smallThe UK Student Climate Network [UKSCN] has issued an open letter to government and educational institutions.  It’s a radical read.  The students’ broad demands are that …

1 – the Government declare a climate emergency and implement a Green New Deal to achieve Climate Justice.
2 – the national curriculum is reformed to address the ecological crisis as an educational priority.
3 – the Government communicate the severity of the ecological crisis and the necessity to act now to the general public.
4 – the Government recognise that young people have the biggest stake in our future, by incorporating youth views into policy making and bringing the voting age down to 16.

From NAEE’s perspective, it is good to see the emphasis on the ecological crisis both in terms of communication with the public and as an educational focus.  This is absolutely right.  UKSCN has avoided the trap of only focusing on climate and therefore missing the bigger picture.

It’s not just the national curriculum that needs reforming, of course, but the school curriculum as a whole – and the 2002 Education Act.  More work to do.

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The Climate Reality Project Global Education Group are hosting 3 online climate action classrooms information sessions on Wednesday 5 June.

The Global Education Group’s cross-continent sustainable sister schools campaign connects climate action classrooms, providing students, educational institutions, communities and families actionable, programming and access to curriculum materials, lesson plans, research and support in developing climate action plans.

Here is the opt-in link if you are interested in learning more about the Climate Reality #ClimateActionClassrooms program launching globally in August, 2019. See: Facebook   Twitter   Instagram

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Angela Rayner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education, was on the Today programme on Friday talking about climate and the curriculum.  You can listen here (it starts at 1 hour 16 mins) and runs for ~5 minutes.  Labour is calling for a commission of experts to advise parliament on what should be in the curriculum in relation to climate.  Rayner did not mention the ecological problems we face but no doubt the experts will put that right in due course.

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The Ecosystems Knowledge Network has launched its new strategy  with a vision for wellbeing and prosperity for everyone in the UK through a healthy natural environment.  Their mission is to equip a diverse range of people with the necessary skills and expertise to make this a reality.

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David Attenborough recently gave a talk at Keele University and local schools have been using his talk to engage pupils in climate change and biodiversity debates.   You can find it here with the talk starting at 7.30 minutes into the video and questions starting at 19.00 minutes.  Keele is organising a Schools Climate Change Summit in July and  details will follow.
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Stephen Sterling – the UK’s best known writer on education and sustainability – has a new website – ‘Re-thinking education for a more sustainable world’.  This brings together much of his writing over the last decade or so into one place, making it more available to those who may know of his writing and wish to delve further.  Stephen writes:

The timing could not be more apposite: after some 40+ years in the environmental and sustainability education field, I am more than ever convinced that re-thinking education and learning is vital if they are to help underpin and facilitate – rather than circumscribe or undermine – the urgent socio-economic shifts in society that are necessary to secure a liveable future.  Feedback is welcome.”

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The Festival of Nature is this June between 1st – 9th June.  Join the UK’s largest FREE celebration of nature and get inspired by the natural world with an exciting programme of events across the Bath & Bristol region.  It begins with a daylong free event in Bath’s Green Park on 1st June, and finishes on Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th June with a big Bristol weekend, stretching from Millennium Square across the Harbourside to takeover Queens Square.  It’s for young, old and families, come and with “fun, interactive exhibitions” provided by the UK’s best-known wildlife organisations and researchers at the cutting edge of environmental science.

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Earthwalk has just been published with activities providing tools for Earth Education, encouraging people “to feel the joy, kinship, reverence and love for the natural world”.   Earthwalk brings “a light, refreshing touch of nature that focuses on reawakening individual senses and sharpening perceptions in the natural world”.

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The International Timber Festival which aims to increase public awareness of how sustainable forest management defends our living planet takes place on 5/6/7 July in the National Forest.

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The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) and the Outdoor Education Advisers Panel (OEAP) have joined together to hold a national conference dedicated to learning beyond the classroom.  CLOtC says that “this will help teachers and providers understand, discuss and debate how learning beyond the classroom walls can help schools deliver a broad and balanced curriculum. The day will involve presentations from keynote speakers, case studies and hands-on practical workshops”.  It’s in the Blackpool Tower complex on Thursday 7th November.  Details here:

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Keele University’s Schools Climate Summit takes place on Wednesday 17th July.  The organisers ask: “Are your students engaged in current climate debates?  Are your students keen to share their voices about climate change action?  Would your students like to collaborate with delegates from other schools to learn how to act for change?   There will be a programme of engaging activities and workshops including ice core and electric vehicle demonstrations, the Great Carbon Footprint game, a student climate forum, campus sustainability tours, and a climate activism workshop.

The summit is open to schools in Staffordshire, Cheshire, Shropshire and Derbyshire.  Please register here by Monday 17th June to book your place and contact Sarah Briggs, Sustainability Project Officer at s.j.briggs@keele.ac.uk with any questions.