By Patrick Wintour
2 May 2013
(The Guardian) – Ed Davey, the energy secretary, has written a private letter to Michael Gove, the education secretary, urging him to rethink his plans to downgrade climate change in the new national curriculum.
Amid protests from environmentalists and some students, Gove has removed debate about climate change from the draft geography curriculum.
Davey, a Liberal Democrat, argues that inclusion of climate change in the geography curriculum would safeguard the very important role teachers can have in teaching children about climate change.
Gove is seeking to slim down the curriculum, but his critics claim the omission of climate change from key stage 3 geography is an attempt to downgrade its significance, and even its validity.
In a Guardian interview on Wednesday Nick Clegg revealed he was now spending more time trying to broker deals with the Conservatives on green issues than any other single issue in government.
In a sign that the status of climate change teaching in schools is set to become another coalition flashpoint, Davey writes: "While I understand that one of the main objectives of the curriculum is to make it more concise and that 'climate change' is included within the science section, it does not appear in the geography section."
He continues: "As you'll be aware, there has been a significant number of responses, both from academic experts and the public, calling for climate change to feature explicitly in the geography curriculum. I am writing to express my strong support for such a change.
"Specifically mentioning climate change alongside the existing reference to 'climate' will ensure clarity on this issue for schools without requiring any major drafting changes to the curriculum. In doing so we will demonstrate the coalition's willingness to respond to feedback. More importantly we will safeguard the very important role that teachers have in helping children understand the impacts of climate change, one of the most important global issues of this century."
Davey has asked for a meeting between the two department's officials to discuss his concerns.
So far more than 65,000 people have signed petitions urging the government to keep climate change in the national curriculum for England. [more]