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Discussion > Climate change and education

Apologies if this subject has gone around before. But I read this morning via Tom Nelson's blog about a piece in the Guardian which discusses a UNICEF survey of opinions about climate change in British schools.

It reports that three-quarters of 11- to 16-year-olds were worried about how global warming will change the world and wanted the government to do more to tackle the threat. The Guardian then used this as an opportunity to discuss government dropping the subject from the under-14 curriculum earlier this year.

Presumably these opinions come about partly as a result of the way in which climate change has been presented in the curriculum to date. Which, I imagine, contain little in the way of debate about the politics or the effectiveness of models and all the other details that make it such a murky area.

Does anyone know about what the national curriculum says about how the subject should be taught? Does it make room for doubt/debate?

I have read that in the past a teacher won a court case relating to An Inconvenient Truth being shown in schools? In the same spirit, is there any scope to highlight untruths being fed to our children at the moment?

Apr 18, 2013 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Furniss

Charlie, I don't have definitive answers, but I have a suggested project for you.

Insight into how curricula are handled with regard to climate can be found in 'Mark Schemes' (e.g. see in which examiners describe what they are looking to give credit for in marking specific exam questions.

I took a look at some of these a couple of years ago and found appreciable variation in how climate change questions were handled. As I recall off the top of my head, some Mark Schemes tolerated differences of opinion and others did not seem to. My hunch is that there is, to use the tabloid headline phrase, a bit of a 'postcode lottery' as far as what you can expect to get credit for in exam questions relating to climate. I ran out of time to pursue it much further, but it would be good if someone could track down as many Mark Schemes as they can find, and work through them to extract materials relevant to climate.

Some links and comments re school curricula on climate in general can be found here:

I commented on The Guardian article you refer to here:

PS Can you get the typo in your title to this thread fixed?!

Apr 18, 2013 at 11:40 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Thanks John – will look into these.

Good spot on the typo – oops!

I'm not sure how to fix it, though. Sorry. [I've done it for you. BH]

Apr 18, 2013 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Furniss

I don't think you can Charlie, but don't worry, "eduction" is a perfectly good word which suits its context nearly as well as "education". I'd stick with it.

OED "educe" bring out or develop from latent or potential existence; elicit. Hence "eduction".

Apr 18, 2013 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

I was looking at the Open University podcasts yesterday : there was an over number on Climate Change. (not strongly activist, but none of them remotely challenging the CAGW assumption either) ..about Polar Bears set to suffer for less ice, Living Without Oil,

- Indeed when you look at the common tags list at the side of the page "Climate Change" occurs 373 time, Business 277 times and the rest of top topics about 150 times each

Apr 18, 2013 at 3:48 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

John - thanks for these links. I have just has a quick look at and first thoughts are disbelief that a 'Science Agency' could produce such blatant alarmist bollocks for teachers - e.g. "Greenland Ice sheet gone in 70 years". It is pure propaganda, and to me is indicative of the poor state of our education system; if teachers and head teachers had any nous they would recognise this overtly political agenda for what it is and not have any part in promulgating or perpetuating it in the classrooms.

Apr 18, 2013 at 11:02 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus