smallNAEE has published its 2017/18 Annual Review. This is an account of key developments in the year, but it also contains a number of contributions that reflect on the context in which our work is carried out.  These are from young conservationists Louis Driver and Finlay Wilde, from NAEE Fellow, Ben Ballin, and from Ian Humphreys, CEO of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.  These were published during the year in our journal or as blogs on the website.  It also contains two reports on NAEE-sponsored field trips which are possible because of the generosity of the late Hugh Kenrick and his family.  They are written by Katy Harley & Sophie Steadman and by Sally Appadu.

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Here’s something that Mick Waters, NAEE Vice President, and President of the Curriculum Foundationsaid in 2011 about too many children’s experience of school:

“The accountability framework is so demanding with schools pitched against each other. The danger is that children become a “currency” that can bring us ‘scores’.  We all know of children whose have had their last year in primary school spoiled by the over emphasis on the narrow diet of the tests. Children should go places, make things, build things, sing, play, look closely at their world, meet fascinating people and learn about themselves. We risk preparing for the future to the extent we overlook the present that all children deserve…..a joyful childhood.”
How sadly true this remains.
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Equally sadly, Think Global is soon to close, and their final AGM will be held at CAFOD, London, on 26th November.  This will focus on celebrating their achievements, and sharing information about their next steps.  All are welcome and you can register for a place here.

The Development Education Research Centre (DERC) at the UCL Institute of Education is taking TG’s library, archives and a static version of the Think Global website for reference in the future. From December, DERC will distribute a newsletter for individuals/organisations interested in keeping in touch with news and contacts relating to UK global learning/development education.  If you would like join this list please click here. Please ensure you tick ‘Think Global’ under previous affiliations.

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Click here to read OECD‘s latest education reports.  The latest PISA report Equity in Education: Breaking Down Barriers to Social Mobility shows that high performance and more positive attitudes towards schooling among disadvantaged 15-year-old students are strong predictors of success in higher education and work later on. The report identifies the policies and practices that can help disadvantaged students succeed academically and feel more engaged at school.

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Across the water, NAAEE says:

“If you’re looking for peer-reviewed scientific literature and research about or in support of nature-based education for children, then the research library from NAAEE and Children & Nature Network is a great place to start. The library provides detailed summaries and citations for peer-reviewed research articles as well as links to those that are publicly available, or to publishers’ websites when not publicly available. Access to the library is free, and users can search/filter by a variety of criteria, including keyword, author, start/end year, population, methodology, outcomes, and themes”

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London’s Natural History Museum says you can meet the scientists tackling our planet’s most urgent environmental challenges, from seas of plastic to struggling coral reefs.  You can reflect on The wonder of Earth, a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram and join interactive theatre makers Coney on an immersive adventure to save the world from climate change: Friday 30 November 1800 to 2200.  Details here.

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Climate Action says that a WWF report has found that 60% of wildlife has been wiped out by humans since 1970 – but it’s not true.  The situation is not great, of course, but not as bad as this headline suggests.  If you make it to page 92 of the report you find this which illustrates the actual picture:

  • “Average abundance of 16,704 populations representing 4,005 species monitored across the globe declined by 60%.”
  • “The global index, calculated using available data for all species and regions, shows an overall decline of 60% in the population sizes of vertebrates between 1970 and 2014.”

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DERC Co-Director Doug Bourn will be delivering his professorial lecture, entitled “Global learning and skills for global social change“, on 17 December (1800 – 1915).  There’s more information, and you can book, here.  The promotional material begins:

“There has also been an assumption that a more informed and educated citizenry will result in a more democratic society.  Within the UK these ideas have threaded through the work of youth organisations as well as political parties. In more recent decades they have also underpinned international initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have seen a linkage between learning and securing a more globally socially just society through areas such as combating poverty, education for all and greater sexual equality.  A major theme of development education in the UK from 2000 to 2010 was around promoting understanding of these Development Goals. The SDGs are global goals and equally relevant to the UK as they are to say countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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The Woodland Project in East Sussex offers days out in nature for families who have a child with a severe physical or learning disability, families who have a child experiencing mental health issues, and 11-18 year olds who are accessing mental health services.  The Woodland Project allows these families to spend time together, relax in their natural surroundings, free of distractions and judgement.  It is run by Circle of Life Rediscovery and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.