Sustainability, education and the government
We hope you are all enjoying the sunny weather which seems to have hit the UK this past week. A lot of our team had exams, so we haven't done too much in May, but we do still have a few updates...
We have an upcoming meeting with Ed Miliband, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, where we hope to engage him in our Ask for more sustainable educational settings as well as how to inspire the next generation of innovators through vocational courses.
We are also currently in the process of planning a Spen and Batley hustings which will hopefully result in candidates promising to align plans with our campaigns main message of climate action, education and justice.
We have been supporting the wonderful team at Peers for Planet and SEEd on Jim Knight’s Private Members Bill (which is 6th in the ballot) on putting sustainability in the Education Act. The draft bill is similar to much of what we put on the first page of our own Climate EMergency Education Act that we drafted 18 months ago, so we hope you will all encourage peers and MPs and the Government to support the bill when it’s time comes. This bill will mean that a good chunk of what we are asking for is implemented this year!
We have also heard that, three weeks ago, the Department for Education established a new sustainability unit, with a remit for operational and educational sustainability, and that they are working on a strategy for consultation, so we are working hard to get a meeting with the staff so we can shape their work from the start.
Finally, many thanks to the Reta Lila Howard Foundation, who have granted us £10k so we can commission our own review of how the English education system is preparing young people for the climate emergency and ecological crisis. We are now working up plans to commission some academics to lead it for us, as well as looking for the other £15k we think we will need to do it properly. We hope that our review will have practical recommendations for educators, head teachers / principles / deans / governors, teacher educators, exam boards and regulators for the steps they should take to ensure that sustainability is integrated, mandatory and assessed across the education system.
As always, if you have any suggestions, comments or questions please feel free to contact email@example.com (England Supporting Organisation Coordinator)
At the beginning of May, we were very excited to see the outcome of the Scottish Parliament election in which a majority of our volunteers voted in. Before the election, we ran a Twitter storm to bring awareness to climate education to voters and get MSP candidates to sign our pledge. Scotland also has a new education secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville, who we are excited to get in touch with and work with in the future.
Last week, we had a meeting with NUS Scotland to discuss ideas for COP26. It was really productive and we are looking forward to working closely with them over the next few months
We are now looking towards working with councils to discuss our campaign, our tasks, and gain support. To kick this off, we had a meeting with North Ayrshire council on May 26th where we gained the council’s support for our campaign and discussed the phasing out of fossil fuels and their climate change strategy.
Finally, we have been busy preparing for a series of meetings with the Scottish Government where we are formally discussing implementing our asks! Our first meeting was on 01 June where we discussed our second ask; The inclusion of the climate emergency and ecological crisis in teacher education and a new professional teaching qualification. This went very well and we have more meetings throughout June to discuss the rest of our campaign asks.
As always, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact
firstname.lastname@example.org (Scottish Supporting Organisation Coordinator)
At the beginning of the month we were busy encouraging senedd candidates to sign our pledge in the run up to the election on 06 May. We ran a successful tweetstorm encouraging candidates to sign our pledge. Six of the elected Senedd members signed our pledge committing to improving climate education.
After the election we were very excited to find out who the new education minister was, as Kirsty Williams did not run for re-election. We were excited to find out we have already had a meeting with the newly appointed education minister Jeremy Miles back in March. Two members of our team are Jeremy’s constituents and we have already reached out to him asking for a meeting in his capacity as education minister, receiving a positive response. We hope to meet with him in the next few months to discuss our asks and how climate education can be improved in Wales. We were also very excited to see the new cabinet has not one but two climate change ministers Julie James and Lee Waters, we hope we will be able to work with them as well.
We have also contacted the Future Generations Commissioner Sophie Howe. As our asks are based on the Wellbeing and Future Generations Act we thought it would be useful to meet with her to discuss our campaign and the importance of climate education for future generations.
We have spent the majority of the month planning for future events. We have received some funding from the Waterloo Foundation to host a Senedd reception when COVID restrictions are lifted, we have been working to plan the aims of our reception and have secured LLyr Gruffydd as our sponsor, so over the next few months we will continue to plan for the reception.
We are also planning to hold a roundtable discussion with the leaders of the political parties in the Senedd. We are also preparing to write the Climate Education bill in Wales, we hope we can work on this over the next few months and complete it before the Senedd reception.
Now that the election is over we are hoping to start council work and work with councillors to implement climate education on a local level. A climate education campaign in Blaenau Gwent called Generation Gwent, which we have been in communication with, has already started to work with the Blaenau Gwent council. They started an email campaign to Michelle Jones, their strategic education improvement manager, requesting a meeting to discuss their aims on climate justice education. Michelle Jones has responded to their request with a meeting invitation, which we hope is successful!
As always, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact email@example.com (Wales Supporting Organisation Coordinator)
Over the past month we have met with new people and groups in Canada, New Zealand and India this month and are growing connections. We have continued contact with groups we have existing connections with.
There have been some massive developments in climate education since we last updated you...
UNESCO released a report at their Berlin Conference on 17 May showing that most countries' education plans have no reference to climate change :-( It included the following statement: “UNESCO has therefore set a new target: to make environmental education a core curriculum component in all countries by 2025. The Organization is working with its 193 Member States to support curriculum reform and track progress to ensure everyone acquires the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to introduce positive change and protect our planet’s future.” This is a big shift and marks clear UN support for climate education.
Earth Day and other civil society groups, including the former Italian education minister, have produced a draft communique for the G20 Education Ministers meeting later this month, with the plan it will be agreed by them and hopefully ratified at the main G20 event in October 2021.
Argentina has passed a climate education law, joining Italy, New Zealand and a few states in India and the US in having committed to integrated, mandatory and assessed climate education.
We have had a bit of a line-up change in our student staff. We are excited to announce that Tess Corcoran and Finn Millwood will be job sharing our 4 day a week UK-wide role, replacing Joe Brindle, who has now left to enjoy some of his gap year. Our Scotland branch has also changed slightly with Tess moving to her new role, Frances Hobbs will be joining the staffing team in Scotland alongside Anna Brown and Lily Henderson.
We have been working with BBC Bitesize as they are planning to run a climate education campaign for about a year from November. They told us that our research had helped to shape it!
We have a lot of work planned for the summer and the rest of the year so if you know anyone young people that would be interested in joining our team of volunteers, anywhere in the UK, please direct them to https://www.teachthefuture.uk/an/volunteer.
And finally, we have been on Sky News in their climate programme this week! An article was also released which you can see here, and here is a great write-up on Teach the Future in Footprint Magazine.
As always, thanks for all your support and encouragement!
Lily (Scotland, 16), Bea (England,15), Sam (Wales, 16)