UCL - Teaching climate change and sustainability

32 Respondents who reported teaching at the secondary level were less likely to prioritise changes to the National Curriculum (compared with those not teaching secondary); and more likely to prioritise changes to exam specifications (compared to 6.1% of those not teaching secondary). Given that exams are concentrated within the secondary level of schooling, this latter difference is unsurprising. However, for respondents who reported teaching in secondary, increased mentions of climate change and sustainability in their subject area’s exam specification was more frequently prioritised amongst teachers of science (40.6%) and teachers of other subjects (36.3%), than it was for those who reported teaching geography (17.4%). Therefore, requests for changes to exam specifications appear to be subject-specific, more so than curriculum-wide. Furthermore, curriculum change was more frequently prioritised amongst those teaching at the secondary level who did not teach geography or science, than for teachers of geography or science (Figure 7). More specifically, changes to the National Curriculum for their subject was selected as a ‘top 5’ priority by 59.4% of respondents teaching subjects other than secondary science or geography, compared with 36.7% of those teaching science or geography. These results indicate that many respondents would like to see changes to the National Curriculum and/or to exam specifications to support their teaching of climate change and sustainability. They also offer more nuanced insight into this common request for change in that the majority of the respondents who selected curriculum change as a priority teach subjects other than science and geography, and teach at the primary level. Therefore, they suggest that effort (be that related to curriculum change or to other types of support) might helpfully be focused on supporting teachers beyond secondary science and geography. Furthermore, the use of sustainability actions in school to reinforce student learning, as well as opportunities to collaborate with colleagues, provide helpful suggestions for school leaders wanting to support teachers to enhance their practice.