I gave a seminar in the University on Tuesday to Mark my retirement. A little late, of course, but that was just about scheduling. I talked about the way that an interest in sustainability and learning had developed over the last 9 years since my inaugural professorial lecture in April 2002, and tried to look to where the successes had been [ HEFCE & DCSF ] and what had been much less successful [ HEA & LSC/SFA/LSIS/etc. ], and why this was the case. I looked across schools, colleges and universities in doing this. Not many jokes, someone complained, and somebody else said, you didn't mention the Decade, and I suddenly realised that this was so. Not deliberate, but I'd just not given it a thought. Dear me!
But why, I now wonder.
Well, I was talking about changes in UK (mostly English as it happens) policy and practice, and it seems to me that all the successful policy shifts were internally pushed by very able senior managers, who were convinced that a focus on sustainability was hugely important, and who worked closely (and strategically) with experts in collaboration with well-managed formal and informal advisory groups. And it does seem to me that the very limited external pull that the Decade can offer provided next to no traction for these processes. This is not to say that the Decade isn't an international activity worthy of note, or that the UK ESD reports have no usefulness, but let's not pretend that these have contributed much strategy to English education (for sustainable development) successes and failures. And before anyone asks, yes, I do wonder (once again) whether I'm the best person to chair the UK National Commission's ESD Co-ordinating Group and Forum.