Commenting on the announcement by Labour that climate change will form part of the core curriculum from primary school onwards, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“We welcome Angela Rayner’s announcement, and what it shows about Labour's willingness to listen to students' concerns. Labour is helping to move education policy away from a sterile emphasis on testing towards a focus on new questions, essential to present day society. To address these questions effectively means not only curriculum change, but also an investment in resources and in teacher development.”
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
“It is important that pupils are taught about climate change, which is why it is in the national curriculum as part of science and geography in both primary and secondary school.
“The curriculum also includes the knowledge pupils need to help address climate change in the future. For example, in design and technology pupils are taught to consider the impact of the products they design on individuals, society and the environment. Schools have the autonomy to go into as much depth on these subjects as they see fit.
"In secondary school science, pupils will consider the evidence for human causes of climate change, and as part of GCSE geography they will study the spatial and temporal characteristics of climatic change. In primary science and geography, pupils study topics that provide the underpinning knowledge and understanding required to study climate science in secondary school.
"In the primary curriculum, they look at changes across the four seasons, weather patterns, climate zones, vegetation belts, and the water cycle.
"This government is a world-leader when it comes to tackling climate change. We are the first country to introduce long-term legally binding climate targets and cut emissions by more than 40% since 1990 while growing our economy. We’re investing over £2.5 billion to support low carbon innovation, taking action on our ambitious objectives in the 25 Year Environment Plan which aims to hand over our planet to the next generation in a better condition than when we inherited it."