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Climate in the classroom: University to hold Climate Education Summit

Climate summit

As part of our commitment to environmental sustainability in the Strategic Plan 2020-2026, the University will be holding a Climate Education Summit on 15 September to support better climate education in primary and secondary schools.

The Summit forms one part of a range of activities that we are leading or involved with in the lead up to the global climate change conference, COP26, in Glasgow later this year. It is part of our ongoing #PlanetPartners wider campaign to raise awareness of climate and sustainability issues and the University’s world-leading and inter-disciplinary expertise and partnerships in this area.

Vice-Chancellor Robert Van de Noort said: “Many groups and individuals already do good work in this area, but we must bring together experts across all areas of climate education if we are to genuinely address the issue. We hope the Summit can help deliver much-needed action and resources that make an immediate difference.”

What is the summit and what will it achieve?

The event will bring together young people, teachers, policymakers, and climate and education experts to highlight challenges faced by young people and their teachers and create solutions together. The Summit will create a nationwide action plan to immediately improve climate education in schools and will focus on ways to reach school pupils and children aged 8 to 18.

The Summit will include keynote plenary sessions open to all, and roundtable discussions with invited guests, with the aim of identifying how changes can be made across the curriculum in all subjects, and challenges that can be overcome together.

The intention is that the lessons learnt from the Summit reach COP26, and that any partnerships and initiatives are rolled out and replicated widely and in the long-term, to support as many schools as possible.

Who is involved?

The Summit is being held in partnership with the Office for Climate Education, Royal Meteorological Society, Met Office, EAUC and Ashden. The University is working with these partners and others to pinpoint actions that can be taken to improve climate education, to equip young people with the knowledge they need to face a challenging future with confidence. COP26 President Alok Sharma will also attend the event.

Why Reading?

Surveys of teachers by climate education campaign group Teach the Future showed that 9 out of 10 teachers agree that climate change should be compulsory in schools, yet only 3 out of 10 feel equipped to teach it. Through their Mock COP Declaration, young people around the world are demanding up-to-date teaching on environmental impacts being seen globally and ways to build resilience.

With the University’s expertise in teaching and education, climate science and resilience and as careful custodians of our own campus environments, we have the perfect opportunity to convene and facilitate this discussion across disciplines, for the benefit of future generations.

How you can get involved!

1.       Booking your free place at the online event

2.       Ask a question of speakers taking part

3.       Speak up now: tell us in advance what is needed from climate education

4.       Tell others about the event and encourage them to get involved now

5.       Let us know, by email with your stories of how you are incorporating climate and sustainability education into your teaching, research or professional services work.

6.       Check out our new climate and sustainability action website, Partnering for the Planet.

If you have any questions about the Climate Education Summit, please e-mail


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