This week, we are once again publishing an educational news item (or two) related to COP 26 every day. Please read on …

Thursday Nov 11th The Global Environmental Education Partnership (GEEP) is launching the GEEP Africa Hub at #COP26 today with guest speakers from Taiwan, the United States, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Botswana, Mauritius, and Nigeria. It’s at 3pm and you can join here.

Thursday Nov 11th It’s not too late to catch up with the Transform Our World Youth Summit. On Friday the finale will feature expert speakers and Youth Presenters, reflecting on what has arisen from both COP26 and the Summit.

Thursday Nov 11th Meanwhile, away from Glasgow, retired headteacher and author, Dr David Dixon was part of a BBC Politics London programme, talking with two MPs. The conversation was prefaced by a video of climate education in Rathfern primary school. The school discussion starts about 55 seconds into the programme. Was what the school doing inherently (and vitally) educational or was it just indoctrination as one of the MPs claimed? David was clear. You can read a sample chapter of his new book, Leadership For Sustainability, here.

Wednesday Nov 10th This is the NAHT response to the DfE’s draft strategy: “Schools are fully committed to playing their part in tackling climate change. There is a huge amount of good work already taking place in schools to reduce their carbon footprint, and we know this generation of pupils are passionate about bringing about meaningful change. A coherent national strategy is essential if we are to see real impact. The government must be truly ambitious, not just looking to new buildings, but also at how the existing school estate can be made as environmentally friendly as possible. Many schools are already actively teaching pupils about the importance of conserving and protecting our planet through their existing curriculum. It’s vital that any work on a new model curriculum is developed in close consultation with the profession and builds on the excellent work already taking place.”

Graham Frost, NAHT national executive member, headteacher of Robert Ferguson Primary School in Carlisle, and NAEE Fellow, who proposed a motion encouraging the teaching of the climate crisis to NAHT’s annual conference in 2019, said:

“Education is almost universally considered the means by which we build for a better future, so we simply have to equip children with the knowledge they need to challenge politicians and business leaders to act urgently on climate change. School leaders cannot ignore the growing pupil voice on climate change, and children cannot articulately challenge the powers-that-be without being educated. I have seen young people speak truth to power. I have also witnessed their despair with elected officials who think personal changes such as using a different soap or recycling plastic is sufficient response to looming environmental catastrophe. Equipped with scientific knowledge, our pupils can see that system-wide technological, political, sociological and economic changes on a local and global level are urgently and desperately needed.”

Wednesday Nov 10th – What really goes on during COP climate negotiations? The Economist explains. For example: “… draft texts are written in the strange, sterile language of international diplomacy and an inordinate amount of time is spent on wording: debates on whether something “should” or “will” happen can stretch on for days. They also end up littered with square brackets, which denote areas where there is significant disagreement. For example, the text for Article 6 of the Paris agreement—a controversial clause about global carbon markets—began cop26 with 373 bracketed sections, after talks failed to reach any consensus on it at cop25 in Madrid. As of November 5th the bracket-count was down to 296″

Tuesday Nov 9th – The Scottish Youth Film Foundation has recruited 12 young journalists to create and host a daily broadcast for learners from COP26 from the 8th to the 12th November. The programme will be broadcast via YouTube from 5pm-6pm each evening. You can subscribe here and meet the team and hear about their plans here. F Please follow @SYFF on Twitter for the latest news.

Tuesday Nov 9th – The next Our Shared World event is on Nov 17th (5 – 6pm) to reflect on COP26 and what this means for for OSW’s wider goal of SDG 4.7 You can register via Eventbrite.

Monday Nov 8th – Here is the DfE press release about the draft policy in relation to climate education. The headline statement is: “Young people will be empowered to take action on the environment as part of new measures designed to put climate change at the heart of education.” Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:

“We want to deliver a better, safer, greener world for future generations of young people, and education is one of our key weapons in the fight against climate change. Empowering teachers in every school to deliver world-leading climate change education will not only raise awareness and understanding of the problem, but also equips young people with the skills and knowledge to build a sustainable future. The COP26 summit has further amplified the UK’s commitments to become a world leader in sustainability right across the education system by engaging young people and bringing them on our journey towards net zero and a green future. And it goes beyond the classroom – our National Education Nature Park and Climate Leaders Awards will let pupils get hands on experience of understanding, nurturing and protecting the biodiversity around them.”

Monday Nov 8th – The outcomes of the meeting of ministers of education and environment at COP 26 last Friday has now been published. There are 8 commitments from the UK and Italian governments. These are the first three:

–1– We recognise education as a society-wide learning process that can equip everyone with knowledge, skills, values and attitudes needed for urgent action to combat climate change.

–2– We commit to the integration of sustainability and climate change in formal education systems, including as core curriculum components, in guidelines, teacher training, examination standards and at multiple levels through institutions.

–3– We similarly commit to the integration of sustainability and climate change in professional training, public awareness and information activities, and other areas of non-formal and informal learning. We consider it crucial to support out of school activities geared towards sustainability.

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