Make climate change core part of curriculum, Labour says

Labour says teaching about climate change will prepare pupils for jobs in renewable energy and green technology

Adi Bloom

climate change green footprint

Labour wants to see climate change taught as a core part of the national curriculum from primary school onwards, the party will announce tomorrow.

Under plans laid out by Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, the next Labour government would ensure that all pupils are taught about the ecological and social impact of climate change.

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The Labour review will also stipulate that the curriculum should focus on the knowledge and skills that pupils will need in a world increasingly shaped by climate change, with jobs in both renewable-energy and green-technology sectors.

The Labour-party announcement comes on the same day that the UK Climate Strike Network hosts more school strikes across the country.

One of the key demands of these school strikes is that the national curriculum should be reformed, so that it addresses the ecological crisis as an educational priority.

Currently, teaching climate change is restricted to chemistry and geography in key stages 3 and 4. 

The primary curriculum is not explicit about climate change. It stipulates that pupils should “explore examples of human impact (both positive and negative) on environments, for example the positive effects of nature reserves, ecologically planned parks or garden ponds, and the negative effects of population and development, litter or deforestation”.

Speaking ahead of a visit to a primary school in Manchester, Ms Rayner said: “We need to equip people with the knowledge to understand the enormous changes we face, and skills to work with the new green technologies that we must develop to deal with them. 

“That must be part of a broad education and that prepares pupils for adult life. Climate change should be a core part of the school curriculum, and under a Labour government it will be.”

This is the latest call for new additions to the curriculum. Earlier this week, an academic called for complex grammatical forms, such as the conditional tense, to be taught as part of the national curriculum, claiming that pupils who did not know how to use it properly were at a disadvantage in all subjects.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “It is important that pupils are taught about climate change, which is why it is in the national curriculum as part of science and geography in both primary and secondary school.

“The curriculum also includes the knowledge pupils need to help address climate change in the future. For example, in design and technology pupils are taught to consider the impact of the products they design on individuals, society and the environment.

"Schools have the autonomy to go into as much depth on these subjects as they see fit.”

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