New report on climate curriculum launched

Tuesday 9 July 2024

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Hailed as “essential reading” by Dr James Rae at the University of St Andrews, the newly launched National Climate Education Action Plan Curriculum Mapping report highlights the many opportunities to bring quality climate and sustainability education into the curriculum.

As the new UK government begins its stated mission to ‘rebuild Britain’, a group of education and climate experts is calling for sustainability and climate education to be at the heart of its priorities. 

In its election manifesto, the Labour party committed to making Britain a clean energy superpower and to a new, modern educational curriculum.  

The report highlights different options to improve climate education from the first week of the new government, and the pros and cons of each of these approaches.  

Launched at the Royal Meteorological Society Annual Weather and Climate Conference this week in Reading, the report includes detailed mapping showing where and how climate can fit into the curriculum. These changes could be implemented quickly while a more comprehensive review takes place.

The report also highlights how greater inclusion of climate education fits with the desire of the new government to make the curriculum rich, broad and inclusive. 

“This is essential reading for new education ministers, highlighting opportunities to educate young people on climate change and the green economy of their future,” James stated.

James contributed through his role on the education and outreach board of the Royal Meteorological Society. “It’s absolutely critical that young people across the UK understand what’s happening to our climate and the net zero solutions that are needed to respond,” he said.  

The report indicates opportunities for an expansion of current climate education by adjusting teaching within the current curriculum, or by making small but meaningful changes to current curriculum specifications.   

In the foreword to the report, Lisa Hoerning, a recent school leaver, makes clear the desire amongst young people for the forthcoming curriculum review to incorporate climate and sustainability education as a theme that crosses subjects and educational levels.  

She said: “The current curriculum studied by young people across England doesn’t educate us on the climate and ecological emergency, and, depending on your subject preferences, you can nearly skip the relevant content entirely.” 

She also expressed her hope that that in the near future climate education, as demonstrated in the report, would be integrated across all subjects. 

The report was produced by a group of authors from fourteen educational organisations led by Professor Sylvia Knight, of the Royal Meteorological Society, and science education expert Dr Sean McQuaid and is endorsed by a broad coalition of 60 organisations from schools, colleges, universities, climate charities and educational publishers.  

The full National Climate Education Action Plan Curriculum Mapping report is published online. 


Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

Category Sustainability

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