Keep climate change lessons in curriculum, urge petitions

Climate petition at DfE Two petitions are handed in to the Department for Education urging the government to keep climate change lessons in the curriculum

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More than 65,000 people have signed petitions urging the government to keep climate change in the national curriculum for England.

The petitions were handed in to the Department for Education on Monday.

The campaign began last month amid concerns that teaching about climate change would be removed from the proposed new curriculum.

A government spokeswoman said: "It is not true that climate change has been removed from the new draft curriculum."

Two separate petitions were handed in by a teenager and a geography teacher, with a third group voicing their concerns by emailing the Education Secretary Michael Gove.

'Informed decision'

Esha Marwaha, 15, from Hounslow in west London, who started one of the petitions on the change.org website, said: "Over 64,000 people are angered by Michael Gove's decision to remove references to climate change.

"Teaching only selective parts of a vital topic has ramifications for the future. It's not about forcing students to believe in climate change, it's about allowing them to make an informed decision based on what they learn."

The other petition was started by geography teacher Margaret Hunter on the 38 Degrees website.

Ms Hunter described climate change as "one of the most important things children are taught in schools today".

"It's not enough to just teach them the science. They need to understand the impact it will have on other people, the environment and their own lives."

Under the current national curriculum schools teach seven to 11-year-olds about "managing the environment sustainably". The curriculum specifies that 11- to 14-year-olds should learn about issues like "sustainable development and its impact on environmental interaction and climate change".

The draft curriculum for geography does not contain references to climate change but a section called "Earth science" in the chemistry syllabus says 11- to 14-year-olds should be taught about "the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the impact on climate" and includes a section on "the efficacy of recycling".

The Department for Education spokeswoman said the proposed changes "will in fact give pupils a deeper understanding of all climate issues".

"Climate change is specifically mentioned in the science curriculum, and both climate and weather feature throughout the geography curriculum. Nowhere is this clearer than the science curriculum for 11- to 14-year-olds, which states that pupils should learn about the 'production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the impact on climate'," the spokeswoman added.

Ministers published the proposed new curriculum in February, and a consultation on the draft is due to close on Tuesday.

The new curriculum is expected to be introduced in England's school's next year.

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