Climate Breakdown

England region plans world-first for climate change teaching | Education | The Guardian

North of Tyne aims to have UN-accredited climate change teacher in every state school

A climate protester

 School strikes have thrust young people to the forefront of climate activism. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

A region of northern England plans to become the first place in the world to have a UN-accredited climate change teacher in every state primary and secondary school.

Jamie Driscoll, the new mayor of the North of Tyne combined authority, said every school in the area would have the opportunity to train a member of staff to give lessons on global heating and the impact of the climate crisis. The region is working with the creators of EduCCate Global, a UN teacher training scheme.

Driscoll said: “This is our opportunity to be the first region in the world to meet this UN sustainable development goal. It’s also a commitment to give every child a world-class environmental education, and to make such progress so soon is fantastic.”

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The online course for teachers takes 15-20 hours to complete and covers areas such as climate change science, adaptation planning, health, forests, climate change finance and international negotiations.

The three councils within the authority have previously declared a climate emergency, and a consultation is under way on plans for tolls on three road bridges across the River Tyne to cut road pollution.

Dr Meryl Batchelder, a teacher at Corbridge middle school in Northumberland who is leading the project, said: “Education on climate change is essential for everyone in the north-east to understand the seriousness of the situation. Having a UN-accredited climate change teacher in every state school means that all schoolchildren will be given accurate, relevant information on the causes and effects of global heating.

“Pupils also need to be aware of possible climate change mitigation strategies and adaptation measures. Completing the course will give teachers the confidence, both in their own understanding and in their position as a UN-accredited authority, to teach children effectively.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “It is important that pupils are taught about climate change, which is why it is included in the national curriculum for both primary and secondary schools.”

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