The ever-reliable Learn from Nature alerts me to a recent piece in the Guardian which I somehow missed. This reveals – SHOCK – that one secretary of state (Davy) has written a private letter to another (Gove) about the need for climate change to be a feature of the national curriculum. Whilst it's always interesting to see how government works, and reassuring to see that there is communication between great departments of state, you do have to wonder why Davy didn't just ask Gove across the cabinet table. Maybe he did, of course, and got the brush off.
According to the Guardian, Davy wrote:
"While I understand that one of the main objectives of the curriculum is to make it more concise and that 'climate change' is included within the science section, it does not appear in the geography section. As you'll be aware, there has been a significant number of responses, both from academic experts and the public, calling for climate change to feature explicitly in the geography curriculum. I am writing to express my strong support for such a change. Specifically mentioning climate change alongside the existing reference to 'climate' will ensure clarity on this issue for schools without requiring any major drafting changes to the curriculum. In doing so we will demonstrate the coalition's willingness to respond to feedback. More importantly we will safeguard the very important role that teachers have in helping children understand the impacts of climate change, one of the most important global issues of this century."
In a public response to the Davey letter, the DfE said:
"It is not true that climate change has been removed from the new draft national curriculum. In fact, the curriculum will give pupils a deeper understanding of all climate issues and has been welcomed by the Royal Geographical Society – which has specifically praised its treatment of climate change. Climate change is mentioned in the science curriculum, and both climate and weather feature throughout the geography curriculum. Nowhere is this clearer than the science curriculum for 11- to 14-year-olds, which states that pupils should learn about the 'production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the impact on climate'. This is at least as extensive, and certainly more precise, than the current science curriculum for that age group, which says only that 'human activity and natural processes can lead to changes in the environment'."
Just so. In my own comment to the DfE on its national curriculum proposals I made the point about the need for all departments to pull together and reflect the government's priorities about sustainability. Perhaps Davy was attempting to do just this.