RMetS Secures Funding to Advance Climate Education in UK Schools

27 March 2024

The Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS) is delighted to announce plans to bolster its innovative Climate Change Education Programme, thanks to support pledged by the Garfield Weston Foundation. This support will enable a significant step forward in achieving RMetS’ ambition to ensure that every child in the UK leaves school with a basic understanding of climate change.

Climate change is one of the most important issues facing the world today, and it remains high on the public agenda, receiving increasing levels of media coverage and political debate. Acknowledging the importance of RMetS’ efforts in climate change education, the Garfield Weston Foundation has committed its support to enhance the provision of resources for teachers and to continue to advocate for improved climate education. 

Climate Change Education: Our work to date

Advocating for improved climate education: Ground-breaking research published by RMetS in 2022 into the Climate Literacy of school leavers (PDF) evidenced the need for better climate education in UK schools and colleges. This research was well-received by key stakeholders as the missing evidence needed to prioritise climate education. The Department for Education subsequently embedded the survey into the evaluation programme for its National Education Parks and Climate Leaders Award project, as a way of tracking the impact of collective curriculum interventions.

RMetS’ recent audit of the exam specifications and curriculum at key stages 3 & 4 in England, published in June 2023, demonstrates just how significant the potential is to integrate climate change into the teaching of all subjects at secondary level. There is scope to strengthen and diversify climate education, within the current frameworks and without curriculum reform, to improve the climate literacy of school leavers rapidly. 

In early 2024, we launched a thought-leadership project aimed at helping curriculum developers understand how different concepts related to climate change could be included within the curriculum, and therefore where there are gaps in learning that could be addresses through future curriculum reform.

Supporting teachers across the UK: MetLink is RMetS’ dedicated education website, providing free-of-charge, high quality classroom resources and other teacher support materials about weather and climate for primary and secondary school teachers. In the last 2 years, the Society has developed new teaching resources across an increasing range of subjects taught at secondary school including Geography, Maths and Physics. 

The Society also delivers training to PGCE Geography students, empowering over 700 trainee teachers in the last 5 years to teach about weather and climate in the classroom.

As part of our work with the National Climate Education Action Plan, RMetS has led the development of a quality control process to assess the accuracy of climate science in teaching resources. The quality control process provides guidance for resource providers to use as they create resources, as well as an expert review of the climate change content of teaching materials and the application of a quality mark to demonstrate the accuracy of the science included. 

What’s next for Climate Change Education at RMetS?

The Garfield Weston Foundation’s support will enable RMetS to scale its work on climate education in the following areas:

  1. Measuring Climate Literacy of UK school leavers. RMetS’ plans to repeat this research annually to track changes in how well students understand this issue in all the nations of the UK. This vital evidence is critical in supporting RMetS’ advocacy work, helping to influence policy and decision makers to leverage change and to understand the impact of future interventions.
  2. Advocating for change amongst decision makers and stakeholders. RMetS will continue to focus on engaging with administrations and exam boards to maximise opportunities for climate education in the curriculum.
  3. Capacity building within the teaching community. RMetS will support climate education by ensuring that teachers have the right tools and confidence to integrate the topic into lessons across a wide range of subjects and levels.
  4. Quality assurance for teaching resources. RMetS will scale up its quality control programme, engaging with more partners to assess the accuracy of climate science in teaching resources. We will work with partners to help ensure that our quality mark is recognised and trusted by teachers across the UK.
    RMetS wishes to thank the Garfield Weston Foundation for its generous support.

RMetS wishes to thank the Garfield Weston Foundation for its generous support.