Demystifying the DfE’s Sustainability and
Climate Change Strategy
In a world where climate change is an ever-more pressing problem, it’s increasingly crucial for us to ensure that places of education are adequately preparing and protecting future generations. The DfE has taken significant steps towards this with its ‘Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy’ (2022), bringing about some big changes for schools, settings, educators and practitioners. If you’re looking for a quick rundown of what this strategy means for you and your workplace, look no further…
Why the DfE’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy matters
It’s no longer enough for sustainability and climate education to simply be a sideline to our Science teaching. It’s now necessary that we consider how to place these issues at the core of our curriculum and truly embed a commitment to change within the ethos of our school or setting. The pupils we work with today will be impacted by these issues throughout their lives, so we must do our best to inform, equip and inspire them to tackle these challenges head-on.
Transitioning towards sustainability is a significant shift, and we know that many schools and settings are only at the very beginning of this process. But fear not – this strategy presents both a complex challenge and a brilliant opportunity for you and your learners. It’s a chance to overhaul long-standing and outdated practises whilst creating something you can truly be proud of, and EuHu are here to help you along the way!
Understanding the DfE’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy
The strategy, which applies to schools and educational settings in England (including Early Years settings), is underpinned by 5 key action areas…
1. Climate education – Ensuring that education surrounding sustainability and biodiversity is delivered through the curriculum and extra-curricular opportunities.
2. Green skills and careers – Encouraging pupils to build the skills and knowledge necessary for a sustainable future and supporting their interests in environmentally-focused professions.
3. Infrastructure – Including improving the sustainability of school and setting buildings, reducing carbon emissions and adapting to increased climate risks like flooding.
4. Supply chains – Including purchasing from educational suppliers who are committed to net zero and eradicating single-use plastics.
5. International collaboration – Connecting with global institutions (e.g. the UN) to facilitate a unified climate education effort.
✓ Ensure that a climate action plan is in place by 2025, outlining your work towards climate education, green skills and careers, decarbonisation and adaptation.
✓ Appoint a sustainability lead or sustainability team by 2025 who will be responsible for developing and implementing the
climate action plan.
✓ Report carbon emissions to the DfE by 2024. The DfE will work with energy providers and create a standardised framework
to achieve this.
✓ Remove all single-use plastics by 2025, instead opting for recyclable or reuseable alternatives.
In addition to this, the strategy also discusses the National Education Nature Park and Climate Action Awards, recently launched in 2023. This initiative, led in partnership between the DfE, Natural History Museum and Royal Horticultural Society, is designed to support a school or setting in transforming outdoor space into a mini ‘nature park’, improving biodiversity at both a local and national level.
What are we doing to help?
At EuHu, our new Educator Focus this term is all about sustainability, so keep your eyes peeled for even more inspiring articles and podcasts on this topic! What’s more, we will be soon be launching our very own EuHu Sustainability Hub, complete with further expert-created content, resources and guidance. We’re committed to helping you every step of the way along your journey to becoming a sustainable school, from planting the seed to harvesting the fruits.