Peers for the Planet – Lord Knight of Weymouth has introduced an Education (Environment and Sustainable Citizenship) Bill into the House of Lords. This aims to “make provision in the national curriculum regarding sustainable citizenship and protection of the environment.” You can track its progress here. Lord Knight came 6th in the ballot (draw) for Private Members Bills in the Lords. The DfE has not yet commented on the proposal. Teach the Future says that it is similar to much of what it put in its own proposed Climate Emergency Education Act in 2019. SEEd has been working with Peers for Planet to support this initiative, this included developing a briefing document and gathering evidence with the help of Our Shared World members.
The bill is likely to get second reading, and therefore be debated for the first time, on July 16th. So, get all your like-minded friends who know peers in the Lords lined up for that date!
1. – It seeks to amend section 78(1)(c) of the 2020 Education Act – general requirements in relation to curriculum – by adding “instils an ethos and ability to care for oneself, others and the natural environment, for present and future generations.” (SEEd and RSPB’s campaign for many years!)
2. – And to amend section 80(1)(f) of the Act – basic curriculum for every maintained school in England – to make provision “for sustainable citizenship education for all registered pupils who are provided with secondary education.”
3. – It then charges the Secretary of State to “give guidance about the provision of education under section 80(1)(f).”
4. – It requires that this guidance must be given with a view to ensuring that pupils learn about the impact of human behaviour on the natural environment, and the impact of the natural environment on human wellbeing. And …
5. – with a view to ensuring that pupils have opportunities to develop skills to protect and restore the natural environment, and skills to measure the impact of their actions on the natural environment.
6. – It then requires that the governing body of a maintained secondary school must have regard to guidance under this section.
7. – And requires the Secretary of State to review guidance under this section from time to time
8. – It defines “citizenship” to include programmes of study that encourage learning to protect and restore the natural environment for present and future generations, including but not limited to climate change considerations.” This applies to Key Stages 1 to 4.
The Sustainability of Schools – Teach the Future says that the Department for Education has established a sustainability unit, with a remit for operational and educational sustainability, and that they are working on a strategy for consultation.
Professor Bill Scott has written a blog about this too.