Webinar: ETF expert highlights ‘vital role’ of sustainability in FE

On Wednesday 12 January, Charlotte Bonner, the Education and Training Foundation’s (ETF) National Head of ESD, was a guest speaker at the Association of College’s (AoC) webinar: Climate Change and Sustainability – Teaching the Future and Staff Development.

This webinar was part of the AoC’s Green Thread Series, which aims to help colleges on their sustainability journey by bringing together perspectives from those working within this space to share their insights, expertise and experience.

Designed to inform and equip educators with the tools they need to bring ESD into their own schools and colleges, this session invited guest speakers to cover a variety of topics on climate change and sustainability, including: student engagement, involvement, and leadership; curriculum development and carbon literacy; staff development and training; governor support; policy and strategy; collaborative working; and the challenges and opportunities of the green skills agenda.

In the webinar, Charlotte discussed the ETF’s latest research that shows the significant demand for ESD resources and qualifications for both teaching staff and learners. “Our research has shown that the door for ESD support is very open,” Charlotte says. “There is a strong belief amongst both educators and learners that ESD has a vital role to play within the FE sector.”

Charlotte was joined by a panel of experts from varying fields, including Phil Korbel from the Carbon Literacy Project, Claire Cox from Pearson, Jamie Agombar from Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK), and Will Baldwin, Principal of Brighton and Hove Sixth Form College. During the discussion, many challenges were highlighted, including the issue of time and resources in FE, as raised by Charlotte: “Whilst big change needs to happen, it will inevitably take time, as there are around 6,000 qualifications within the FE sector. We need to prioritise what will have the highest impact, and we need to develop materials to support our 90,000 teacher workforce to contextualise sustainability within their existing curriculum.”

As well as their insightful commentary, the guest speakers were also invited by AoC host Steve Frampton on their top tips for teachers interested in embedding ESD further within their schools and colleges. Will Baldwin shared his experience: “Don’t try to do everything at once. We invited one staff member from each faculty who were most interested in ESD and held a discussion on how to implement it more within their areas. Even if we offer two opportunities a year per subject, that means a learner taking three A Levels will potentially have up to 12 ESD experiences per year. It’s about getting the ball rolling.”

Watch back the full webinar on ‘Climate Change and Sustainability – Teaching the Future and Staff Development’.

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