In a world where the urgency of climate change demands immediate attention, the critical gap in comprehensive climate change education (CCE) within schools becomes glaringly apparent. As TDT’s Curriculum Associate, Heena Dave, underscores, many existing approaches to CCE lack coherence and fall short of a genuine commitment to understanding the intricate research surrounding climate change. In response to this pressing need, the Teacher Development Trust has joined forces with Leeds Trinity University and Climate Adapted Pathways for Education (CAPE) to introduce the Climate Wise Schools professional development programme—an innovative initiative paving the way for a brighter future.


Understanding the critical gap

Climate change is an undeniable reality that demands immediate attention and action. Despite its urgency, the integration of comprehensive climate change education (CCE) in schools is at a crossroads. Many approaches to CCE in schools often lack coherence, and where they do exist, a commitment to understanding the complex research around climate change or ensuring high-quality CCE is frequently absent. In response to this critical gap, the Teacher Development Trust (TDT) has collaborated with Leeds Trinity University and Climate Adapted Pathways for Education (CAPE) to develop the Climate Wise Schools professional development programme forging a path to a bright innovative future. 


The urgent need for high-quality CCE

Recent events, like the UN’s 2023 Climate Ambition Summit, highlight the imminent threat of the climate crisis and the urgency to meet the UK’s net-zero target by 2050. This global imperative has created a pressing call for meaningful CCE in schools, a demand voiced strongly by children and young people. However, fulfilling this is challenging, as teachers and school leaders call for expert support in response to this critical global challenge.


Leading innovation: Introducing Climate Wise Schools

Committed to innovation amidst the climate crisis, the Teacher Development Trust, Leeds Trinity University, and Climate Adapted Pathways for Education have introduced the Climate Wise Schools pilot professional development programme. This ongoing six-month, evidence-informed initiative supports school and subject leaders, aiming to equip educators with the necessary knowledge and skills for effective CCE. Beyond knowledge transfer, Climate Wise Schools focuses on building expertise among school and subject leaders and cultivating habits for a sustainable and brighter future.

As the programme progresses, early signs indicate tangible impacts. School and subject leaders report increased confidence in carbon literacy, initiation of implementation plans, and consideration of key principles for a curriculum that integrates knowledge and skills throughout a child and young person’s school life. Climate Wise Schools offers a timely and impactful solution to the urgent need for CCE, equipping educators with research-informed practices and building hope for a brighter future.


A model for urgent and thoughtful preparation

While long-term impacts remain to be seen, Climate Wise Schools provides a model for urgently and thoughtfully preparing children and young people to address the most pressing issue of our time. Emphasising evidence-informed approaches, strong implementation, curriculum enhancement, and professional development, this initiative represents a shift from ‘not yet’ to ‘right now’.


Join Heena and a diverse lineup of speakers at our National Conference on 30th January 2024, dedicated to empowering school and trust leaders in teaching, learning, and staff development. Secure your ticket now to become a vital part of this transformative educational event.


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