smallThe new Connecting Classrooms for Global Learning programme has now been launched.  Details of what’s on offer are here.   The website says:

“The new Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme supports schools internationally to learn about and collaborate on the big issues that shape our world.  Connecting Classrooms is a flexible journey for schools around the world of learning, knowledge sharing and international collaboration.  It entails the following:

  1. Partner schools – collaborate with peers in the UK and other countries on school activities focusing on global themes. Partnerships offer teachers the chance to share experiences and learn from each other.
  2. Develop skills – we encourage teachers to continually improve their knowledge and expertise at embedding global themes in their teaching, by completing our training courses, available online and face-to-face.
  3. Classroom activities – complete activities with partner schools based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Download one of our free resources to start embedding the principles and themes of the SDGs in your classroom.
  4. Apply for funding – as a cluster of schools or one-to-one school partnership, you can apply for funding to facilitate visits, events and training as part of the Connecting Classrooms journey.
  5. Accreditation – whatever stage of your Connecting Classrooms journey you’ve managed to reach, you will receive the relevant level of the International School Award to recognise and highlight your achievements in embedding international education in your school.

NAEE welcomes this, but why isn’t there a Connecting Classrooms for Environmental Learning programme as well?  Or, much better, perhaps, one that brings these two sets of ideas together into a sensible synergy.

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A World Health Organisation (WHO) study says that 93% of the world’s children under 15 are exposed to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels above WHO air quality guidelines, and that in 2016, air pollution contributed to the deaths of 600,000 children under the age of 15.  Air pollution now accounts for almost 1 in 10 deaths in children under the age of 5, and now causes more deaths than tobacco.  It’s likely that we all know children in the UK who are exposed like this and leading health professionals have called on the Government to implement a new clean air act that will ensure pollutants are reduced and health problems lessened.  The full report is here.

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The European Community Development Network‘s latest publication from the  looks at community development across Europe over the last 25 years.  There are papers on tackling poverty and inequality, on migration and racism, on the democratic deficit and on environmental and social justice.  Examples range from responses to major displacements and crisis – in particular the paper from Ukraine on resettlement of displaced people following the Chernobyl disaster, through to long-term work in a neighbourhood of Oslo to make sustainable development a local reality, through a community development process.  There are also papers that discuss the importance of building alliances and networking; issues of dealing with the impact of migration on both migrants and the neighbourhoods in which they settle; and the advantages of co-operation between communities and government

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Natural England’s Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey (MENE ) has been running since 2009.  The survey provides data about how people use and enjoy the natural environment in England, and has been used widely to inform policy and delivery across the sector.  Natural England is working with Defra to review MENE to ensure that the survey builds on what we have learnt so far and asks the right questions to help meet future evidence and policy needs.  This includes evidence to inform a set of metrics to assess progress towards the goals set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Natural England has commissioned new research to explore and pilot options and produce a set of proposals for a future survey.  It would like feedback on proposals arising from the research, and to reflect on user of statistics needs in developing a new survey.  A paper which outlines the proposals is available from the MENE link (above).  The full draft review report, which sets out our approach, findings and recommendations and draft questionnaire, is available from MENE@naturalengland.org.uk

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The next DERC Seminar: “Teachers and the GLP: engagement and impact” will be held on Tuesday 20 November, 1700 – 1830, and will report on some of the findings from the Global Learning Programme – England, particularly in relation to teacher engagement with the programme and its impact on their practice. Dr Frances Hunt and Dr Clare Bentall will draw on quantitative and qualitative data from the programme to highlight the benefits, issues and challenges for teachers. More information and tickets here.

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63 wind farms — mostly in Scotland — had to be compensated (with constraint payments) when electricity supply outstripped demand on October 8.  A record £4.8m was paid out.  These payments are made through electricity bills.  The largest payout of £663,638 was to Scottish and Southern Energy’s Clyde wind farm in South Lanarkshire.  The previous records were when £3.1m was paid to shut down wind farms on July 28 and £3.4m on October 2nd.  The problem is said to be caused by insufficient means to carry electricity from where it is generated to where it is needed; that is, from north to south. A new cable will help a little: the Western Link, running from Ayrshire to the Wirral, started to work at full capacity in September, nearly three years late.