Longdean School is ahead of the curve in addressing the climate change education challenge that was repeatedly echoed at and following COP26.
The eduCCate Global Bronze Award is the first bold step in building a coherent whole school approach to climate change that is designed to build schools’ confidence and capacity to deliver high impact solution focused climate change education.
Schools who undertake the eduCCate Global Awards program are committed to being a leader in their community, and to fueling climate action.
Graham Cunningham, Longdean School headteacher, said: "I am delighted that Longdean School has achieved the eduCCate Global Bronze Award for Sustainability and Climate Literacy.
"This is such an important global issue that will impact on the current generation of school leavers.
"This project has helped all of our school community enhance their understanding around climate change and develop the ability to take practical steps that will make a difference in this area."
Martin Macdonald, Lead Practitioner, Geography at Longdean School is the first teacher in Hertfordshire to become an eduCCate Global Climate Sustainability and Climate Literacy Lead Teacher.
He and the Sustainability and Climate Literacy Leadership Team - five staff members from across the school community - are leading climate change education at Longdean, but they are not alone.
To achieve the eduCCate Global Bronze Award, the Sustainability and Climate Literacy Team completed a rigorous program of training including:
> completing 5 teacher-adapted UNITAR climate change courses and the “How to teach climate change inset training”
> delivering a “How to teach climate change” workshop to all staff at Longdean School so they too can begin to build their climate literacy
> delivering a number of Carbon Footprint Buster Challenges to involve and activate Longdean School students.
Mr Macdonald said: “The eduCCate Global accreditation is an excellent way for schools to raise the awareness and consciousness of green issues and sustainability.
"At Longdean our team of dedicated teachers have benefitted from the online learning content and 'Carbon Footprint Buster Challenge' scheme of work to raise important questions and to highlight the good practice that we already demonstrate.
"It has resulted in greater student participation and wider understanding across the whole school community and has even led to work with industrial partners around the timely COP26 in Glasgow.
"It is essential that all organisations engage genuinely in sustainability issues and it has been a pleasure to lead such an important process for our school."
Melanie Harwood, co-founder of the not-for-profit, eduCCate Global, explains the context of the initiative further.
She said: “Children are far more vulnerable to climate-related disasters and associated health risks than any other social group. We need to give them the tools to understand the effects of a changing climate so that they can take well informed and effective action in the future.
"Now, more than ever, schools need to take the lead in helping our youngsters make sense of the issues and options.
“We are so pleased that Longdean School chose to work with eduCCate Global as they embark on this critical journey.
"We know from experience that a step by step approach helps teachers build their confidence and capacity to be allies for students as they face the uncertainty of our climate challenged world and prepare for their futures.”
Others on the team went on to describe their experience and the benefits to themselves and the school.
Mike Walters, Science Teacher and eduCCate Global and Sustainability and Climate Literacy Support Team Member, said: “The eduCCate Global Bronze Award has been a fantastic opportunity to understand the truly global implications of climate change, how it is impacting nations/communities around the world and how we as educators can alert this generation to the dire consequences of our lifestyles.
"More importantly it has also given us real scenarios of hope that we, as a species, can succeed in curbing climate change as part of our stewardship of the planet.”
Amy Rabjohn, Director of Learning Social Sciences and eduCCate Global and Sustainability and Climate Literacy Support Team Member, said: “I really enjoyed learning about how different genders are impacted differently; that module in particular had some startling facts and statistics that I would never have considered had I not undertaken the online course."
Dan Pischedda, Geography Teacher and eduCCate Global and Sustainability and Climate Literacy Support Team Member, said: "I found the Bronze Award training extremely relevant to the issues facing our world right now. This has been an eye opener, and I am extremely proud to have been a part of it."