Reduce, Re-use...Remove? Join the campaign to keep sustainability in the curriculum

Curriculum

Jennifer Mark, jennifer.mark11@gmail.com | 09/04/13 | London

Public consultation on the UK’s 2014 National Curriculum ends on April 16th. With only a week to go, everyone with an interest in the future of UK education needs to act fast to ensure their voice is heard.

The new curriculum concentrates on “core” knowledge. By doing so, it aims to give teachers greater control over which topics they address. But since schools must prepare pupils for exams and assessments, they will be required to make judgement calls. Without curriculum guidance, important topics will inevitably be lost from many UK classrooms. 

One of the proposed changes is the removal of sustainability from the curriculum. Sustainability and Environmental Education (SEEd), a charity that supports environmental and sustainable development education in the UK, is urgently petitioning against this move.

It is not only schools that will be affected. Organizations such as botanic gardens and museums often base their education programmes around the National Curriculum. Such programmes typically have high educational merit, giving children unique learning opportunities in informal or outdoor settings. However, if schools cut back on sustainability and associated topics, the programmes are likely to suffer, with a knock-on effect for pupils.

Far from being a single or static topic, sustainability constantly evolves with the fields of economics, industry and the life sciences, which are themselves becoming increasingly important.

Learning about sustainability means learning about recycling, climate change, pollution, health, energy, food production and above all, social responsibility. These are issues which we as a society are struggling to address today. How can future generations hope to tackle them without the facts?

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