So, are we making progress?

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

If you wanted to take a glass half-full view of how young people are being prepared for the challenges of climate change and the ecological crisis, I think you might make these points:

  • The Greta Thunberg-inspired, monthly student Friday strikes organised by Teach the Future.  These occur up and down the country and are also international
  • Students are protesting about what they see as the lack of effective government action and the lack of effective education within schools.  These are both new phenomena
  • Students are campaigning in relation to climate change and also the ecological crisis.  It’s really important that these continue to be linked.
  • The campaign relates to both primary and 11-19 institutions
  • There is wide-ranging support from organisations across the environment sector
  • Teach the Future has 6 reasonable asks, and is campaigning effectively (eg its recent parliamentary reception).  The main ask is for a government commissioned review into how the whole of the English formal education system is preparing students for the climate emergency and ecological crisis
  • There is talk of a HoC Select Committee inquiry (DfE hates these)
  • It seems that two large teacher unions (NEU and NAHT) are on-side
  • Some schools are doing a really good job
  • The academy sector wants their schools to do more
  • Whilst government tends to play a straight bat at all of this, Teach the Future is helping students combat what the DfE says; ie, it acknowledges that schools do teach this stuff, (as NAEE reports have shown) but point out that what they do is inadequate and inequitable.
  • DfE is in a bit of a bind (always good to see) as it cannot be seen to completely ignore young people (who are being rational and reasonable), and yet it doesn’t really believe in what they are saying.
I have the sense that the world has caught up with what environmental educators have been talking about for 55 years.  What’s really new is student action.
There is, of course, a glass nearly empty view as well.  If if doesn't make me too depressed I might have a go at that next week.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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