I listened into the latest Wild Live webinar the other day, but came away disappointed.
In case you wanted a reason not to watch it, I can reveal [Spoiler Alert!] the answer to the question posed in the title is: YES! Education is failing our young people and the natural world. But you knew that already, didn't you?
This was the blurb for the event:
"As we live through a climate and nature crisis, we ask in this Wild LIVE whether our education system is equipping future generations with the skills and knowledge they need to tackle these monumental issues. We will consider how providing access to nature is a key part in this – and how a fully inclusive roll-out of outdoor learning could help to build resilience and development in children of all ages, whilst improving health and wellbeing. As schools return to face-to-face learning, it’s crunch time for the Government’s Department of Education in progressing this agenda – and we’ll be reviewing whether they are up to the task or whether their report card will be sent home with dismal results."
The trouble was that everyone agreed with each other – for hour after hour (Actually, it was only 110 minutes but just felt longer). Maybe that was because too many of those taking part were Wildlife Trusts insiders with shared perspectives. Perhaps it was because they liked to talk about Wildlife Trusts' initiatives a lot (Nature Friendly Schools got a lot of mentions, for example). Or maybe it was because everyone was just so uncritical and incurious, or that every input seemed to be either "fantastic" or "brilliant"; it was a bit like being in an über-supportive primary classroom.
I wanted to know why it was that some schools seem to be reasonably good at this sort of teaching, whereas others aren't. This reality means that it cannot just be about money, or that the DfE bogeyman is always to blame. I should have asked the question had I thought I had the remotest chance of a decent answer.
So! Maybe Wild Live needs to mirror the natural world and employ a bit more diversity in what it offers; that is, a diversity of perspective and thought, rather than just background.