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Climate Change and Environment Protection: Education

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 18th April 2019.

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Photo of Jon Ashworth Jon Ashworth Shadow Secretary of State for Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the teaching of (a) environmental protection and (b) climate change in schools.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, published in January 2018, sets out the ambition to improve the environment within a generation. As part of the plan the Department for Education (DfE) has worked with Defra and Natural England on the Children and Nature Programme, a £10 million programme which aims to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds to have better access to the natural environment. The programme has been designed to make it possible for schools to undertake a range of activities in natural spaces, such as learning about nature and how to care for the natural environment. This programme complements the scope that already exists to study environmental issues throughout the curriculum, in particular in science and geography lessons.

Defra and the DfE regularly work together on ways to make children aware of issues that impact on the environment and how they can help tackle them. There is scope to study environmental issues throughout the curriculum. For example, in primary school science, pupils are taught that environments can change and this can pose a danger to living things. In geography at key stage 3, pupils will look at how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate. In GCSE, science pupils will consider the evidence and uncertainties in evidence, for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change. In 2017, we introduced new environmental science A level for those students who want to study this area of science in more detail.

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