Minister launches draft Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy

5 November 2021

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi spoke today (5 November 2021) at the COP26 in Glasgow, announcing a range of measures that will be included in a draft DfE Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy. 

The draft strategy features a range of proposals, including a model primary science curriculum, piloting Energy pods, a National Education Park, a Climate Award, changes to teacher and apprenticeship training, and changes to the build design of schools selected for the Schools Rebuilding Programme to be "cleaner, greener and net-zero in operation".

The Minister intends to create a model primary science curriculum by 2023, to teach children about nature and their impact on the world around them. From what we understand, the concept behind the interactive virtual National Education Park is to consider the whole education estate as one, and to make changes that will impact on the UK's biodiversity. Combined, the grounds of schools, colleges, nurseries, and universities in England take up an area over twice the size of Birmingham and biodiversity could have a significant impact on the environment. A virtual tool intends to allow children and young people to upload their data and track their progress against other schools in the country, increase their knowledge of different species, and develop skills in biodiversity mapping.

Children and young people will be able to undertake a new Climate Award in recognition of their work to improve their environment, with a national awards ceremony held every year. The Climate Leaders Award intends to 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. There also appears to be an intention that children and young people will be involved in projects beyond the school gates and in the local community, which we know many already do. The award aims for children and young people to progress through different levels of the award, ‘bronze’, ‘silver’ and ‘gold’, similar to the structure of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. 

The Minister's pre-event press release and draft strategy document are available here and our initial response to the announcement is here.

We understand that it is the Government's intention to consult on the draft strategy between now and April 2022. We would welcome your feedback on the proposals:
  • Do you think they are the right focus areas?
  • Are they workable in your context?
  • Are the timelines achievable?
  • What support and guidance you would like to see?
  • What would you like to see included for business and operations professionals? 
ASCL members: please share your thoughts with us by email to

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