Benefits for Schools
Below are some of the benefits schools can obtain by applying for an EcoAward.
Natural History GCSE
On 21 April 2022 the Department for Education launched its Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy which includes the launch of a new natural History GCSE.
Secondary school students will be able to study the natural world through an exciting new GCSE in natural history to be introduced by September 2025.
It forms part of new plans announced by Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi detailing how the UK education sector is to become a world leader in climate change by 2030, as part of the launch of the government’s flagship Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy.
The new Natural History qualification will enable young people to explore the world by learning about organisms and environments, environmental and sustainability issues, and gain a deeper knowledge of the natural world around them.
They will also develop the skills to help them carve a future career in the natural world if they wish to – for example observation, description, recording and analysis, through sustained and structured field study.
The government will also confirm its plans to accelerate the rollout of carbon literacy training to support at least one sustainability lead in every locally maintained nursery, school, college and university. The training will support settings to develop climate action plans that will bring together and drive activity to improve climate education, put in place measures to protect them against the effects of climate change, and increase climate resilience through adaptation initiatives.
The Education Secretary will also pledged greater support for teaching climate change at all levels and by 2023 there will be new requirements for further education teachers to build sustainability into their teaching.
Young people will also be able to bolster their environmental education gained in existing subjects, including changes to landscapes and urbanisation in geography, and habitats and ecosystems in science.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:
“We are delivering a better, safer, greener world for future generations and education is one of our key weapons in the fight against climate change. The entrepreneurial, can-do spirit of this country makes me confident that we will win this fight.
“It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that young people are already very committed to a more sustainable planet. We should be proud of this, and I want to do everything I can to encourage this passion so they can be agents of change in protecting our planet.
“The new natural history GCSE will offer young people a chance to develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of this amazing planet, its environment and how we can come together to conserve it.”
Department of Education Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy
On 21 April 2022 the Department of Education published its Policy paper entitled
Sustainability and climate change: a strategy for the education and children’s services systems
This 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
Education plays a vital role in:
- helping to tackle climate change
- creating a better, greener world for future generations
We can positively impact, influence and inspire communities by improving the:
- sustainability of the environment in and around education settings
- knowledge and understanding of children and young people
To do this, the Department for Education (DfE) has developed a sustainability and climate change strategy to:
- help the education sector and children’s services systems do this
- inspire action on the international stage
Education Secretary Announces Empowerment of Young People
On 5 November 2021, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi announced that young people will be empowered to take action on the environment as part of new measures designed to put climate change at the heart of education.
He set out his vision for all children to be taught about the importance of conserving and protecting our planet.
Teachers will be supported to deliver world-leading climate change education through a model science curriculum, which will be in place by 2023, to teach children about nature and their impact on the world around them.
Children and young people will also be encouraged to get involved in the natural world by increasing biodiversity in the grounds of their nursery, school or college by taking small steps like installing bird feeders.
They will be able to upload their data onto a new, virtual National Education Nature Park – which will allow them to track their progress against other schools in the country, increase their knowledge of different species and develop skills in biodiversity mapping.
Combined, the grounds of schools, colleges, nurseries and universities in England take up an area over twice the size of Birmingham, so improving their biodiversity could have a significant impact on the environment.
Children and young people will also be able to undertake a new Climate Award in recognition for their work to improve their environment, with a prestigious national awards ceremony held every year.
The Climate Leaders Award will help children and young people develop their skills and knowledge in biodiversity and sustainability, and celebrate and recognise their work in protecting the local environment. For example, young people may choose to undertake a project that delivers change in their local community, such as increasing the biodiversity of a neighbourhood piece of land or helping to deliver experiences for younger children to explore nature and local woodland.
It will be developed in collaboration with children and young people so that we can ensure it supports them in making an impact in their local communities.
Pupils and students will be able to progress through different levels of the award, ‘bronze’, ‘silver’ and ‘gold’, in a similar way to the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:
“We want to deliver a better, safer, greener world for future generations of young people and education is one of our key weapons in the fight against climate change. Empowering teachers in every school to deliver world-leading climate change education will not only raise awareness and understanding of the problem, but also equips young people with the skills and knowledge to build a sustainable future.
“The COP26 summit has further amplified the UK’s commitments to become a world leader in sustainability right across the education system by engaging young people and bringing them on our journey towards net zero and a green future.
“And it goes beyond the classroom – our National Education Nature Park and Climate Leaders Awards will let pupils get hands on experience of understanding, nurturing and protecting the biodiversity around them.”
The measures he announced will also build on government’s pledge for every new school delivered under the Department’s school rebuilding programme to be cleaner, greener and net-zero in operation.
In addition, from December 2021, all Further Education (FE) teachers trained via an apprenticeship will be required to integrate sustainability into their teaching, through modelling sustainable practices and promoting sustainable development principles in relation to their subject specialism.
In a news story published by the Department for Education on the same day, it was said that these measures, brought together in a draft sustainability and climate change strategy, were to be built on over the following 6 months in collaboration with young people, educators, sustainability experts and environmentalists before the final publication of the strategy in April 2022.
Stewardship in Religious Education
“Stewardship” means to look after the world for God. Christians believe that God has created a world in which humans have a special role as stewards of creation. This means they should look after the interests of the planet and all life on it. This belief is more about living in harmony with nature.
When God gave humans dominion over the land, he gave them responsibility too. Humans were created to be stewards of the land, i.e. to use it, to look after it and to protect it.
Therefore caring for the environmental and understanding of the issues and problems is important if they are to be successful in this mission.