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Environment Protection and Sustainable Development: Curriculum

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL3463, tabled on 26 October 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to introduce environmental sustainability across all National Curriculum and A-Level courses.

Answered on

8 November 2021

The department believes it vital that young people are taught about important matters such as environmental sustainability in school.

Topics relating to the environment are covered in the National Curriculum in the science and geography curricula and in GCSEs. In both subjects, at key stages 1 and 2, pupils are taught about seasons and habitats, as well as covering climate zones and how environments can change. Secondary geography includes study of the climate, how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate. In science key stages 3 and 4 and at GCSE, pupils study climate and ecosystems including how human interaction with ecosystems impacts on biodiversity. We have also introduced a new environmental science A level which became available to pupils in 2017. This will enable pupils to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled.

Pupils also cover content on the environment in citizenship education which has been a compulsory subject in maintained schools since 2002. Pupils are taught what improves and harms the environment, and how economic choices affect sustainability. Teachers have the flexibility and freedom to determine how they deliver the content in the way that best meets the needs of their pupils and can choose to cover particular topics in greater depth if they wish.

On 27 October, there was a Westminster Hall Debate on 'Sustainability and Climate Change (National Curriculum)':