01 Jun Youngsters suffering from ‘eco-anxiety’ as campaigners demand more climate change teaching in schools | Climate News
There are growing calls for schools to teach more about climate change.
Students say they feel “held back” by not knowing enough.
Some teachers describe the national curriculum as “limited” and want it extended to include more on the climate emergency.
Student campaign group, Teach the Future, believes the subject should be mandatory for all year groups.
The group’s co-ordinator, Scarlett Westbrook, says climate change is “glossed over”.
She surveyed students and found only four percent felt they knew enough about the climate crisis.
“We need the knowledge to be able to deal with this post-climate breakdown world that we’re going to be entering, as we exit university and schooling and into the workforce,” Scarlett said.
Scarlett said increasing numbers of young people are suffering from “eco-anxiety” because their educations fails to tackle their concerns over the climate.
She and fellow activists regularly protest around Birmingham to raise awareness.
“They only tell you the science behind it, they don’t tell you about the socio-economic consequences of it. And that just leaves us in ignorance about the actual practical problems of climate change,” said Adam Waters, 17.
Chloe Hawryluk, also 17, is doing geography A level and still feels under-taught when it comes to climate change.
“I only know about it because I’m interested in it and I think everyone needs to know about it,” she said.
At Cotham Gardens Primary School in Bristol, they set aside six whole days every year, to teaching climate change.
It’s taught age appropriately, but covers a wide range of topics.
For Year 5, that includes a debate on the expansion of Bristol Airport.
Teacher Sam Williams would like the topic covered more extensively. “I do think the current curriculum is limited … Obviously if it’s in the national curriculum you’re reaching all schools, you’re reaching all children, all families,” he said.
Teachers currently have flexibility to decide how they approach the subject. But Sam fears some pupils could miss out, if schools don’t teach it as much.
In a statement a spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “It is vital that young people are taught about climate change, which is why relevant topics are included in the national curriculum for both primary and secondary schools.
“Teachers have the freedom to expand on these areas if they wish to do so.”
Every day at 6.30pm, Sky News broadcasts the first daily prime time news show dedicated to climate change.
Hosted by Anna Jones, The Daily Climate Show is following Sky News correspondents as they investigate how global warming is changing our landscape and how we all live our lives.
The show will also highlight solutions to the crisis and show how small changes can make a big difference.