DEA Response to DfES Sustainable Schools Consultation

DEA Response to DfES Sustainable Schools Consultation

This DfES consultation ran until the end of August 2006. DEA submitted a response, and a brief summary is given below:

DEA welcomes the opportunity to comment on ‘Sustainable Schools’.

DEA agrees with the rationale set out for ‘Sustainable Schools’ and welcomes DfES’s stated intention to address the issues raised in the rationale. There is a need for a strategic framework for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in schools. Unfortunately, DEA does not believe that ‘Sustainable Schools’ as it currently stands fulfils this need for the following reasons:

  • The eight ‘doorways’ have an estate management rather than a learning focus and there is little evidence of connections being made between them.
  • It is weak policy as demonstrated by ‘The DfES’s primary role is to articulate a common set of aspirations around the concept of sustainable schools’.
  • There is a need for support for schools and the organisations that work with them. There is a need for a higher priority for ESD in DfES, which influences the work of the whole department.
  • There is a very strong environmental focus throughout. Sustainable development is broader than this.
  • The terminology is both problematic and inconsistent, eg: there is confusion between sustainability and sustainable development and between global dimension, global citizenship and international outlook.
  • The document does not reflect the cross-departmental government strategy for the global dimension in schools.
  • The document mentions initiatives such as Every Child Matters but does not make the connections clear. There is a need to demonstrate how a framework for ESD contributes to the core agendas of schools.

DEA hopes to work constructively with DfES to develop this policy.