What COP26 means for academy trusts

On day five of COP26 the UK announced its draft ‘Sustainability and Climate change’ strategy, which aims to put climate change at the heart of education. Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi pledged his commitment to ‘build back greener’, stating that “education is critical to fighting climate change. We have both the responsibility and privilege of educating and preparing young people for a changing world – ensuring they are equipped with the right knowledge, understanding and skills to meet their biggest challenge head on”. The Department for Education has released a document (Sustainability & Climate Change: A draft strategy for the education & children’s services systems (publishing.service.gov.uk) detailing the draft strategy, which will be developed over the next sixth months in collaboration with young people, educators, sustainability experts and environmentalists before its final publication in April 2022.

“Now, the ambition for an environmentally sustainable education system is becoming national and there is a clear expectation that all trusts and schools must play their part.”

We know from our CEO strategy group on sustainability, and the work of many of our CEO and executive leader members, that great and pioneering work is already happening. Now the ambition for an environmentally sustainable education system is clearly becoming national and there is a clear expectation that all trusts and schools must play their part. From decarbonising schools and creating net zero estates, to delivering world-leading climate change education, the draft Sustainability and Climate Change strategy sets out ambitious goals for the education sector in the years ahead. So, what might this mean for academy trusts, and what are some of the things that trust leaders can do to prepare?

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