Supporting sustainable development through educational resources

I have written about my motivation in developing the curriculum and learning resources – but what about others?acorns

I was reminded in a recent meeting of the Sustainable Schools Alliance, at England’s Department for Education, about the guidance provided in 1999 for ‘a voluntary code of practice’ in ‘supporting sustainable development through educational resources’. Given the effort put into this documentation by two government departments and various non-governmental organisations it merited more attention and a longer life than it received.

It deserves regular scrutiny and, as I couldn’t find it on the internet, I am happy to resurrect it here for consideration. Ann Finlayson, of Sustainability and Environmental Education, made the point at the meeting that pioneers in education for sustainable development have something to say. Not, I hasten to add, that 1999 was in any sense a beginning for ESD but sometimes the legacy is overlooked in the drive for new interpretations and new policies. This is an important point as we move beyond the era of a formal Sustainable Schools policy (upper-case) and, yet, there is continued and wide-spread interest in sustainable schools (lower-case).

I should also like to offer support companies and organisations in meeting this code of practice and to maintain high standards in other ways. Evaluation and quality assurance is part of that ‘having something to say’ about the process and the products of teaching and learning.
Contact Angus Willson >

Ten principles of good practice

Content
Principle 1: PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Resources should foster understanding of the principles of sustainable development.

Principle 2: INTEGRITY
Any information and data provided should be accurate, current and verifiable.

Principle 3: BALANCE
When purporting to give a balanced account of an issue, resources should accurately reflect the broad range of informed opinion on the subject.

Principle 4: VALUES AND ATTITUDES
Resources should help people explore values and develop responsible attitudes in relation to their fellow citizens and the environment, from local to global level.

Principle 5: KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS
In addressing environmental and development issues, resources should help develop the knowledge, skills and competencies to enable people to participate effectively in their resolution.

Principle 6: USER-CENTRED APPROACH
To ensure maximum take-up, resources should be easy to use and appropriate for the intended audience.

Process

Principle 7: NEED
Producers should be able to demonstrate there is an identified need for the proposed resource.

Principle 8: DEVELOPMENT
Producers should ensure that the development of the resource is inclusive, participative and has drawn on appropriate educational expertise.

Principle 9: PRODUCTION
Producers should demonstrate that the production process has followed best sustainable practice wherever possible.

Principle 10: PROMOTION AND PRODUCTION
Producers should consider the implications of promotion and distribution from the outset and ensure that they are effective, appropriate and accessible.

Source: Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions / Department for Education and Employment (1999) Sustainable Development: a guide to selecting educational resources. Crown Copyright.

Download the code of conduct and related questions presented in Ten-principles-of-good-practice. (Word 22kb)

Also read Ofsted’s Schools and Sustainability (May 2008).

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