Labour turn their backs on climate emergency education in city’s schools

Labour-controlled Brighton & Hove City Council is scrapping a pioneering environmental school project without providing any replacement.

The ‘Our City Our World’ project worked with schools throughout the city to raise awareness of climate change but saw its £41,000 council funding scrapped by Labour last week as part of £30 million of cuts to local services.

That decision led one local headteacher, St Nicolas Church of England Primary School’s Andy Richbell, to start a petition on the local authority’s website – attracting hundreds of signatures in support of the project.

The petition, which called on the council to maintain previous levels of funding for the school environmental education budget, points to local surveys which show 90 per cent of young people, 97 per cent of parents and guardians, and 98 per cent of teachers think it is important pupils learn about climate change in school.

It also highlights the fact the climate emergency is often listed by young people as one of their main concerns for the future.

The Our City Our World project was started by a previous Green administration and the party is supporting calls for the council to continue to fund resources in this area – and if not, to explain how sustainability and climate change will continue to be taught.

Green councillor Sue Shanks, who sits on the Children, Families, and Schools Committee for the Green Party, asked Labour what it planned to do in place of the project when the committee met on Thursday.

Cllr Shanks said: “We know the climate emergency is something which causes a lot of concern among our young people and understandably so and it is absolutely vital the subject is covered in schools.

“Brighton & Hove City Council has previously spoken about the Our City Our World project with great pride and I know it has been well received in schools by teachers and pupils alike.

“Removing the funding for the project risks undoing much of the fantastic work already done in local schools and – much like the rest of the council’s budget decisions – schools were not informed of plans to cut the funding until very late in the day, meaning there wasn’t enough time to campaign to protect it.

“We need to hear from Labour how issues of sustainability and the climate emergency will be remain integrated in the curriculum without the Our City Our World programme.

“This was an incredibly popular project, which young people clearly valued and felt was an important part of their education.

“We owe it to them, and future generations, to do all we can to make sure these important issues to do not fall off the agenda because of this money-saving decision.”



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