Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the NEU, said:

"The climate crisis is unfolding before our eyes.  Each year we see its effects intensifying, both at home and abroad, with storms, heatwaves, wildfires and storms devastating communities. The commitment to sustainability and the net zero transition requires deep change across every aspect of our lives, beginning with the way we educate our children.  Sustainability and environmental education must be embedded throughout the curriculum and must focus beyond simply transferring knowledge. Young people must be empowered to bring about change, with educators free to support the widest and most open discussions. 

"The Department for Education’s final Climate Strategy, due to be published by the end of April 2022, should be a turning point. However, the draft strategy – as published in November 2021 – although making some positive steps towards taking the action needed to meet the challenges ahead, fell short of what is needed to bring about transformative change.

"Young people are deeply concerned about the climate crisis and are seeking to shape and influence decisions which will impact their future. We urge the Government to listen to the voices of young people and their educators. The next generation needs to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to tackle the climate crisis – and our schools and educators must be adequately resourced and supported in delivering this."

ENDS

Note to editors

We are currently in Bournemouth for our Annual Conference (11-14 April), during which time you will receive a higher number of press releases than usual.  

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  • The National Education Union stands up for the future of education. It brings together the voices of more than 450,000 teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders working in maintained and independent schools and colleges across the UK, to form the largest education union in Europe. 
  • It is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing its members in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. 

The National Education Union is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). It is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.