By Asitha Jayawardena
The Department for Education (DfE) of the UK government published a policy paper, called “Sustainability and climate change: a strategy for the education and children’s services systems” on 21 April 2022. It is a strategy for 2030.
A strategy for the education and children’s services systems
Education is a key sector in the area of the climate crisis and the DfE has a crucial role to play in sustainability, particularly in reducing our environmental footprint and achieving net-zero targets.
Although the policies set out here focus on the environmental aspect of sustainability, they are drawn in such a way that the interaction of policies with the social and economic aspects of sustainability.
The strategy applies to:
- the Department for Education (DfE), its agencies and public bodies
- the education and children’s services systems in England – including:
- early years
- schools (and independent schools where applicable)
- further education
- higher education
- children’s social care
The targets and strategic aims set out relate to England only although the UK government and the devolved governments (Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) are committed to climate action. In international action, the entire UK will work together.
Vision and aims
The United Kingdom is the world-leading education sector in sustainability and climate change by 2030.
In England, we will achieve this through the following strategic aims:
- Excellence in education and skills for a changing world: preparing all young people for a world impacted by climate change through learning and practical experience.
- Net-zero: reducing direct and indirect emissions from education and care buildings, driving innovation to meet legislative targets and providing opportunities for children and young people to engage practically in the transition to net-zero.
- Resilience to climate change: adapting our education and care buildings and system to prepare for the effects of climate change.
- A better environment for future generations: enhancing biodiversity, improving air quality and increasing access to, and connection with, nature in and around education and care settings.
Making progress towards achieving the four strategic aims and overarching vision will be possible through short, medium and longer-term actions.
Action will be reviewed and updated annually for new opportunities, scientific updates, evidence and data.
The headings of the policy paper
Scope and purpose
The challenge and the opportunity
- Green skills and jobs
- Learning from and connecting with nature
Vision and aims
Initiatives to drive the strategy
- National Education Nature Park
- Climate Leaders Award
- Sustainability leadership
Action area 1: Climate education
- 1. Learning about the natural environment
- 2. Support for teaching
- 3. Learning in the natural environment
- Political impartiality
Action area 2: Green skills and careers
- 1. Net Zero Strategy
- 2. Additional support for green jobs and skills
- 3. Support and guidance for green careers
Action area 3: Education estate and digital infrastructure
- 1. New builds and new blocks
- 2. Existing estate
- 3. Resilience, adaptation, access to Nature and environment conditions
- 4. Heating solutions
- 5. Water strategy
- 6. Reporting Frameworks, Reporting Processes and Targets
Action area 4: Operations and supply chains
Action area 5: International
- Champion education and learning on the global stage
- Inspire, share and learn
- Trade and exports
- International initiatives
Leadership, engagement and next steps
The full paper is available FREE of charge at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sustainability-and-climate-change-strategy/sustainability-and-climate-change-a-strategy-for-the-education-and-childrens-services-systems