Online consultation on QAA/HEA draft guidance on ESD for UK higher education open until 3 January 2014

SML-qaa-online-consltnThe online consultation of Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) on the new draft guidance on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) for UK higher education providers will come to a close on 3 January 2014. The guidance will then be published in early 2014.

Before launching this online consultation on 11 November, QAA and the Higher Education Academy (HEA), which collaborated in producing the draft, held a one-day consultation workshop in Birmingham on 5 November 2013 (see link below).

Why an ESD guidance?

This new ESD guidance aims to offer practical help to UK higher education providers who to embrace ESD as part of the student academic experience. Chapter B3: Learning and teaching of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education (the Quality Code), published in September 2012, identifies education for sustainability* (or ESD) as an educational theme that cuts across academic disciplines. The new guidance, offering a point of reference to educators, intends to complement the Quality Code, sitting alongside it.

Why a consultation on this draft?

The ongoing online consultation aims to gather wider views of the higher education sector and its stakeholders on this draft guidance, which has been developed by an expert group drawn from and acting on behalf of UK higher education community. Falling in line with its consultative and transparent process through which it operates, QAA intends to ensure that the final product is as representative as practically possible.

What does the draft cover?

The draft guidance:

  • Introduces the concept of ESD
  • Identifies a set of graduate outcomes (knowledge and understanding, skills, and attributes) appropriate for use as a framework in programme design and delivery
  • Offers guidance on approaches to teaching, learning and assessment
  • Provides a list of web-based resources

The guidance is not prescriptive and recognises that the way ESD is delivered would depend on institutional and disciplinary context.

Who should respond to the consultation?

Contributions are welcome from anyone with an interest in students’ academic experiences in ESD.

This may include staff within higher education (e.g. related to programme design and delivery, academic quality and the student experience), students and student representatives, academic support organisations, and professional, statutory and regulatory bodies. The consultation survey (on Survey Monkey) can be accessed from

For further information, please contact Dr Laura Bellingham at

Image adapted from the cover of the draft guidance


Consultation on draft guidance for UK higher education providers on ESD (QAA news release)

Please note that this page allows you to view/download the survey questions beforehand

ESD draft guidance for UK higher education providers:

QAA policy on consultations

ESD on QAA website

ESD page on the Higher Education Academy (HEA) website

ESD-related posts on the satellite websites of the Sustainable University One-stop Shop

Blog/ reflective diary

EDUCATION pathway to a Sustainable University (Part 1): curriculum content and delivery

Opportunities for integrating sustainability across curricula (Part 2 of EDUCATION pathway to a Sustainable University)

University of Planetshire approach to integrating sustainability across the curriculum (Part 3 of EDUCATION pathway to a Sustainable University)

Outputs of the University of Planetshire Approach to integrating sustainability across the curriculum (Part 4 of EDUCATION pathway to a Sustainable University)

The starting point of our sustainability crisis?

Who depends on whom? A game of plates


ESD has made inroads in new pedagogical ideas in future flexible higher education – HEA report

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) London Conference 2014: Call for Papers

QAA/HEA ESD Guidance Document for UK higher education goes under consultation

HEA-NUS Report 2013: Student attitudes towards and skills for sustainable development

New website: The Guide to Quality and Education for Sustainability in Higher Education

CONFERENCE: Quality Assurance, Enhancement and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD): Creating a Framework for Dialogue

New TOOLKIT: Problem-Based Learning: A Case Study of Sustainability Education

Gloucestershire workshop on Education for Sustainability in Higher Education

Delivering ESD and graduate attributes through Hybrid Problem-Based Learning

The suite of Sustainable University websites: Sustainable University One-stop Shop | News and Information | Research | Good Practice | Quotes | Blog | Diary | Micro-blog (@sustainableuni1 on Twitter)

‘Sharing for a Sustainable World’ #SSW on &

One comment

  1. Apologies, but the timing of this consultation has clashed with the end of the autumn teaching term (coursework marking and exam preparation), pre-Christmas academic conferences and the Christmas close down. Within the few weeks available it has not been possible to canvas views and organise a meeting to discuss an institutional response to the consultation.


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