Many UK schools are working to become zero carbon by 2030, but they will all need more government support to hit this goal. The Let’s Go Zero campaign is calling for seven government actions – achievable, affordable steps in-line with the country’s zero carbon ambitions.
These would make sure that all young people understand how to create a sustainable future for all, and leave school ready to take on zero carbon jobs and live sustainably. All new school buildings would be zero carbon – while older ones would be made more energy-efficient and ready to withstand a changing climate.
The UK’s 32,000 schools create significant emissions and have a big role influencing future generations and their wider communities. So these measures are a great platform for radical and lasting change.
Working with government for change
The organisations behind Let’s Go Zero are talking directly with the government about these proposals, working constructively to make them a reality.
Representing over 104,000 teachers and nearly 620,000 pupils, Let’s Go Zero was invited to input to the Department for Education’s new Sustainability and Climate Change strategy released in April 2022. While the government’s strategy includes several steps in the right direction, it does not go anywhere near far enough, fast enough in the face of a climate emergency. See our full response to the strategy here.
Let’s Go Zero, which was named in the strategy as working with the Department for Education on setting targets for schools, will continue to push for ambitious action to be taken much quicker, and for immediate funding to be given to schools so they can adapt and retrofit the school estate as a matter of urgency.
Seven steps to create zero carbon schools:
1. In 2022 the government commits to all UK schools being zero carbon by 2030 and announces long term and consistent policies and funding to enable this. Not committed
2.Government ensures there is investment in training teachers in education for sustainable development across the curriculum, and in equipping colleges and schools to give all learners a connection to nature. Achieved- in strategy
3. The government commits to investing in adapting and retrofitting the school estate. Not committed
4. The Department for Education commits to improving their building specifications, so that all new school buildings from 2022 onwards will be net zero carbon. Achieved- annouced in November 2021
5. By 2025, every school is mandated to have a funded Climate Action Plan that provides step by step guidance cutting through the current complicated procedures that will result in zero carbon status. Achieved- in strategy
6. Every school should have a trained staff member who acts as a Sustainability Lead. Achieved- in strategy
7. Sustainability to be embedded as a statutory feature of careers guidance in UK schools by 2025. Not committed