I was pleased to see the report in Carlisle's News & Star of the youth summit on climate change that was held at the University of Cumbria just before Easter. It was organised by the enterprising folk at Robert Ferguson Primary School in Carlisle under the leadership of headteacher Graham Frost. You can see a short video of the event here.
Graham Frost has a motion at the current NAHT conference seeking support for climate change lessons in schools – something I wish him well with.
You can read more from Graham on the NAEE blog last week where his theme is: Educators should give young people knowledge and understanding about climate change, but then allow them to speak out about it. The second of these elements is not something that all schools take seriously; but then neither is the first.
This is how Graham's blog ended:
"Delegates were unanimous in their hope to make the summit an annual event, the intention being to hold local politicians and businesses to account, but also to work together in the interim. The general feeling among the young delegates was that they felt well-informed about environmental science, were agreed that not enough is being done, and requested for school councils and their peers in general to be provided with further guidance about how and to whom they should communicate their demands. A number of specialist environmental educators were attending as special guest and welcomed the opportunity to support schools and young people going forward.
Educating young people about democracy is a statutory requirement. As a nation we have very high expectations about educational standards in terms of communication and understanding, discussion and debate, but we should also be facilitating an audience for our increasingly informed and articulate young people. To equip them with knowledge, but none of the empowerment necessary to act on that knowledge is a dereliction of duty. What I am proposing here is that educators use their obligations as the key to providing young people with an appropriate audience.
It is easy for the climate change dismisser to shrug and say “It won’t happen in my lifetime!” It is much harder for them to look a child in the eye and say the same, reprehensible words."