13 May 2022
I went along to DfE’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy Launch at the Natural History Museum at the end of April.
It was an uplifting event, with powerful speeches by young climate activist Phoebe Hanson, Bear Grylls and the keynote address from Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi. Mr Zahawi announced the launch of the new Natural History GCSE, the Climate Leaders Award, National Nature Park and a range of other initiatives.
These initiatives and DfE’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy are great news! BUT connecting children to the land that sustains us all through first hand food and farming experiences has once again been totally overlooked, despite the fundamental connection to children’s health and the health of our planet.
It has never been more urgent for every child to have the opportunity to discover first-hand where their food comes from and what it takes to grow good food well. We all eat, and how we eat shapes our world. That why the Climate Leaders Award should include high quality educational visits to real working farms, and the scope of the National Nature Park should be extended to include school grounds food growing programmes. And above all, Government must work with providers such as The Country Trust, and those responsible for equipping, training, and supporting teachers in deprived areas, to ensure that disadvantaged children are participating fully in these new schemes.
Nina Bell - Policy Lead