A two-part report exploring the state of environmental education in secondary schools in England has been published. The project was: Understanding Environmental Education in Secondary Schools. Where is it, what is it and what should the future be?
Here’s a brief summary with links:
Report 1: Policy Perspectives
Summary: The provision of environmental education in formal schooling is weakly supported by national policies. There is currently a lack of intention or ideological vision for environmental education explicitly articulated in England’s education policy.
- The government should establish a coherent national policy which sets out a vision for environmental education in secondary schools. The policy would shape future National Curriculum reforms and national assessments.
- The national policy should recognize the multiple dimensions of environmental education (e.g. about, in and for the environment) and ensure that all dimensions are given equal footing throughout a student’s school career.
- Young people should be given the opportunity to think broadly about local and global environmental issues and encouraged to develop a sense of ownership and agency.
Report 2: The Practitioners’ Perspective
Summary: The provision of environmental education in England is complex, contested and circular. Viewed as a broad church, and a discipline which students find ‘interesting’, environmental education encompasses multiple topics and skills. Currently, however, environmental education has no defined home resulting in the subject ‘falling through the gaps’.
- Environmental education should be recognised in future Ofsted’s school inspection framework.
- Effective environmental education needs to encompass equal opportunities for environmental activism, subject acquisition, and skill development.
- Environmental education should be recognised in the Teachers’ Standards.
- Examination boards need to be encouraged to development and promote assessment procedures that capture equally environmental education’s three underpinning values: social responsibility/activism in the environment, knowledge about the environment and skills for the environment.
- Senior leaders need to be encouraged to include environmental responsibility and activism in their mission statement/school aim and school operations policies and practices.