smallThe four Oxford Cheney school students, whose on-line petition calls for climate change to be made a core part of the national curriculum and for sustainability to be made a serious concern within the education system are asking for:

  • The ecological and climate crisis to be made an educational priority
  • Well founded, evidence based training for teachers so that they are properly equipped to teach the future generations
  • The immediate overhaul of the current curriculum in favour of one that aims to prepare children for the realities of their future.
  • Sustainability judgement criteria to be added to Ofsted values so that schools must ‘practice what they teach’ as they act as the main role models to children as they grow up.

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This Thursday (May 23rd) is outdoor classroom day.  This is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play, and thousands of schools around will take part.  In 2018, over 3.5 million children worldwide took part, more than 550,000 of those were in the UK and Ireland.  You can see from this map that there is much more interest in the UK than across the EU and the rest of Europe.  There will be another day on November 7th.

Meanwhile, today is World Bee Day – though that should be every day.

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Here’s a link to Jonathon Porritt’s recent blog about Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion.  He comments on the three demands of XR: tell the truth; set up citizens’ assemblies and decarbonise by 2025.  He agrees with the first, wants to change the second so that there’s an assembly in every local authority, and says the third is impossible by 2025.  There is no mention of schools or the student strikes.

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Click here to read NAEE Trustee Morgan Phillip’s insightful comments on the survey of students about sustainability and climate that was recently published by NUS / Green Schools Project.  You can download the report with slides here.  This is one of his comments:

“The report shows a gap exists here: “10% of respondents say they ARE PART OF a team or club that gives them a chance to be involved in improving the impact their school or college has on the environment” but loads more (49%) say they WOULD LIKE TO BE so are there barriers to joining clubs?  Is the idea of being in a club more attractive than the actual club that’s available to them at their school?  Do we need to design different types of clubs, to attract different audience segments?

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The National Biodiversity Network recognises significant achievement and celebrate success in wildlife recording and information sharing through a national award scheme in partnership with the Biological Records Centre and the National Forum for Biological Recording.  These awards are made annually to individuals, groups of people or organisations that are making outstanding contributions to wildlife recording and improving our understanding of the natural world.

If you, or your organisation, know of any individuals or any groups of people that have made an outstanding contribution, make sure you nominate them.   Nominations opened on 8 May and close on 11 August.  Nomination forms are available here.

There are five categories of awards:

  • wildlife recording – terrestrial (open to individuals 21 years +)
  • wildlife recording – marine (open to individuals 21 years +)
  • Group Award (no age restrictions)
  • Young Person’s Award (open to individuals aged 11-20)
  • Newcomer Award (open to individuals 21 years +)

Here is information on all the 2018 winners.

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Endeavour is a free series of challenges from Kew Gardens for Key Stages 2 and 3, linked to the English National Curriculum and open to all UK schools.  Kew says that the Endeavour challenges will engage “pupils in critical thinking about topics related to plants, science and the environment.”

You can register for Endeavour here.

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The Wildlife Trusts say: “Go wild in your garden.  Your garden can be a mosaic in a wider network of natural havens linking urban green spaces with nature reserves and the countryside.  Hedgehogs, bats, sparrows, song thrushes and stag beetles are all declining species in the UK, but if we manage our gardens to benefit wildlife, these creatures and many more will find refuge.  It’s not hard to be help.

This argument applies to school grounds as well as gardens.  Details here.

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The ASE is holding a hands-on workshop on food, farming and the outdoors  on May 22nd at the Blakesley Hall Museum, Blakesley Road, Birmingham BR25 8RN  It’s for primary teachers and runs from 1600 to 1730.  The workshop will introduce ideas to enhance teaching across the curriculum using food, farming, farm visits and the many resources available.  It will provide an opportunity to see the learning that can be gained from the outdoors and the countryside, as well as information on local farms that your school may be able to make links with and visit.  Click here to book.

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sos.earth is the URL of an international collaboration that NUS has been instrumental in setting up.  It’s called Students Organising for Sustainability international (SOS–International).  This is the challenge for the organisation:

Globally less than 3% of people go to university, but 80% of leaders globally have a higher education.  Most universities are not yet ensuring that all their graduates leave equipped with the knowledge and competencies needed to be leaders for the sustainable and just future we want to see.  Education should prepare students to implement sustainability and social justice in their adult roles as workers, community members, consumers and investors.  There are 14,000 universities in the world, and that number is set to double in the next 10 years, with much of the growth in the global south.  In parallel, the urgency of climate change, and the global goals for sustainable development provide substantial motivation – we need to go further and faster!”

In the summer, NUS will launch SOS-UK as a new charity which will be affiliated to both NUS itself and SOS-International. It will operate in the UK across schools, colleges and FE / HE

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The Journal of Sustainability Education has published a paper: Climate change communication beyond the ‘ivory tower’: A case study about the development, application and evaluation of a science-education approach to communicate climate change to young people.

This is the Abstract:

The aim of this case study was to develop, apply and evaluate a science-education workshop format to communicate climate change to young people. Based on current theory in climate change communication and Education for Sustainable Development, the workshop has been applied in different contexts with more than 300 children and teenagers.  A specification of the consecutive steps should help practitioners to use the workshop in their contexts.  While results of the application of the workshop should give an insight into what can be expected from the workshop, an impact assessment of the participants who took place in the workshop outlines the effects it has on students.  This paper does not only provide hands-on advice on how theoretical climate change communication knowledge can be translated into action, it also outlines the impacts of the described workshop.”

It is available here.