New ESD Case Studies from UNESCO UK

Posted in: Comment, New Publications

The UK's National Commission for UNESCO has published a series of case studies on ESD:  Good practice in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the UK: Case Studies.

The Introduction says:

"Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is described by UNESCO as enabling us to address present and future global challenges and create more sustainable and resilient societies by changing the way we think and act.  This requires quality education and learning for sustainable development at all levels and in all social contexts.  This report provides a series of case studies from across the UK that illustrates how ESD has been used to influence the people and communities involved.  The studies are drawn from formal education, community engagement and the private sector.  Each case study provides a brief description of the activity and, where possible, draws lessons and identifies opportunities for scaling up the approach to a regional or national level."


"This policy brief seeks to showcase good practice in ESD from across the UK.  The case studies are offered as examples to the UNESCO Secretariat, other Member States and ESD practitioners of approaches to ESD which can be applied in different educational and social contexts."

The Cases focus on:

  1. Engaging schools in sustainability: Eco-Schools, England
  2. Learning for sustainability and teacher training: The General Teaching Council for Scotland’s professional standards
  3. Students as change agents: National Union of Students UK
  4. Institutional change programmes in higher education: the UK’s Green Academy change programme
  5. International education through distance learning: the post-graduate Education for Sustainability programme at London South Bank University
  6. [i] Disadvantage and ESD: Down to Earth Project in Wales; [ii] St James’s Community Forum, Belfast
  7. Education business partnership and professional practice: Bulmer Foundation and Heineken
  8. Aligning Welsh business and sustainability: Cynnal Cymru- Sustain Wales

I should declare an interest in that I wrote the first draft of Case 3, although I don't really see it as ESD.

You will find it all here.  When you read it, you might wonder whether it's long enough.  That is: are these the only examples that could be found?  Or might more have been made of the contexts that are explored?  Or could each have been just a bit more analytical.  Then you might wonder if they are really about ESD, as opposed to education more generally.

My own view is that publications like this, no matter how useful, are no substitute for the form and structure of the two in-depth studies that UNESCO UK published in the years before the 2010 election, or even for the Policy Brief written in 2013.  Again, I've an interest to declare in all these).  That said, it's good to see something published on education by UNESCO in the UK.

Posted in: Comment, New Publications


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