push for better climate change and environmental education in schools. In November 2021, Labour MP Nadia Whittome put forward the Climate Education Bill under the 10-minute rule, which successfully passed to a second reading.

The Big Issue Shop

Eco-friendly gift hampers that make a positive impact

The Big Issue has collaborated with Social Stories Club to create limited edition gift hampers. Packed full of treats made by social ventures, this hamper would make the perfect gift for the festive season.

The bill would “require matters relating to climate change and sustainability to be integrated throughout the curriculum in primary and secondary schools and included in vocational training courses”, and will have its second reading at the end of this month.

Introducing the bill in parliament, Whittome said: “This Bill aims to put that right and to prepare young people for the future, and this Bill is what young people are demanding.

“In 2018, one survey found that 42% of pupils felt that they had learned a little, hardly anything or nothing about the environment at school, and 68% said that they would like to know more.”

Advertisement

Support your local vendor

Want to buy a copy of the magazine? We have over 1,200 Big Issue vendors in the UK. Each vendor buys a copy of the mag for £1.50 and sells it for £3, keeping the difference. Visit our interactive map to find your nearest vendor and support them today!

Recommended for you

Read All
Shell consultant quits with explosive LinkedIn post accusing oil giant of 'extreme harms' to planet
Oil industry

Shell consultant quits with explosive LinkedIn post accusing oil giant of 'extreme harms' to planet

How you can help boost bee and butterfly populations with a new government app
Biodiversity

How you can help boost bee and butterfly populations with a new government app

Why is the UK’s air so polluted - and how can you check air pollution at your address?
Air pollution

Why is the UK’s air so polluted - and how can you check air pollution at your address?

The government has rejected calls to give the public more access to the English countryside
Right to roam

The government has rejected calls to give the public more access to the English countryside

Most Popular

Read All
Homeless man who built wooden house on pavement: 'People understand I'm just in a bad situation'
1.

Homeless man who built wooden house on pavement: 'People understand I'm just in a bad situation'

The remarkable rise of Ncuti Gatwa: From sofa surfing and Sex Education to Doctor Who
2.

The remarkable rise of Ncuti Gatwa: From sofa surfing and Sex Education to Doctor Who

Exclusive: The UK's rarest and most threatened wildlife sites are not being protected properly
3.

Exclusive: The UK's rarest and most threatened wildlife sites are not being protected properly

Martin Lewis: 'The link between money problems and mental health problems is just so strong'
4.

Martin Lewis: 'The link between money problems and mental health problems is just so strong'

Keep up to date with The Big Issue. The leading voice on life, politics, culture and social activism direct to your inbox.