Joe Brindle, a member of the Teach the Future leadership team, writes about the organisation’s new tactics, having failed to engage English school education ministers in serious conversations about the changes they are seeking to the student experience of schools. NAEE is a core supporter of Teach the Future and its aim of curriculum reform. Joe writes:

If you’re a member of NAEE, you have probably heard about Teach the Future, but for those of you that haven’t, we’re a student-led campaign pushing for climate and ecological education. Since October last year, we’ve been lobbying politicians in the hopes of securing a (or ideally several) meetings with an English Education Minister, to do this we have: hosted a Parliamentary Reception in February (where I got to very briefly talk to the Universities Minister before she ran off); written many letters to Gavin Williamson; organised a big MP letter-writing campaign and so much more. Unfortunately, we’ve made very little progress. Of course, a lot of this could be attributed to the current COVID situation, it’s understandable that climate education hasn’t been the top priority of ministers during the last year – but we don’t want our time at Teach the Future going to waste.

Because of this, we have decided that we should try some new tactics, we’re not changing our asks or goals, but rather than focusing purely on lobbying MPs directly we will be increasingly working to build large public support behind the campaign. One thing we have seen over the last year is that this current government, when under enough public pressure, will make U-turns on matters from free school meals during holidays to A-Level and GCSE results. We hope that we can do this with Teach the Future. Additionally, this means that even if we do get a new education secretary, or even a new government before our asks are achieved, we won’t have to start again in our lobbying.

One more thing, as well as our English campaign we also have a group working hard in Scotland, and over the last few months they have been able to secure a meeting with John Swinney, Education Minister, where he said he would consider including our asks in the next SNP manifesto.

There are still many questions we have yet to answer, so for us at Teach the Future it seems that the next few months will be spent planning future tactics (as well as settling back into schools, sixth forms and colleges).


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