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1,000 volunteers needed for school climate ambassador scheme

Education secretary Gillian Keegan has called for 1,000 expert volunteers to sign up and help schools create their climate action plans.

The climate ambassador scheme provides schools with a local expert to turn their climate and sustainability “ambitions into action”, a press release said. 

The scheme was first launched in 2022 by the University of Reading and STEM Learning, with support from the government’s UK Research and Innovation agency.

Gillian Keegan

In December, the Department for Education partnered with Reading and the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education to expand it to all education settings. 

A key aim of the extended programme is for all education settings to have a climate action plan in place by 2025, as previously set out in the DfE’s climate strategy. 

Backed by £2 million, the scheme aims to work 2,500 settings in the next two years.

Nine regional hubs have been set up so that the experts can be matched with education settings (see full list below).

Keegan told the Education World Forum that “regional climate ambassadors currently help schools and colleges draw-up climate action plans and improve their sustainability. 

“Over the next two years we will recruit over 1000 volunteers as climate ambassadors, to support over 2,500 education settings.”

The ambassadors should have skills and knowledge related to decarbonisation, adaptation and resilience, nature and biodiversity and climate education and green skills. Training and development is provided. 

They will be matched with schools based on their interests, expertise and background. They can help with various tasks, including creating the climate action plan, identifying ways to decarbonise operations and increasing biodiversity. 

Next month, the DfE is also rolling out a “sustainability support for education online hub”. It will promote the “ good work that has already been done in creating sustainability support for education settings”. 

This is being led by company TPXimpact with support from United Learning academy trust and Blue Marble.

The ambassador hubs

Manchester Metropolitan University (North West) 

University of Newcastle (North East) 

University of Leeds (Yorkshire & the Humber) 

Keele University (West Midlands) 

Universities for Nottingham (East Midlands) 

University of East Anglia (East of England) 

Met Office (South West) 

University of Reading (South East) 

University College London (London) 

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