CAfS will be helping to create a national climate training toolkit for educators as part of a new government plan.

We will be one of the partners developing the toolkits, as part of the Department for Education’s Climate & Sustainability Strategy, announced in April. Every maintained nursery, school, college and university in the country is to have a sustainability lead among their staff, all of whom will have ‘carbon literacy’ training on the climate crisis and how we can respond.

We’ve been delivering accredited Climate and Carbon Literacy training in Cumbria since 2019 and we’re now running a pilot with local colleges to tailor the course for the education sector, supported by the National Lottery through the Zero Carbon Cumbria programme.

Speaking at the launch of the strategy, Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP, said:

We are going to speed up carbon literacy training throughout our education communities so that by 2025 every nursery, school, college and university can put in place a Climate Action Plan. Innovation and green growth will not flourish unless we deliver a workforce with the right skills to make this a reality.”

Hazel Graham, carbon literacy training manager at CAfS, said:

This announcement by the Department for Education is fantastic news. We have some fantastic examples already of schools leading on emission reduction in Cumbria. This announcement means all schools and colleges will gain the extra knowledge and support they need to reduce their own carbon footprint and also to inspire and involve their students. We’ve trained hundreds of people in organisations and communities around the county, and we’ve seen first-hand the impact that carbon literacy training can have.

Our course is designed to do more than just build knowledge. Delegates tell us that they feel more able to then go on share that knowledge with others, more confident to communicate about the climate crisis, and more motivated to act. We get regular feedback about the significant, meaningful, lasting changes that individuals, communities or organisations have made, after attending our courses.

“We’re excited to be asked to help develop the national carbon literacy kit for educators, which we’re well placed to do as we’re already rolling out climate and carbon literacy training for schools and colleges in the county, written by educators, for educators.

Among them is Lakes College in West Cumbria. The college principal, Chris Nattress, said:

We recently engaged with CAfS to plan and deliver climate training to our whole college staff during our annual Staff Conference Day. Staff found the session informative and thought provoking. It was an ideal way for us to give our staff an evidence-based, well-informed overview of the challenges we all face in reducing carbon emissions.

“As a college, climate education is a priority for us, and there is a huge amount of interest from staff and students in full-day, accredited carbon literacy training. We have therefore commissioned CAfS to deliver several sessions for us in June to help us achieve our climate ambitions as an organisation. It is great to see DfE’s announcement that other colleges may soon be doing the same.

Cumbria County Council, the local education authority for the county, has already offered carbon literacy training by CAfS to a large number of its staff and elected members and is a Bronze Carbon Literate Organisation under the national accreditation scheme.

Councillor Celia Tibble, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said:

This is a fantastic initiative and fits perfectly with our drive to see a golden thread of climate education right from primary up to adult education. This is a key priority for us and, having been trained by CAfS ourselves, we can fully appreciate the impact this training could have if rolled out for educators in the county.”

Louise Atkinson, who is National Vice President of the National Education Union as well as a primary school teacher in Cumbria and governor at a secondary school, said:

We are pleased to see this announcement from DfE, and here in Cumbria we are ready to respond. We are lucky to have an expert organisation like CAfS in the county to partner with on a roll-out. We at NEU believe that this training is a positive step. Climate change is real and is threatening our future. It is our young generations that will lose the most if it is not addressed now. We all have a role to play and a contribution to make about the necessary changes. We look forward to working with CAfS to roll out this important training for sustainability leads in schools.”

CAfS is inviting schools and colleges in Cumbria to get ahead of the curve.

We haven’t seen the detail yet of when the DfE roll-out will be but there’s no need to wait,” Hazel said. “Any school or college that wants to be at the forefront of this exciting initiative can get in touch with CAfS now, as we can arrange carbon literacy training for you.”

CAfS also runs carbon literacy courses that are open to the public, for anyone who’d like to learn more about the causes of climate change and what they can do about it, or who would like to get a feel for how the course works.

Our next carbon literacy training session for the public begins on 22 June, you can book on to it here.

You can also email [email protected] for more information about the courses,