Education Secretary Michael Gove decided to drop climate change from the curriculum. People & Planet supporters joined thousands of people around the country in telling Gove and Energy Secretary Ed Davey not to be stupid on the climate, and managed to reverse their decision.
Over 66,000 people signed petitions to keep climate change in the curriculum.
In April 2013, pupils from across the country joined People & Planet’s Education Team at the Department for Education to hand in our petition with more than 3,500 signatures telling Michael Gove not to cut climate change from the Geography curriculum for under 14s.
Then in May, Energy Secretary Ed Davey wrote to Michael Gove, urging him to reinstate climate change in the Geography curriculum. Davey’s move followed People & Planet’s campaign where thousands of students emailed Ed Davey and Michael Gove to voice your opinions.
By July, after months of campaigning by students and teachers all over the UK, Gove listened to our voices and announced he’ll drop plans to remove climate change from the school curriculum.
In the media
- Michael Gove abandons plans to drop climate change from curriculum (5 July 2013)
- Ed Davey urges Gove to keep climate change in (2 May 2013)
- BBC coverage of petition hand-ins at Department for Education (15 April 2013)
- David Attenborough and People & Planet call out the government (14 April 2013)
- Guardian coverage of petitions and our email action to Gove (21 March 2013)
- People & Planet’s published letter speaking out against the government’s proposals (17 March 2013)
- Guardian breaks the story of climate being dropped from curriculum (14 March 2013)
People & Planet’s Green Education Declaration for schools and colleges
Students in schools and colleges across the country have also been transforming the education sector, using everything from photo petitions to college open days to clothes-swapping events to make your voices heard. As a result, this year saw the first 8 signatories to People & Planet’s Green Education Declaration for schools and colleges - a public commitment to get serious about the environment.
Harrow College, told us:
"We fully recognise our role as beacons of good practice and our duty to inspire positive sustainable behaviours in our students and the wider community. We aim to embed sustainability throughout our curriculum, and look forward to increasing environmental awareness among our students this year in our exciting collaboration with People & Planet."
Headteacher Stuart Woods at Upper Shirley High, the first school to sign up, said:
"At Upper Shirley High we believe that becoming more sustainable has a key role to play both in the curriculum and throughout the school site. In preparing our students for their futures it is important to instil in them a value for their world and everything in it."
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today. The education sector has a key role to play in addressing this challenge, including state-funded schools and Further Education colleges. Together, the education sector represents a significant element of the UK's carbon emissions from the public sector (government-funded organisations). Education is critical to achieving the transition to a low carbon economy and society. Teaching and learning are crucial to inspire and educate the next generation of decision-makers, business leaders and citizens, and equip them with the skills and knowledge to deal with the challenges of climate change. Schools and colleges have an interest in supporting green jobs for the future and championing creative ideas and technologies that help us mitigate and adapt to climate change.
As representatives of Schools and Further Education Institutions in the UK, we:
- Recognise the need to ensure that global average temperatures do not rise more than 2C in order to avoid the most severe effects of climate change.
- Promise to lead by example and commit to adopting carbon reduction strategies in line with the government's legal commitment to a carbon reduction of 34% by 2020
- Recognise our role as beacons of good practice and our duty to inspire positive sustainable behaviours, not just to our students, but also to their parents and the wider community.
- Commit to integrating education around climate change and sustainable development across our curriculum, recognising the key role we play in educating those who will create a sustainable low carbon economy and society.
- Urge the Government and local authorities to work with the sector in developing a vision and strategy for the sector's smooth and urgent transition to a sustainable and low carbon future.
- Call for the government, local authorities and education organisations to provide adequate resources, incentives and support to enable the sector's transition to a sustainable and low carbon future. We commit to take decisive and strategic action within our schools and colleges collectively to bring about a world-leading, sustainable education sector.