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Youth climate strikes

Joint letter to DfE on climate strategy in the curriculum

25 January 2022

The NEU, NASUWT, NAHT, UCU, UNISON, GMB, and the NUS, alongside SOS-UK, The Edge and ThoughtBox, have today written to secretary of state for education, Nadhim Zahawi to share joint concerns that the curriculum needs to address and reflect the importance of sustainability and the effects of climate change.

The proposed Department for Education strategy to sketch out the changes needed in our education system to reflect this importance is welcome, the signatories say.

Yet there remain areas of concern where proposed changes do not go far enough, and other issues have been overlooked. The organisations say the language around resource and finance is vague, whilst certain key targets are far less ambitious than required, and climate education is confined to discrete subject areas rather than embedded holistically. Instead, they propose concrete and ambitious alternatives, including:

  • embedding sustainability and environmental education throughout the whole curriculum
  • prompt action to tackle gender disparity within STEM subjects
  • establishing, and keeping to a target date of 2030 for the retrofitting of the school estate
  • development of a detailed policy on green travel for students, staff, and parents.

These steps will better enable educators, children and young people to achieve the fundamental change necessary for future generations to thrive.

Last updated: 25 January 2022