Curriculum Geography global learning sustainable development Teaching

Sustainability in a changing climate

don't believeAnother year, another Geographical Association annual conference and back to the University of Surrey, Guildford.

Workshop powerpoint presentation and handout:
Sustainability in a changing climate
presentation [27-slides PDF 2.15Mb]
handout [2-pages PDF 221kb]

The workshop title is obviously alluding to both the latest round of curriculum change and the matter of climate change. To summarise my views, the reduced National Curriculum 2014 need not be a problem so long as we continue to make and share professional decisions about what we do and why. Secondly, no-one in government ever said we couldn’t ‘do’ climate change. The very idea of avoiding such an important issue is absurd. So, let’s reclaim the school curriculum.

I wrote posts on this in April 2013 and June 2013 and, in fact, tension was anticipated in the post on my workshop at the GA conference in April 2012.

Update: 2015

For a reply from Department for Education to Professors Bill Scott and Stev Martin on ESD and sustainability see the SEEd website at

“The Government is very supportive of opportunities being made available to schools in England to incorporate education for sustainable development (ESD) into their teaching but believes that schools themselves are best placed to make decisions about how they do this. In our recent review of the national curriculum, one of our key aims was to give teaching professionals more autonomy to decide what and how to teach.”

And here is Bill Scott’s ascerbic reflection on the DFE reply:

Update 2017

Did Michael Gove really try to stop teaching climate change?
Sean Coughlan, BBC Education correspondent, 12 June 2017

Summary: no

Update 2020

I was sent a link to a literature review by Debbie Cotton on teaching controversial issues in environmental education. It may not remain accessible at this location but try
Here are is the chapter called Conclusions

By Angus Willson

Angus Willson is editor of this site and author of this blogpost.

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