Join Our National Eco-Committee
We are incredibly excited to announce that Eco-Schools England will be working with OCR, one of the leading awarding bodies in the UK, to recruit a new, youth-led National Eco-Committee, to identify the green themes and strands that young people want to investigate and explore in their education.
At Eco-Schools England we have always stated that the current national curriculum needs to be greener to ensure widespread awareness of sustainability across the entire education system. Environmental matters should not be confined to Geography and Science lessons they must also be integrated into Maths, Modern Foreign Languages, History, Performing Arts, Creative Media, Engineering, in fact all subject areas both academic and vocational.
“OCR is delighted to be supporting Eco-Schools and their new National Eco-Committee. This is an exciting new venture, and we look forward to working together to help young people as part of our on-going commitment to greening the curriculum.”
Our new National Eco-Committee will be a diverse group of 25 inspirational young people aged 10-18 years who care passionately about the future health of our planet. However, these budding environmentalists may have opted for, or prefer subjects, such as Sport, Art or Textiles, which do not include any green themes in their content. Therefore, these young people may not (through no fault of their teachers) have had the opportunity to continue taking part in subject specific eco-learning in class. Being a member of our new National Eco-Committee will give these young people a chance to correct this! Of course, we are also encouraging those young people who are keen Geographers and Scientists (or who have already been involved in climate action campaigns) to apply too, their experience, knowledge and input is vital!
We are now delighted to introduce you to our founding, Honorary Member of the National Eco-Committee, Jessie Stevens a 16-year-old Youth Climate Activist based in South Devon. We are thrilled that Jessie is going to help us promote and inspire other young people in England to apply to be part of our National Eco-Committee, as she cycles over 520 miles in just 10 days to Glasgow for COP26! Jessie’s People Pedal Power mission aims to: raise awareness of the need for better greener, accessible transport infrastructure; decisive climate action as an outcome of COP26; and greater levels of youth-led decision making. Don’t forget to support our Honorary National Eco-Committee member as she cycles to Glasgow by following Jessie on Instagram @people_ pedal_ power #Ride2COP26.
Jessie: “I am so proud to be an honorary National Eco-Committee member, as I feel that our time at school is one of the first elements of life that shapes us as individuals. If through the Eco-Committee, we can help inspire and teach other young people about our environment and the challenges it faces, I feel we take steps in the right direction to create a healthier, more resilient world. I am very excited about the prospect of connecting with other young people on this issue, sharing ideas and creating a greener, more informative curriculum.”
What will the new National Eco-Committee be doing?
Between December 2021 and July 2022- Jessie and our 25 National Eco-Committee members will meet online with our Eco-Schools Manager Lee Wray-Davies, staff from OCR and special guests to complete the following tasks:
- TASK 1: Look for green themes in the current national curriculum. What are young people interested in learning about and how could their teachers help to bring these to life? How could education also help to prepare young people for green jobs such as a Rewilding Specialist, Environmental Lawyer or Green Product Specialist, that contribute to preserving or restoring the environment of the future. This task will be supported by awarding body OCR.
- TASK 2: Create a national ‘eco’ prize. How can we celebrate a successful and impactful environmental based curriculum project? This task will be supported by awarding body OCR.
- TASK 3: Run an online Green Careers week. Between Monday 18th and Friday 2nd April 2022 provide young people and their parents/ guardians with the information they need to consider a career in the environmental sector.
- TASK 4: Create an Eco-Schools moving up day teacher pack. Our Eco-Coordinators have asked for a resource on climate action for June 2022 to help schools welcome new pupils and showcase how young people can lead environmental change.
We are delighted to also be working with children’s author and environmental activist Georgina Stevens who will be supporting our National Eco-Committee with Task 4, to create a moving up day teacher resource based on the fantastic and informative content of her book Climate Action. A book about which Benjamin Zephaniah states “There’s so much in this book. Facts, statistics, illustrations, and alternatives, but most importantly it is packed with hope. This is the book the world really needs”.
Georgina: “I am so excited to work with the Eco Schools National Eco Committee because it will allow me to support these young changemakers to make some much needed change to the curriculum, embedding sustainability content as they want to see it, and to help develop some brand-new teaching resources around the exciting job opportunities that exist in a more sustainable future!”
How can you apply for the new National Eco-Committee?
To celebrate International Day of Charity and the start of the new school year, on Sunday 5th September at 13.00 we will be adding a new National Eco-Committee Eco-Project section on our website. This will include lots more detail about the committee such as meeting dates, parental/ safeguarding guidance and the application form to apply to become a member of the National Eco-Committee!
In the meantime, if you, your students or family members are aged between 10-18 years old, live in England and would like to apply to be a member of our National Eco-Committee they should start preparing a short answer for how they would like to see green themes included in a specific subject (but not Geography or Science) as this will be one of the questions on the application form.
The deadline for application will be Saturday 20th November 2021 on World Children’s Day. The Eco-Schools Team will be contacting the successful 25 applicants the week commencing 29th November 2021.
Lee, Eco-Schools & LEAF Manager for England: “As a former Head of Geography and Environmental Science and Eco-Lead I’m really looking forward to working with our new National Eco-Committee. I’m always super excited to hear the ideas that young people have to include environmental topics in their lessons and have been lucky enough to teach some amazing young people who are now working to drive environmental change in industry (and have even become Eco-Coordinators in schools!) Importantly, having worked for over 20 years in education and as a member of the National Strategic Advisory Board for the Natural History GCSE I know how long it can take to introduce a new curriculum. We cant wait- we must work together now with teaching staff and young people to refresh the current curriculum and spread the scope of environmental education”.