Commenting on education measures on climate change and the environment being announced by Nadhim Zahawi at COP26, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

"There are steps in the DFE's sustainability plan that we can welcome strongly, and that we will be very pleased to engage further on.

'The stated ambition to have world leading climate education is very welcome but we have to be aware that the current bar is set very low, given the paucity of climate education worldwide.

'We welcome the notion of expanding the amount of climate education in the STEM curriculum but believe that this needs to be extended into wider areas of the curriculum such as religious education, economics, history, ​geography, and the arts - and we will want to engage further with DfE on this. It requires teacher training and curriculum space.

'Planning for all new school buildings to have zero emissions is​ welcome but we also need to look at retrofitting the current school estate.

The notion of energy pods that can be used to replace existing heating systems is interesting but at the moment is still in a research phase.

We want to work with DfE on plans for a well-funded and resourced programme of works which is supportive of schools not something which is an extra burden on overworked head teachers or their school budgets.

'One area not so far mentioned in the DfE’s plans - travel to school by students - is currently very carbon intensive and this has to be addressed by joint working between the education and transport departments.

ENDS 

2021-180-NEU 

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