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Working together to make change happen

Following the Climate Education Summit, our National Climate Education Action Plan has emerged. No single organisation, or indeed government department, is able to take this agenda forward alone. Informed by diverse voices  comprised of our speakers and guests and the wider public who submitted questions and suggestions – our joint plan is co-owned, co-led and contributed to by both different organisations and young people themselves. Only by working together will real change be possible. The University of Reading will support and collaborate with our partners and others to put the Action Plan into practice.

Close up of field of solar panels
Read about the progress we've made so far towards the National Climate Education Action Plan.

National Climate Education Action Plan

1. Everyone involved in the education of children in school and college settings should be encouraged and supported to access accredited continuing professional development (CPD) to improve their personal understanding of up-to-date data and science of our changing climate and the impacts of these changes.

2. All teacher trainers and initial teacher trainees should be able to access training that empowers them to effectively incorporate climate education within their teaching across all levels and subjects.

3. Teachers and school leaders should be encouraged and empowered, both at a national and local level, to ensure time and space within and beyond the teaching day is included for climate education.

4. Every school and college should identify a senior staff member to lead on climate education and provide them with support and funding.

5. A structured programme or climate award for schools, colleges and youth organisations should be developed, providing a national focus to a range of extra-curricular activities and supporting resources to aid delivery.

6. A national scheme of quality assurance of teaching resources for climate education should be developed.

7. A regular national meeting of the dynamic, well-supported national networks of educators, scientists and young people should be held, to share ideas and promote collaboration among representatives of these groups.

8. Professionals working in climate research and policy, from science and non-science disciplines, should pledge a proportion of their working time to providing help to teacher-led climate education initiatives.

9. A national, guiding framework for all educational providers that outlines compulsory climate education for all young people via schools and colleges should be developed and implemented.

Read full details of the National Climate Education Action Plan (PDF, 530KB)

Implicit in our Action Plan is that better climate education is needed and that this education should not be solely delivered through a single school subject or group of subjects. Climate change impacts all areas of society and so our Plan takes a broad view of education. The focus is on climate education, acknowledging that pressures on the Earth's ecology and biodiversity are strongly linked with climate change. The need for focused action means the Plan does not encompass Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) more broadly; however, this focus does not indicate that development of ESD is not needed. The Plan focuses on climate education for young people aged eight to 18 – not to diminish the importance of climate education for younger children, but to provide an initial point of focus.

Our ambition is that the Action Plan, which has been referenced in the Department for Education's Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy, will enact positive change in climate education for young people throughout the UK. We acknowledge that variation exists between and within the four nations; our aspiration is that all young people will receive comprehensive, up-to-date climate education, irrespective of where they live. We fully recognise the challenges that schools and teachers face in finding time and resources to support climate education, particularly when recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, the issue is pressing and must be tackled immediately. This is why it is critical that we work together and that the Action Plan is co-owned; only with input from teachers, school leaders, policymakers, climate experts, young people and educational leaders can it be realistic and suitable for the modern classroom.

Get involved and help take action

We would love to hear your thoughts about what you could do to support this critical work and get involved. The plan is only as strong as the people committing to deliver the actions – partnership is essential.

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We're green in all sorts of ways
People & Planet University League
1st in the People & Planet University League 2023
The Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education 2021
Queens Anniversary Prize for climate research and action
Times Higher Education Awards 2023
Winner of Outstanding Contribution to Environmental Leadership