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UK Schools Sustainability Network student and staff responses to the Department for Education’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy

UKSSN members at COP26

“I want to be part of this too”

The UKSSN – an umbrella group of regional networks hosted by Global Action Plan - has been involved in the development of the Department for Education’s new climate and sustainability strategy since the launch of the first draft document at COP26 in Glasgow last year.

The UKSSN brings together the young people, school staff and educators who drive sustainability learning and action across the UK. As committed advocates and practitioners in this space, they are uniquely placed to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the DfE strategy.

This report captures their responses and will, we hope, provide useful insight to both the DfE and to those organisations currently tendering to deliver the strategy’s key initiatives.

Summary of the UKSSN response:

UKSSN members have mixed feelings about the strategy. On the positive side they are pleased it has come into existence and have already reported how it has helped them to make the case to senior leaders for more emphasis to be placed on sustainability and climate change at their schools.

However, they also expressed concern that the strategy lacks the bite necessary to solve two perennial problems sustainability educators face: a lack of time for Sustainability Leads to do the work that needs doing, and the lack of coverage given to these issues by the curriculum.

Another concern expressed by a teacher of Modern Foreign Languages related to where climate and sustainability is being positioned by DfE. They stressed the importance of it not being siloed within the STEM subjects, writing that: “I want to be part of this too, not have it restricted to science and geography. Just like we all are responsible for fostering literacy and numeracy skills.”

The report features three in-depth responses from named students and several more who responded anonymously. One student, Jack from Somerset, called for a “green revolution for the education system” and labelled the strategy “a great first step in the right direction”. 

Read the UKSSN response in full by downloading the report.


 Download the UKSSN response report