Let’s help young people get climate change on the national curriculum – here’s how

Scarlett Westbrook and Nadia Whittome hold Teach the Future placardass before the parliamentary reception.

Climate change is missing from the UK’s education system. Our schools and colleges are failing to prepare students for the effects of the climate emergency: only 4% of students feel they know a lot about climate change, and 70% of teachers say they have received no training on the subject. Young people are demanding better climate education to understand the issues, equip them with knowledge and green skills, and help create solutions for the future. We must not let them down.  

This is why Greenhouse is supporting the Teach the Future campaign, a coalition of secondary and tertiary education students who want to improve education on the climate emergency and ecological crisis in the UK. From organising Westminster photo ops to securing interviews with these youth climate activists, we’re behind the campaign every step of the way… Right to the heart of government, where today Parliament is holding its first-ever debate on climate education, tabled by the youngest sitting MP, Nadia Whittome. Read more about Greenhouse’s climate education and youth work here. 

“The current curriculum is failing young people. We are in a climate emergency and that calls for a global youth workforce equipped with the knowledge and tools to drastically reduce emissions and halt the loss of nature.”
Scarlett Westbrook
Student, Teach the Future

Why Greenhouse is backing Teach the Future?

We’re committed to diversity, fight for justice every day, and want to empower the next generation of youth activists as they demand more climate action (you can meet our own youth climate activists here). We believe in Teach the Future’s goal: that the climate crisis should be taught through the lens of social justice at all levels, from primary to tertiary education, including vocational training in colleges. Along with more than 25,000 people, we’ve signed the campaign’s petition calling on Nadhim Zahawi, the UK’s Secretary of State for Education, to embed education on sustainability and climate change into the UK school curriculum. Click here to demand better UK climate education

Scarlett Westbrook speaking at Teach the Future’s parliamentary reception
Scarlett Westbrook, 15, speaking at Teach the Future’s parliamentary reception, February 2020

How the Teach the Future campaign will help improve UK climate education. 

The climate crisis is already negatively affected young people worldwide, from mental health effects to putting one billion children globally at ‘extremely high risk’. We believe education can help change this, and there is clear demand for better climate education – with more than two-thirds of students wanting to know more about the climate emergency. We, along with Teach the Future, want a broad climate education in the UK. You can read the campaign’s full policy asks here, but the key requests from today’s debate are: 

  1. Ensure students are educated on the climate emergency by embedding climate change throughout the curriculum and upskilling teachers to deliver it. 
  2. Include education on green skills in vocational courses to make sure the UK’s future workforce is equipped to tackle climate change and help transition the country to a carbon-neutral future. 
  3. Help schools and colleges become carbon neutral by adopting sustainable practices and working towards net zero emissions.  

“Young people are the victims of the climate crisis, but they’re also agents of change. If the inclusion of sustainability and climate change in the UK curriculum becomes law, it would be an important step towards building a resilient, net zero society.”
Nadia Whittome

Get involved with Teach the Future: sign up as a student volunteer, or join the teachers’ network to share resources with other educators interested in climate education. 

Find tools to help you lobby your MP for better climate education, and sign the petition calling on the UK government to embed the climate crisis in the national curriculum. 

Follow Teach the Future on Twitter: @_teachthefuture, Instagram: @_teachthefuture, Facebook: TeachtheFutureCampaign