Free toolkit helps teachers spend less on climate education

Research shows many UK educators are using their own money to fund environmental lessons. A new resource could help bring costs down.

four children standing on dirt during daytime

According to a study by non-profit The Breteau Foundation, primary school teachers in the UK have collectively spent £13 million of their own earnings to provide pupils with climate-related lessons. This equates to an average of £52 per teacher, per academic year. 

The results come from a survey of 500 teachers across the country, which also found these professionals were dedicating five hours per month to creating learning materials and lesson plans tied to the environment. Among primary year groups, key subjects included plastic pollution, followed by the wider climate crisis and sustainability. 

Demand for lessons has also dramatically increased, with 88% of teachers reporting their students are concerned and asking specific questions about how they can make an impact. However, half of respondents also claimed requests for resources to help in this area go unfulfilled, and 20% considered teaching about plastic pollution to be surface level only, with 60% noting a lack of practical solutions to tackle the problem. 

Despite this, almost all teachers surveyed believe they have a vital role to play in the plastics crisis, and 87% advocate more education on the topic within the primary level national curriculum. The vast majority say education packs would be a valuable tool, something The Breteau Foundation has taken on board. 

The organisation  is now set to make comprehensive, free-of-charge education packs available to any educator who is interested. These will include lesson plans and activities aimed at empowering children to make change and raising their awareness and understanding of the issue. Five modules will be included, aimed at 7 to 11 year olds. Alongside ZAG and Mediawan Kids & Family, the Breteau Foundation has also produced an episode of Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir. Entitled Action, the programme shows how small individual steps can have a big impact on a collective level. 

‘As a former teacher, I know first-hand the pressures teachers face when it comes to finding and preparing resources for lessons. The Plastic Changemakers Education Pack has been created by experts to allow teachers to focus their time wholly on delivering the lessons,’ said Emma Becker, Executive Director of the Breteau Foundation. 

The downloadable packs and Miraculous episode will go live early September and can be accessed online here

More on climate education:

City of London report calls for green skills training

WATCH: Eden Project seagrass video shows why plant is so precious

Green Gown Awards 2023 nominations open

Climate education at school is essential, can benefit STEM subjects

Image: Ben Wicks


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