The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has been urged not to “jeopardise green education” after threatening to axe a scheme aimed at creating sustainable schools.
The news comes after the government controversially cut the schools rebuilding programme and axed a scheme to create 5,000 green work experience placements. Now the Department for Education looks set to drop the Sustainable School Strategy.
The plan was condemned by People & Planet and Friends of the Earth.
People & Planet, the UK's largest student campaigning network, said that evidence from the previous education department and numerous other sources has shown that those schools who implement sustainability have raised standards as well as staff and student wellbeing.
The organisation, which coordinates the Go Green campaign to help schools cut their carbon emissions, called on the government to ensure that there are opportunities and resources for all students to learn about sustainability issues.
“Abandoning a coordinated approach to creating sustainable schools is akin to abandoning hope that the next generation can tackle the greatest threats to our society,” insisted Jamie Clarke, People & Planet's Education Manager, “It further compounds the impression that the coalition government is saddling the future generation with an environmental debt”.
He pointed out that schools produce a fifth of all public sector greenhouse emissions. “Schools need to be at the heart of the green society, preparing the next generation for the challenges that face our world, and to be at the forefront of the future economy,” he said.
Student Matt McMullen added, “It is vital that we continue to support schools to become sustainable, especially at this critical moment, so that we can create a big society where we can tackle the defining issues of our generation. We want a better future.”