Teach the Future is a campaign to ensure that students are taught across the curriculum about the climate emergency and ecological crisis, and the solutions and skills needed for the green jobs of the future. Their student-written Climate Education Bill, tabled by Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome, got a step closer to becoming a reality this week, 16 year old Teach the Future volunteer and Young Labour member Liv Marshall explains.
After years of campaigning, Teach the Future’s Climate Education Bill has been adopted by the Labour party and included in their draft policy programme ahead of the party conference in Liverpool - but what does this mean for pupils in Nottingham?
Teach the Future is a student-run campaign advocating for solutions-centred climate education across the curriculum, as currently it is limited to science and optional geography. Organised solely by young people, we amplify the voices of pupils up and down the country, 90% of which are concerned about the climate.
Our movement grew from the pre-pandemic school strikes, and over the last four years we’ve expanded into every UK nation, creating a tailored set of asks for each respective parliament. Last year, we took the task of reviewing the current curriculum into our own hands, releasing our “Tracked Changes” versions of approved subject content for all the main GCSEs, which has gained support from teachers, academics and students alike.
One of our key achievements is the Climate Education Bill, the first ever bit of education legislation drafted by young people. It calls for topics linking to climate change and sustainability to be integrated into primary and secondary curriculums, as well as included in all vocational education. It was first tabled by Nadia Whittome, MP for Nottingham East, in January 2023 and has since received cross party backing and passed its first reading in this Parliamentary session earlier this year.
Ahead of the Labour Party conference (08-11 October 2023), it was announced that our bill has made it into the draft policy programme! Labour’s policy commitments include:
- “Integrate learning about climate change and sustainability throughout the curriculum in schools and on vocational courses and provide training and support for teachers.
- Develop plans which will see existing workers upskilled and trained and give young people the knowledge and skills to thrive in the transition to a net zero society.
- Grow apprenticeship opportunities in green industries and across our economy, ensuring these are available for young people.
- Ramp up public capital investment into the green economy to £28bn a year in the second half of the parliament at the latest, alongside an active industrial strategy, with strategic public investment attracting private sector investment, bringing high-quality, unionised, sustainable jobs to all parts of the country and protecting existing jobs as industries evolve and decarbonise.”
This is a huge step in the right direction towards ensuring that every school-leaver has a well-rounded education which provides them with the knowledge, skills and attributes to tackle the issues they will be facing as they enter adulthood. However, we can’t slow down with our campaigning just yet.
We need to keep the momentum going to guarantee our Bill’s spot in the Labour party manifesto, and you can help! Reach out to your local Labour councillors and MPs and ask them to support the bill at the Labour Party conference this weekend - make as much noise as possible and make your voice heard!
Our city is a key example of what widespread climate action can look like on a local level, and with sufficient funding we can replicate the progress made in Nottingham across the country, starting with providing an up to date education to our children.
You can watch the highlights of when local MP, Nadia Whittome, tabled the bill for its first reading in Parliament and use our template to email your MP asking them to support our bill today, or describe your own experiences with climate education and tell your representative that this needs to change.
The Climate Education Bill has the ability to revolutionise how young people in Nottingham learn and see the world and so today I’m calling on you to join us in creating systemic change for a brighter, greener future. My generation, and those that follow, deserve a climate education.
Find out more about supporting the bill at teachthefuture.uk
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