On Tuesday 25th January 2022, the Education Policy Institute held a webinar on environmental sustainability and digital learning: ‘Putting sustainability at the heart of education’.
A summary paper bringing together insights from panellists from this event can be found below.
The global pandemic has had a significant effect on the education sector and the way in which education is delivered, as various lockdowns over the last twenty months have forced the move to mass online learning. The sector has responded remarkably to this sudden shift to digital learning, and, as we look collectively towards education recovery, there is a unique opportunity for schools and colleges to further accelerate digital learning to deliver high quality education, whilst ensuring environmental sustainability is at the heart.
Following COP26 and the requirement set by the Department for Education for schools to be net-zero carbon, the government recently published the draft Sustainability & Climate Change strategy in November 2021. The strategy sets out the department’s plans for the education sector to be world-leading in sustainability and climate change by 2030. The strategy outlines four key aims: ensuring young people have the green skills needed for the future; making school estates net zero; ensuring school buildings are resilient to climate change and improving biodiversity in school settings.
If we are to meet the wider target of becoming net zero by 2050 and support the next generation of young people to tackle climate change and develop the green skills needed for the future, schools will have a pivotal role to play. As the education sector looks towards harnessing the potential of technology, sustainability must be at the heart of any digital learning offer.
This event brought together school leaders, policy makers and sector experts to examine how we can make the digital learning offer environmentally sustainable. The discussion explored the environmental and financial implications of technology, the implications of the 2050 climate-neutrality target for schools and colleges and measuring ‘carbon footprint by pupil’. The second panel discussion will then assessed how to successfully embed sustainability in the curriculum, the opportunities technology offers to enable young people to engage with sustainability initiatives and the potential role of data in improving climate education.