I see that the government now has a dedicated webpage to the SDGs. This says:
'The UK is committed to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. The most effective way to do this is by ensuring that the Goals are fully embedded in planned activity of each Government department. The most effective mechanism for coordinating implementation is the departmental planning process. ..."
So far; so good. The webpage then sets out all 17 goals with links to a number of strategies that are related to the goals.
When you look at Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, and you click on the links, you find that the Department of Education says this:
"Our purpose is to help create a country where there is social mobility and equality of opportunity by providing excellent education, training and care, and to help everyone reach their potential, regardless of background. We will achieve our purpose by working tirelessly to deliver our ambitions.
One overarching ambition will focus on places and communities across the country that feel they have been ‘left behind’, because they have not yet seen the improvement that other parts of the country have already benefited from. A further four ambitions will cover the key life stages of people’s education:
- Closing the word gap. Boosting access to high quality early language and literacy both in the classroom and at home ensuring more disadvantaged children leave school having mastered the basics of literacy that many take for granted
- Closing the attainment gap. Raising standards for every pupil, supporting teachers early in their career as well as getting more great teachers in areas where there remain significant challenges
- Real choice at post-16. Creating world-class technical education, backed by a half a billion pounds in investment, and increasing the options for all young people regardless of their background
- Rewarding careers for all. Boosting skills and confidence to make the leap from education into work, raising career aspirations. Building a new type of partnership with businesses to improve advice, information and experiences for young people
These ambitions build on other vital work to tackle key challenges throughout the life stages: investing in support for looked after children e.g. through the pupil premium plus, virtual school heads, and designated teachers; delivering sustainable improvements to the children’s social care system e.g. supporting the social work profession through establishing a What Works centre to disseminate best practice; taking forward the biggest changes to SEND provision in a generation, providing tailored support from 0-25; and delivering bold new proposals on children’s mental health to ensure all children can develop into confident adults. ..."
It's a curiosity, however, that on this DfE webpage there is no link to the SDGs, or any mention that these plans relate to the Goals.
This does not look like a whole-hearted commitment; much more like box-ticking. The DfE helpfully has a "What's wrong with this page?" button for feedback. So I told them.