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New focus for environmental studies

THE 5-14 environmental studies review is likely to recommend renaming it "science, technology and society" in line with the secondary guidelines issued for consultation by the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum.

Topics would embrace the social subjects, science and technology, with science given progressively more emphasis, particularly for upper primary pupils. Health would be covered under personal and social education, while information technology is likely to be cross-curricular.

Meanwhile the World Wide Fund for Nature has called for more help to be given to teachers so schools can take full advantage of environmental studies.

The organisation has been running the Bright Sparks award scheme for the past three years, designed to support the 5-14 guidelines through in-service training and help with classroom projects.

Linda Cracknell, the fund's education adviser, says secondary schools in particular face problems because traditional boundaries prevent connections being made between subjects.

"This hampers the ability of learning to link, for example, human health and the environment, social conditions and the economy, and thus develop joined-up thinkers," Ms Cracknell says.

The fact that many secondary projects have to be developed at lunch or after school to allow for subject integration "is a testimony to the motivation of both teachers and pupils but a sad reflection on the structure".

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