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Over the Summer, activists tried to persuade the DfE to require teacher educators in universities and elsewhere to cover climate and ecological issues.  This was the response:

“… there are no plans to amend the Teachers’ Standards.  The Teacher’s Standards and the Framework of Core Content for Initial Teacher Training are the ‘core’ minimum entitlements for trainee teachers, and not intended to specify the full curriculum offered to trainees.  Therefore training providers are free to design and deliver their courses as they are the experts and they can choose to prioritise issues such as sustainability.”

This is the standard DfE response to all such attempts.  It has the merit of being true, but for many educators simply misses the point.  The DfE spokesperson added:

“In terms of curriculum support [for schools], there are some discussions ongoing around where sustainability is covered in the curriculum and what resources are available to support teachers.  DfE policy leads are involving BEIS policy teams including those from the Clean Growth Grand Challenge in these conversations.  There are no immediate plans to make changes to curriculum content … (and sustainability is already covered in a number of curriculum areas) but we are looking at how we raise awareness of available resources to support teachers in delivering this.” ∫∫∫

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Action for Nature has announced its eco-hero award winners for 2019.  These recognize young people 8 to 16 years old for their environmental achievements that can inspire others to preserve and protect the Earth upon which all life depends.  Winners are divided into two groups, age 8-12 and 13-16.  As with the NAAEE 30-under-30 awards we mentioned last week, a large number of those mentioned are from North America. ∫∫∫

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School trips are what teaching is really all about says Emma Kell in a recent TES article in which she reflected “on the insanity and sheer preciousness of these 24/7 tests of endurance that I’ve felt compelled to come back to again and again and again.”  Emma is a secondary teacher in north-east London and author of How to Survive in Teaching.  This is a brief extract from her gloriously positive advert for getting involved in trips:

“You don’t notice the smell of the coach until you stop for a break and get back on again. Then it hits: a fuggy wall of cheese and something distinctly canine. As you walk up the coach chanting “Seatbelts!” for what must be the thousandth time this week, your feet crunch on sand that’s fallen out of clothing (whose idea was it to make the last stop the beach?) and you tread on something vaguely moist and sticky, the provenance of which you’d rather not consider.  There’s something otherwordly about this bubble you find yourself in – the world and its concerns seem distant and unreachable. You’ve been seated for hours on this coach, and yet your senses are sharp, as they have been for the past five days (even during the few precious hours of sleep you’ve snatched), with the knowledge that these children’s safety and happiness are the sole responsibility of you and your colleagues. The phrase “in loco parentis” has never felt so pertinent.” ∫∫∫

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The Climate Reality Project Global Education Group has launched a Climate Action Classrooms programme.  It focuses on advancing climate science curriculum standards in classrooms around the world, inspiring and engaging the next generation of Environmental Justice leaders, innovators, STEM specialists and entrepreneurs.  It is supporting a network of classrooms committed to translating the global youth climate activist movement into project-based learning, curriculum that inspires students to value critical thinking, collaborative problem-solving and ultimately, elevates young leaders’ instincts and intrinsic motivation to address the challenges climate change presents.

Each Climate Reality Project Global Education Group Climate Action Classroom will be paired with a grade-equivalent match.  In some cases, the pairs may be similar in level of study, complementary with regards to local and regional indicators of climate change, or the pair may have been matched because the two Climate Action Classrooms are enlisting outside of a traditional educational institution.

Here is a link if you want to submit details about your own work.  Or you can email the following details to innerenerg@icloud.com :

  1. Name of School or Youth Group/ Club.
  2. Town/City, State, Country. Language (s)
  3. Class grade / level of study.
  4. Class size / number of students in the grade or group.
  5. Administrative staff or faculty members that support participation in the program.
  6. Do you have access to onsite or in-classroom broadband internet and the technology needs to conduct online events?

The deadline for submitting details is September 29. ∫∫∫

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The comparison website Compare the Market has analysed 20 socio-economic factors, including environmental quality, to reveal the top five keys to living a long life.  The headlines are:

  • Nutrition & Basic Medical Care is the #1 factor to living a long life for all countries across the world – Japan, Italy, Australia, Canada and Sweden are the top five ranking countries for this factor which has a +90% positive correlation to higher life expectancies.
  • Environmental quality is the #2 factor for longer life expectancies.  With a +76% positive correlation with longer life expectancies, it seems that a cleaner environment really does affect life longevity.  The study found that these clean European countries will live longer than everyone else: Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, France, and the UK are the top five ranking countries for environmental quality.
  • The next most significant factors were: Access to information and communications [75%], Wealth [74%] and Adult literacy [71%].

You can see the study in full here.  ∫∫∫

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Here’s an update from Learning for Sustainability, Scotland. 

In early July we attended the UK and Ireland Regional Centres of Expertise in ESD event, hosted by RCE Cymru at Swansea University. There are plans for increased partnership and collaboration, read more about them here.  Global RCE is providing funding  for two of our Steering Group members to attend the European RCE meeting next month,  exploring Climate change, sustainable agriculture and food security.  This will be a chance to share activities in Scotland, learn from others and  explore possibilities for European partnership and collaboration.

You can now find detailed information about the partnership Connecting Classrooms programme for Scotland on our website.  We’re looking for ideas on the best way to spread the word about the exciting new #ConnectingClassrooms through Global Learning programme.  Click here to tell us your experience  and enter the prize draw before 20th September. There are also still some spaces left on our  Making Connections through Learning for Sustainability online course for teachers, starting on 13th September. ∫∫∫

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UKSSD has launched a survey asking us to share our ambitions for the UK Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] with a view to putting together an implementation brief for the prime minister.  There’s an open invitation to take part. ∫∫∫

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The Guardian had a Summer feature on what climate scientists do at home to “save the planet”.  There’s also been a feature on what the public can do to help avert the climate crisis, although its main advice is something that most of us can do nothing about.  Meanwhile, here’s a New York Times comment on a Guardian list of the 50 people who could “save the planet”. ∫∫∫

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The Communicate conference returns to Bristol Zoo Gardens on 12 and 13 November.  This is the UK’s annual environmental communication conference which brings together a wide range of people to develop skills, share practice and debate issues in science communication, nature conservation and engaging people with the natural world.  This year’s theme is Riding Waves, Changing Worlds.  The organisers say: “In 2019 we have seen environmental issues emerge dramatically at the forefront of public consciousness, thrusting into the mainstream. People are listening, but what is the message?  As communicators, we are operating in a complex social ecology where interventions, stories and behaviour change sit against a backdrop of political upheaval, upcoming policy change and an increasingly active movement of disenfranchised youth.  With different groups promoting a disparate (and sometimes conflicting) collection of simple actions, how can the sector align our messages, take action and build clarity in a society that is increasingly engaged, but lacking clear direction?”

There’s more information here about the event and about how to take part.  ∫∫∫