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To: Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education

Michael Gove: Don't scrap climate change education

Brilliant news - Michael Gove has abandoned his plans to drop climate change from the curriculum!

And the papers are reporting that it was the “widespread support” for our campaign that persuaded him to change his mind.

As a teacher, it means so much to me to know that young people will have the opportunity to understand climate change and how it will affect their lives. It’s only by educating children about what their future will look like that we can give them the chance to shape it for the better.

The outpouring of support for our campaign was incredible. More than 37,000 of us came together with campaigners from the UK Youth Climate Coalition and People & Planet. We signed petitions, wrote letters and took our campaign right to Gove’s Department for Education.

Thank you so much to everyone who stood with me to do this. It couldn’t have happened without you.

Dear Michael Gove,

Under your new education guidelines, climate change will be dropped from the National Curriculum for students under 14. This would mean that nearly three quarters of students leave school without any proper education about climate change.

Climate change is one of the most important topics we teach children in schools today. It is essential that all young people grow up with a proper understanding of it if we are to have any chance of protecting our planet and human life in the future.

We are calling on you to urgently reconsider your proposals. Please protect climate change’s crucial place in the Geography curriculum.

Why is this important?

I have been a Geography teacher for more than 25 years. During that time I have taught my pupils dozens of different topics, from map reading and geology to volcanoes and earthquakes. But nothing I’ve ever taught my students has been so important as what I teach them about climate change now.

The challenges man-made climate changes pose to human beings are huge. In my classes, children learn about these challenges and why they are relevant to them. They learn why it is adults tell them to recycle, switch off their computers and close doors to keep the heat in.

From an early age, we are teaching children to respect the world around them and to value human life. These are values that many of them will carry with them for the rest of their lives. They are the best possible weapons we can give them to help prevent disastrous climate change in the future.

But the government’s new guidelines for the national curriculum threaten all of that. Children will not be taught about climate change unless they take GCSE Geography - a course that was only taken by 27% of GCSE students last year. For children under the age of 14, climate change will appear only once in the syllabus - under the heading “efficacy of recycling” in Chemistry.

It’s not enough for children to be taught the cold facts behind the science of climate change. To fully understand why climate change matters, they need to understand how it affects real people, how it relates to them and changes the world they live in. This is an understanding that’s essential if our children are going to be part of the responsible, engaged and sustainable society we all want to see.

And the truth is, children love learning about climate change. My students are interested in global environmental issues such as Arctic conservation and have real concerns about the effects of climate change on people, wildlife and animals. They are constantly asking questions about extreme weather we’re experiencing and want to understand why these changes are occurring. They want to know if they’re going to get worse in their lifetime and what they can do about it.

The government are making decisions about what young people can and can’t learn about without asking them - yet it’s young people who are going to suffer the consequences of these decisions. So I’ll leave it to one of my students to tell you what it is they think about all this:

“If the next generation isn’t taught about the effects of climate change then where are they going to learn it from? If they don’t learn about it they won’t take into account the damage they may cause in the future.”

Please sign this petition. Together, we can show Michael Gove that his plans are wrong - for our children, our planet, and our future.

Margaret Hunter
Geography teacher at The Warriner School in Oxfordshire



2015-02-04 12:41:48 +0000

Petition is successful with 37,399 signatures

2015-02-02 23:35:11 +0000

Petition is successful with 37,400 signatures

2013-07-09 15:15:11 +0100

Petition is successful with 37281 signatures

2013-07-08 14:00:40 +0100

Petition is successful with 37268 signatures