Research by Teach the Future, supported by SOS-UK, has revealed that 70% of UK teachers have not received adequate training to educate students on climate change, its implications for the environment and societies around the world, and how these implications can be addressed (1).
The 'Teaching the Future' research has also found (2):
The research shows that current teaching on climate change is generally limited to science and geography, or sometimes not present at all. Young people leading the Teach the Future campaign say that this isn’t good enough and that climate change teaching should be across the whole curriculum.
This follows research in 2019 that discovered only 4% of English school students feel they know a lot about climate change. As the national curriculum has not changed since then, this indicates significant inadequacies in the way climate change is currently being taught.
Dr Meryl Batchelder, a Science Teacher at Corbridge Middle School in Northumberland with a PhD in Environmental Geochemistry, said:
"It is critical that climate change is a common thread through the curriculum. Not just in science and geography but in Food Science, RE, Maths, English and Art. Therefore, climate education for teachers is essential, so they have the confidence to broach the subject accurately, avoid the pitfalls and support their students sensitively."
The research also suggests that climate change is taught in a limited way. When asked how they could frame climate change to interest their pupils, the majority (65%) of teachers say they could do this in terms of animals, nature and wildlife, but just 25% say they think they could cover the issue through careers and green jobs.
Earlier this month, Meg Baker, Director of Education at Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK), told the Environmental Audit Committee's Green Jobs Inquiry that improved education on climate change could help grow low carbon industries in the UK, as students could be equipped to make their future workplaces more sustainable.
Responding to the research, the Teach the Future campaign highlighted the campaign recommendion that to prepare our country for climate change, all students should be taught about its impacts and how they can be addressed.