There are many opportunities for better climate change education within the current secondary school curriculum in England, reveals a report published by the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS).
A key finding was that, through supplying teacher support and assessment resources, very rapid improvements can be made to the climate literacy of English school leavers.
RMetS research reviewed the GCSE specifications across all subjects and exam boards and highlighted how many concepts already taught in schools are relevant to students’ understanding of climate change and its relevance to their future lives and careers.
Climate change is traditionally taught in subjects such as Geography, however not all students take Geography at GCSE meaning that a considerable proportion of students leave school without a basic understanding of climate change. Also, there are many aspects of climate change that are relevant to subjects like Design and Technology, Art, or English.
Earlier research published by RMetS in 2022, shows that there are notable gaps in how much students understand about climate change. However, students are concerned and believe that climate change will affect them personally. With the right support and without increasing teacher workload, teachers can help students to make the connection between what they are already learning in school and climate change.
Prof Sylvia Knight, Head of Education at the RMetS, said: “The Royal Meteorological Society is working to ensure that every student in the UK leaves school with at least a basic understanding of climate change.
“This valuable report shows how teachers can be supported to deliver high quality climate education, within the current curriculum, to equip students with the knowledge and tools to engage with messages about climate change from the media and politicians, and to make decisions about their own lives and careers.
“We are indebted to the RMetS members involved in the review; without their support and expertise this work would have not been possible.”
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