CIWEM’s Chief Executive Terry Fuller has added his signature to a letter to Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson and Michael Gove MP urging them to support the Jim Knight Bill.
Drafted by Teach the Future – a campaign to make education on the climate crisis mainstream in the curriculum – the letter hopes to help the bill gain momentum as it moves through parliament.
Tabled by Lord Knight, Labour member of House of Lords, it makes provision in the national curriculum regarding sustainable citizenship and protection of the environment.
The bill would bring forward more suitable climate education by making three fundamental changes to the Education Act 2002:
1. By revising what is seen as a “balanced and broadly based curriculum” to be a curriculum that “instils an ethos and ability to care for oneself, others and the natural environment, for present and future generations.”
2. It makes the provision of education on sustainable citizenship part of the curriculum for all secondary school pupils, with guidance given by the Secretary of State.
3. It makes changes to the meaning of the subject “citizenship” in Key Stage 1 to add lessons that promote learning about protecting and restoring natural environments. This addition to the Citizenship course would include learning about the climate emergency and climate justice, but it would not be limited to this.
The Minister of the Department for Education, unfortunately, did not support the bill during the second reading, but Teach the Future hope that the campaign can gain the support of the Department for Education before the committees stage of the bill.
Commenting, Fuller – who made a commitment to speak at schools as part of his personal planet pledge earlier this year – said:
“Our annual water prize competition for schools highlights skills and ideas that will transform our world.
“I have no doubt that a curriculum and teacher training that inspires young people and informs them about our natural world is the secret to tackling the climate and ecological emergencies.”
A survey on climate education conducted by Erasmus+ – the EU programme for education, training and youth – in July 2020, which included responses from teachers and headteachers from 36 countries, found that only 29 per cent felt that climate education is already sufficiently covered in the school curriculum.
If you are from an organisation that would like to sign the letter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the signatory’s name, their role in the organisation, and the organisation's name, with the subject line “Education (Environment and Sustainable Citizenship) Bill letter”.
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