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The New Zealand Government has announced new resourcing for teaching climate change in schools.  Education Minister Chris Hipkins said that students will be taught “the role science plays in understanding climate change, aids understanding of both the response to it and its impacts – globally, nationally and locally – and explores opportunities to contribute to reducing and adapting to its impact on everyday life”.  The resource, called Climate Change – prepare today, live well tomorrow, includes video, text and guidance.

You will find a teacher resource here, which aims to [i] increase awareness of climate change and explain the role science plays in understanding it; [ii] understand both the response to and impacts of climate change; globally, nationally and locally; and [iii] explore & act on opportunities to contribute to reducing and adapting to the impact of climate change on everyday life

There is also a wellbeing guide here which links into, and is intended to be used alongside, the ‘Climate Change: Prepare today, livewell tomorrow’ learning programme.  The resource will support teachers with practical activities and tip sheets.  The activities are designed to be gentle, and to provide fun conversation starters.  ∫∫∫

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NAEE’s Chair of Trustees, Bill Scott, blogged last week on how the government, if it wished, could use Section 80 of the 2002 Education Act to change the basic curriculum to cover, say, climate and ecological education by issuing an Order in Council.  They could then provide guidance to schools along the lines of that recently provided by the New Zealand government.  The blog noted that this option has been open to governments for the past 18 years.

Meanwhile, Teach the Future is drafting a parliamentary bill which hopes to make changes to Sections 78 and 80 of the 2002 Act.  This will be launched in February at a parliamentary reception.  ∫∫∫

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The OCR  exam board has announced plans for a new GCSE in Natural History.  Here’s a link to an article in the TES.  OCR told the TES that it “hopes the GCSE will respond to pupils’ growing interest in conserving the natural world.”  You will find some background to the proposal from Mary Colwell writing on Mark Avery’s blog.  The course could be introduced from September 2022, but the Department for Education said that it “has not made any commitment” to introducing it.  ∫∫∫

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Have you been listening to the BBC’s Green Originals series?  These “reflections on the modern pioneers of the environmental movement” are 15-minute programmes that come to a conclusion next week.  The 15 names are an international selection, inviting the question: who would you have included if you’d been making the programmes?  And who, in the BBC’s selection, would you have omitted?  Whatever your thoughts, there’s some good environmental education here.  ∫∫∫

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Here’s a link to the LEEF conference on February 10th at London’s Natural History Museum.  It shows confirmed speakers and the structure of the day.  LEEF says: “London is a world-leading city for urban environmental education.  With human populations becoming increasingly urbanised, the environmental education work carried out in our cities has global significance and deserves greater recognition and support.  Our first national conference will mark LEEF’s 30th anniversary year.  We invite you to celebrate with us and help showcase the best urban environmental education work taking place in London and the UK, as we look ahead to future challenges.  You can book here∫∫∫

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GEEP has been conducting an survey of its members looking ahead for environmental education.  The questions are here:

 – 1. Think back over the last 15-20 years – What is one big step forward in the field of environmental education?

 – 2. Today (2020), where is your sense of urgency? What is a critical challenge we need to focus on now in the field of EE?

 – 3. Looking ahead 15-20 years – What specific areas of progress do you hope we will be able to cite, i.e., in 2040

NAEE is interested in your responses to these questions.  A quick note to info@naee.org.uk will be fine.  ∫∫∫

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EAUC’s 24th Annual Conference – CLIMATE2020 will take place on 23rd – 24th June 2020 at University of Bath.  This will bring together key stakeholders from UK and Ireland universities and colleges.  The organisers say that “this conference will provide a platform to create solutions to tackle the unprecedented threats of a heating climate and it will facilitate knowledge exchange and foster resilience and adaptation.”

You now have the opportunity to submit a session proposal for any of the conference streams highlighted here.  Academic presentations may be included in a special edition of the IJSHE – International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education.  Click here to find out more about CLIMATE2020 and to submit a session proposal.  The deadline for session proposals is Friday 31st January.  ∫∫∫