Learning for Sustainability in Falkirk

February 15, 2021
by Y. McBlain

Sustainability Partnerships – The Future Speaks Event for Young People

Callum MacLellan of Sustainability Scotland is helping to organise online events in the 8 electoral areas of Scotland where S5/6 school pupils ask questions of local representatives from the five main political parties. Climate change is the most important issue that faces humanity and it is vitally important that politicians take it seriously. On Friday 2nd April at 5pm young people from Central Scotland high schools will be quizzing local representatives from the 5 main political parties about climate change at an online event. You can watch this live by registering here , to stream live from Facebook click here and you can also watch later via YouTube here.

Please do what you can to spread the word so that as many people as possible (young and old) are aware of this opportunity to question political leaders about their views on climate change. Sustainability Partnerships would be happy to pass on urgent questions about climate change to the main Scottish political parties. Send these to: howard.beck@sustainabilitypartnerships.org.uk


February 8, 2021
by J. Jackson

Useful links and further reading

As an integral part of our ‘LfS in Falkirk Framework’ we have started a series of CLPL courses aimed at practitioners and managers.  These courses will be introducing what we hope will be a useful framework for schools and practitioners to put LfS at the heart of planning, teaching and learning.

There are lots of other resources and materials which will help in this process, some of which are signposted below:

More information about the Falkirk LfS framework can be found here

Self evaluation tools:

The General Teaching Council for Scotland have a really useful, simple self evaluation wheel which very quickly helps you to identify what you are currently doing and where there might be potential gaps.

Self-evaluation Wheel: Learning for Sustainability | General Teaching Council for Scotland (gtcs.org.uk)


Education Scotland have produced a comprehensive self evaluation framework

There is also a summary version which can be accessed here


Professional responsibilities

The GTC for Scotland have produced a guide “to help you understand your responsibility to embed Learning for Sustainability in your practice, inspiring and motivating learners to address the challenges of learning to live within the environmental limits of our planet and to build a just, equitable and peaceful society.” Find out more via this link:

GTCS Professional Guide – LfS

Learning for Sustainability is integral to the GTCS Professional Standards Framework. Further information about this can be found on the link below.
What does LfS mean for me?

National guidance and further reading

There is a really useful summary of LfS resources on the The National Improvement Hub which can be accessed here


There are some useful videos showcasing individual inspirational projects in schools linked to LfS. Click here to access them.

Scottish Government commissioned Edinburgh University to review literature relating to the educational impact of LfS.  The result was published in March 2020 and can be accessed here

“The findings are significant for both policy and practice as they position LfS as an excellent context through which all aspects of CfE can flourish, enabling learners to develop and display the values and dispositions outlined in its ‘four capacities’.”



In 2015 LfS was the subject of one of Education Scotland’s ‘Opening up Great Learning’ documents.  It is a great introduction to what LfS is all about as well as showcasing some examples of good practice and providing ideas for taking LfS forward.  The PDF can be accessed here


January 21, 2021
by Y. McBlain

January 2021 Professional Learning Opportunities

Upcoming professional learning in Falkirk:

LfS 6-2021 9th February 2021 3.30-5 pm – Building LfS into your curriculum – introducing the Falkirk LfS framework and exploring how it can support your integration of LfS within your curriculum and the broad general education

LfS 7-2021 4th February 2021 3.30-5pm – An Introduction to Learning for Sustainability for practitioners and senior managers who are at the beginning of their LfS journey and would like to explore how the Falkirk LfS Framework can help

Professional learning information and opportunities available nationally – shared by Ian Menzies, Senior Development Officer, Education Scotland:

AimHi virtual sessionsclimate change and the biology curriculum – Education Scotland is partnering with AimHi to deliver three inspiring virtual sessions on LfS/Biology themes for learners and their families. The AimHi Team have delivered sessions to many thousands of viewers in over 100 countries and we’re delighted to be working with them to develop exclusive sessions specifically for the Scottish Curriculum. These have excellent guests  are not to be missed and there is still time to access 2 sessions (ideal for those interested in/studying biology) which focus on the future of food and farms and re-wilding in Scotland. The sessions are targeted at learners and their families, link to our national STEM focus,  and run at 7:00pm on the 27 January and 3 February 2021. Click here for details.

New LfS Guide – GTCS has launched a new Learning for Sustainability guide for teachers in partnership with Learning for Sustainability Scotland. The guide aims to help teachers understand their responsibility to embed Learning for Sustainability in their practice, inspiring and motivating learners to address the challenges of learning to live within the environmental limits of our planet and to build a just, equitable and peaceful society. A professional learning module is to follow – click here to to view the guide.

Food, STEM & Sustainability Online Teacher Training  The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET), The Rowett Institute, Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) are offering teachers and educators online training opportunities highlighting the importance of food. The online training (endorsed by Education Scotland) covers four main subject areas – Technology & Engineering, Health & Wellbeing, Maths (Big Data) and Food & Climate. Click here to register for online sessions and webinars – the online training site will go live in February.

Creative Thinking Qualification Pilot Programme  Working alongside Edinburgh Napier University and Edinburgh College, Daydream Believers has created a SCQF level 5 and level 6 award in Creative Thinking. The award provides a valuable framework for a wide variety of themes including STEM and Learning for Sustainability. Click here to register for the workshop on 29 January if you would like to know more about piloting the award in the 2020/2021 academic session.

Carbon calculators and resources – Two new online tools to support learning about sustainability and UK progress towards its net zero ambitions:

  • My 2050 – click here to explore this interactive online resource to help learners create strategies towards the UK’s 2050 net zero target:
  • MacKay Carbon Calculator – Click here to explore this more detailed model of the UK energy system and potential pathways to decarbonisation, including net zero by 2050

November 12, 2020
by Y. McBlain

Learning for Sustainability Update – November 2020

Yvonne McBlain and Jane Jackson have liaised with partners to build a programme of professional learning and resources for the next few months. This programme will be sent to all Falkirk establishments in November via our Children’s Services Weekly Communication email, and regular updates will follow. We hope it supports colleagues with their ongoing development of curriculum during this unusual school session.


Learning For Sustainability – CLPL and Resources – The following sessions can be accessed on CPD Manager:


LfS 3-2021:  26th November – Developing Social Enterprise in Education as part of your schools LfS

This session is being run by one of our LfS partners Social Enterprise Academy and will introduce this exciting project that could see your pupils taking part in a Dragons Den!


LfS 4-2021: 1st and 15th December – Outdoor Journeys

Find out how local area journeys can enable young people to find out about the people and place in which they live in a fun and engaging way.  Keep Scotland Beautiful will be facilitating this session with links to how Outdoor Journeys can be part                                                              of your wider outdoor learning and LfS curriculum.


LfS 7-2021: 4th February – An Introduction to LfS

A session aimed at practitioners with limited knowledge of LfS.  As well as finding out what LfS is all about you will get resources linked to a Falkirk LfS framework that is being developed.

LfS 6-2021: 9th February Building LfS in to your curriculum

Aimed at practitioners with some prior knowledge of LfS this session will explore the Falkirk LfS framework and associated progressive IDL ‘bundles’.

 Other LfS CLPL opportunities

Scotdec are delighted to share with you professional learning opportunities around Learning for Sustainability for November and December 2020. All courses are free and take place online.

Secondary teachers

The future we want – a series of subject focussed webinars for secondary teachers wanting to explore how and why a global citizenship approach can add value to your teaching.

  • Active citizenship through maths – 3 December, 14 January and 11 February 5 – 6.30pm


  • Active citizenship through modern languages – 8 December 5 – 6.30pm


All teachers

Speak up! Race, bias and my classroom – a digital workshop series for teachers interested in exploring Anti-Racist education – for more information see attached fliers.

  • Edinburgh’s Black History –  24 November 4.30 – 6pm
  • Towards and Anti-Racist classroom  – 25 November and 2 December 4.30 – 6pm

Teaching for the Sustainable Development Goals – a series of webinars focussing on specific SDGs and how to engage young people with key global issues. Follow the links for more information and to register.

  • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Fairtrade – 19 November 4 – 5.30pm


  • SDG 16: Young people, democracy and political literacy – 2 December 4 – 5.40pm


  • SDG 13: Climate Action – 3 December 5 – 6.30pm



April 28, 2020
by Y. McBlain

Support for Learning for Sustainability during Covid 19 School Closures

This post is designed to collate the many Learning for Sustainability teaching and learning resources available to practitioners during school closures as a result of Covid 19. Obviously most of these sources will still be relevant and accessible when we reach “the new normal”. Jane Jackson and Yvonne McBlain, curriculum support officers compiled these links and wish you and yours well during these challenging times. Please contact jane.jackson@falkirk.gov.uk with any queries you have and click as directed below to access each resource.

Click here to open the Sway presentation created to give you an overview of Learning for Sustainability as part of your whole-school curriculum – this presentation also provides links to key reading about LfS.

Click here to open the Sway presentation created by Yvonne and Jane to share the LfS bundle planning they are working on with practitioners in a few Falkirk schools. We will soon add a link to a new Learning for Sustainability Team where Falkirk practitioners and senior leaders can access these new plans and help us develop this key curriculum support.

Click here to browse outdoor learning specific support from our Outdoor Learning Blog

Click here to access a new Sway presentation which Yvonne has prepared to collate reading and policy documents about pupil voice, participation and empowerment. Pupil voice, rights, participation and citizenship are all part of Learning for Sustainability.

Education Scotland have a summary of all LfS support materials in the National Improvement Hub here.





Click here if you would like to take advantage of the British Council/UKAid CLPL opportunity for training in Learning for Sustainability- offer closes 30th April 2020

This link will take you to the support page of Keep Scotland Beautiful, and you may already have spottted their message regarding Green Flag/Eco Schools award submissions which you have pending.

Scotdec have a brilliant range of teaching and learning support materials available by clicking here



Social Enterprise Academy also offer resources and support online by clicking here and are exploring how their popular Dragons’ Den events can happen virtually and some of you may have been due to attend their awards ceremony – watch this space. Jane and Yvonne will update this post with further information – get in touch with any additional links or sources please.

June 15, 2018
by Y. McBlain

Bantaskin Primary School Eats Sustainably

In August 2017 Alistair Findlay, acting principal teacher at Bantaskin PS began to work with primary 5, 6 and & 7 pupils on a “Good Food” project. This project developed from recommendations in the Better Eating, Better Learning document and was instigated by findings from the Healthy Living surveys which take place each year. Evidence from the 2017 survey showed that only 30% of primary 5-7 children were eating fruit daily, and only one fifth of pupils ate vegetables daily.

Alistair therefore saw potential to improve healthy eating habits across the school and the decision was taken to appoint a food technologist to support this aim. Alistair worked with a RACI group of colleagues to plan and teach a series of lessons which included:

  1. Learning about why it is important to have a balanced diet
  2. Learning about the Eat Well plate and recommendations
  3. Developing a range of skills for life including cooking & food preparation, horticulture and growing healthy ingredients for our cooking from seeds, etc.

A kitchen classroom was created within school to facilitate all of this learning and ensure that the new Food and Health experiences and outcomes and benchmarks could be addressed fully. This project extended to enabling parents to become involved in developing their cooking skills and cooking healthy, affordable meals within the school, gradually gaining a REHIS Elementary Cooking Skills Certificate. Susan Kennedy, NHS, supported Alistair and the group in designing this elementary course for parents. Jennifer Robertson from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) also supported the school by cooking with parents one afternoon – a tasty beef stir fry resulting from this collaboration. Both parents and their children took a trip to Bonnyhill Farm to see where their food came from and gain a deeper understanding of the impact of food miles. This visit was supported by collaboration with RHET (Royal Highland Education Trust).

The project involved other partnership working, including Jamie Stevenson from Torwood Garden Centre who donated plants for the evolving “Growzone” – the name pupils gave to their school garden. The school also registered with the Royal Horticultural Society and within a single academic year, has achieved levels 1, 2 and 3 of the Gardening in Schools RHS Award.

A team of gardening parents and grandparents now maintain the school orchard as well as helping pupils with heavy labour required in their Growzone.  The success of the Growzone also benefits from weekly input from gardening volunteer Lorraine Milligan.  These collaborations have all extended pupil opportunities to develop skills beyond school and to gain a broader understanding of skills for work. In addition they have developed the ethos and life of their school as part of its community.

These collaborations have all extended pupil opportunities to develop skills beyond school and to gain a broader understanding of skills for work. In addition they have developed the ethos and life of their school as part of its community.

Yvonne McBlain popped in to get a flavour (no pun intended) of the impact all of this excellent work was having. She very much enjoyed seeing the school displays and awards gained, and meeting Gail Henderson, the school’s food technologist and the pupils she was working with. Primary 4 pupils had chopped & cut to make a cucumber and mint dip with the herbs from their garden. Throughout the school pupils look at and talk about their plants and garden during lunch times and breaks, they look after the garden well, pointing out when plants need water. They are also excited about harvesting their current crop and turning these into delicious meals and snacks.

Alistair and colleagues will harvest crops which mature over the summer and preserve these in the school freezer so that pupils can use these later in the session. Plans for next year include the building of a polytunnel so that children can sow and grow their  crops earlier and perhaps expand the range of things they can cultivate.

January 30, 2017
by Y. McBlain

National Learning for Sustainability Practitioner Network Meeting


On Wednesday 18th January 2016, Yvonne McBlain attended the Learning for Sustainability practitioner network meeting organised by Ian Menzies, Senior Development Officer, Education Scotland. The event lasted all day and was organised around short “spotlight” presentations by practitioners, followed by longer opportunities to talk with other delegates from around the country. The people delivering the spotlights represented each educational sector and were:

Anne O’Grady & colleagues from Chesters Nursery in Glasgow

Debra May from East Craigs Primary in Edinburgh

Sandra Buchan from Kemnay Academy in Aberdeenshire

Rebecca Chad from Pilrig Park School in Edinburgh

Each person described how they were taking the various elements of Learning for Sustainability forward in their establishment. Anne’s nursery were combining their LfS (especially their outdoor learning) with Health and well-Being (development of pupils’ mental, social, physical & emotional health). They had a range of projects designed to build up the Ethos and Life of their nursery, and increase family and community involvement.

Debra described her role as the leader of a RACI working group in her school, who were tasked with developing LfS across the school. She shared their progress so far. Sandra’s development of LfS as part of her secondary school development plan (she is faculty head of science) also overlapped with her subject-specific responsibilities. She is gradually building up colleague understanding of what LfS actually is, then supporting them in small projects which progress and enhance their pupil experiences. Sandra and Debra both described how some of their colleagues were planning interdisciplinary LfS teaching which linked to the Sustainable Development goals.

Rebecca had recently returned to her role as head teacher of Pilrig following a “Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce” secondment with Education Scotland. She shared some of the practice she had observed in that role, to illustrate how practitioners could also target skills for work when developing their LfS. She is working with colleagues to make LfS meaningful and enjoyable for her pupils with severe and complex educational needs. All of these practitioners would be happy to welcome visitors wanting to see their LfS in action.

During the discussion times, Yvonne was tasked with finding out how other authorities are supporting practitioners in their development of LfS. She met the Leaders of LfS Learning from Stirling council, who are now developing an LfS practitoner network across their schools. Colleagues from Highland Council and Dumfries and Galloway Council are working towards supporting and encouraging practitioners in similar ways. Everyone agreed that there is still a need to develop awareness of the many elements of Learning for Sustainability, and to reassure practitioners that they are already covering elements of it. Jane Jackson and Yvonne have been working with our own Falkirk LfS practitioner network for a few years now – initially focusing on Outdoor Learning. The next national practitioner network meeting takes place in Stirling Court Hotel in March.

Click here to join the national Learning for Sustainability network group in Glow – this will enable you to access resources, and connect with other practitioners working on LfS. Click here to see the presentation used during this meeting.

March 18, 2016
by Y. McBlain

Water Celebration at Kinneil Primary School

WP_20160316_001[1]On Wednesday 16th March, Primary 4 pupils at Kinneil PS celebrated the value of water. As part of their global storyline learning, they created their own community called Forth Mountain. Each pupil is a character with a job in this new community – Jessica F is a baker and she is 18 years old. Jessica K is the café owner and works as a waitress in the café too! Jessica Kr owns and works in the hairdresser. There are lots of Jessicas in P4 at Kinneil PS!


The characters in Forth Mountain get all of their water from a lovely clear lake further up the mountain and have learned to appreciate having this perfect water supply. All of the characters in the village do jobs which help look after the water, and primary 4 planned how to celebrate their wonderful water supply by holding a water carnival.

WP_20160316_006[1]They made a plan for the Carnival with their teacher Mrs Morrison:

  1. Parade around in a big circle swaying to Shakira music and holding up our water float pictures and slogans
  2. Take turns to mime our water jobs in Little Mountain
  3. Work with our community group to show our still image of the water
  4. Sing our water song – complete with the new verses we’ve made up

Yvonne McBlain joined in with the celebration as a reporter “covering” the event for a television network. She interviewed the community groups, who explained why the water was so important to Forth Mountain people. *  WP_20160316_009[1]

Primary 4 have done lots of learning about water as well as creating their community – one of their most interesting tasks, was to find out just how much water they used everyday in their homes. They were amazed by just how much they and their families use. Below you can see some of their work.















February 3, 2016
by J. Jackson

Learning for Sustainability in Carron Primary School

We all know how effective learnng can be when it is related to real life, especially when young people can direct further learning and see where/how they can contribute and make an impact.  The subject of  energy usage and climate change was brought to life when  Jenny Deacon, class teacher at Carron Primary School,  worked closely with Brenda Roddy (Climate Change and Sustainability Officer) to explore these issues.

Brenda is able to provide statistics for every Falkirk Council establishment which show how much energy is being used on a daily and annual basis.  These statistics can be used in a range of ways with many opportunities for pupils to influence what they do with that information, where they take their learning and how they link this with global issues like climate change.

carron elec day use

Jenny and Brenda planned two lessons, the first one focused on energy and usage in Carron Primary School but the second lesson involved using heat sensitive cameras.

thermal imaging

The pupils appear to have had an interesting time taking images throughout the school as well as of themselves!

thermal imaging 2We look forward to finding out what Jenny Deacon and her class did with the information they gained from the sessions.

Brenda Roddy is keen to help other schools with issues related to Climate Change and Sustainability and further CPD sessions will be programmed to explore how she can work in partnership with schools.  In the meantime Brenda can be contacted via email brenda.roddy@falkirk.gov.uk.

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