Chapter 2.1.3 Inclusion, participation and education

Boost climate solutions literacy

Boost climate change education and awareness raising so that everyone can become better informed about how to respond to risks, responsibilities or opportunities. Scotland should become a climate literate nation by investing in and promoting Global Citizenship Education within the curriculum framework of Learning for Sustainability, and broader public awareness raising.

UK Govt
Scottish Govt
Local Authorities
Emissions reduction
Behaviour change

Scotland’s children and young people have an entitlement to Learning for Sustainability (LfS) within the Curriculum for Excellence, and it is also embedded within the GTCS Professional Standards.  LfS is a combination unique to Scotland of sustainable development education, global citizenship education and outdoor learning.  Global Citizenship Education (GCE) provides a framework for educators to connect the Scottish curriculum to real-world issues that young people care about.  Topics like climate justice, gender equality, anti-racist education and rights can be explored through a Global Citizenship lens, allowing young people to understand and care about what happens locally and globally but also recognise their role and responsibility in bringing about lasting change.

The recently launched Scottish Government Target 2030 Action Plan for Learning for Sustainability45 sets targets for schools to become Sustainable Learning Settings by 2030 through action across curriculum, culture, community and campus. Delivering this action plan could help us achieve success in many other areas of climate action.

To support the delivery of this action plan, there needs to be recognition of the important role played by the Development Education Centres as well as a commitment to their continued funding – on a minimum 3-year cycle – to support and deliver crucial Continued Professional Learning for teachers on Global Citizenship Education. High quality professional learning around Global Citizenship Education supporting transformative approaches needs to be accessible and available to all teachers and time needs to be given to teachers to engage with these pedagogical approaches.

As well as formal education climate change literacy needs to be built into lifelong learning and community learning opportunities.  Individuals, communities, businesses and the public sector can achieve carbon solutions literacy through training opportunities such as the accredited Climate Emergency Training delivered by Keep Scotland Beautiful (the strategic partner in Scotland for the Carbon Literacy Project), with training adaptable to suit the different needs of sectors and audiences, or through introductory training.

Businesses can also put in place organisation-wide environmental management systems and take part in award schemes such as the National Award for Environmental Excellence which recognises environmental and carbon management best practice as well as maintenance, waste management and community engagement.  Having an environmentally engaged workforce is vital in helping to meet new regulations or targets, and customer expectations as Scotland strives to become a net-zero nation.

Climate education and climate action have many co-benefits which include: improved understanding of wider climate impact on issues such as justice; improvements to human health and wellbeing; increasing focus and action on nature and biodiversity restoration; and, understanding of sustainability and circular principles.

For further information:

See also the policy “Boosting Business Participation in Climate Action” in the Business and Industry chapter.

Climate Change Education – empowering children and young people to take climate action

Climate change was identified by the current generation of learners as one of the ‘most significant issues’ facing their future as set out in the Muir Report.46  The report also recommended that climate change be recognised as a key driver influencing the future of the education system.

Progressing both Learning for Sustainability (LfS) and climate education, Climate Action Schools (CAS) is a framework of education initiatives supporting Scotland’s educators, young people and children.  CAS incorporates a number of initiatives including Eco-Schools Scotland (a whole-school, pupil-led approach to LfS), Climate Ready Classrooms (a one-day accredited carbon literacy course), and opportunities for Professional Learning.  The framework has four key components: learning for sustainability, climate emergency, biodiversity, litter and pollution, and amplifying pupil voice.  It supports Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), and is inclusive and accessible to all.

Enabling young people to become confident individuals, successful learners, responsible citizens, and effective contributors is the aim of CfE.  The programmes and activities offered through the CAS framework are designed to support children and young people to gain and develop the knowledge, skills, and attributes required to take positive action to tackle the challenges of life and work in the 21st Century.

Children and young people’s rights and entitlements are central to CfE, including the right for each learner to experience LfS as well as developing the skills for learning, life, and work.  CAS provides opportunities for learners to contribute their voice to decision-making that shapes their education through activities such as Young Reporters for the Environment and in particular the Eco School Committee aspect to the Eco-Schools programme, an activity that can influence the whole-school approach through environmental issues or topics identified by pupils involved.

For further information: Keep Scotland Beautiful Climate Action Schools:

Version 1.0: September 2023

The contents of this document will be updated on a regular basis.