Learning for Sustainability

LfS news & CLPL opportunities from Education Scotland

January 18, 2021
by I. Menzies

Learning for Sustainability Update

Latest news round-up

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 are not to be missed! The first session will be this week, 7pm Wed 20 Jan, on will help viewers understand the climate crisis in 45 mins! The following sessions will look at the future of food and farms and re-wilding in Scotland. There are excellent guests involved also and the content is closely aligned to the Scottish curriculum. The latter two sessions are ideal for those with an interest in, or studying, biology. We’ve targeted these sessions at learners and their families to help build all-important STEM capital across Scotland. I’d be grateful if you could share details with your networks. The second and third sessions will run at 7:00pm on the 27 January and 3 February 2021. Join the live stream here:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/aimhis-january-lessons-tickets-133146048415

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. The guide is available from here: http://www.gtcs.org.uk/web/FILES/professional-guides/professional-guide-Learning-for-Sustainabilty.pdf

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, Math, Big Data and food and Food & Climate. Webinars for each subject area will start with Technology & Engineering webinar focusing on the production of haggis, neeps and tatties on 20th January at 3.30pm. The online training site will go live in February with webinars running in January, February and March. Register for online sessions and webinars: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScmSeToBauMIjU_R1KWPgXT8zuRhtrDn3YppKh8UuORXqdQSA/viewform

WOSDEC Professional Learning Programme – These fully funded professional learning sessions are available to teachers across 13 local authorities. The programme includes a focus on rights, Fair Trade, SDGs, political literacy and much more: https://wosdec.org.uk/what-we-do/professional-learning-twilights/

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. The workshop on 29 January is open to anyone interested in piloting the award in the 2020/2021 academic session. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/creative-thinking-level-5-and-6-the-pilot-programme-tickets-132959542571

Carbon calculators and resources – Teachers may be interested in two online tools to support learning about sustainability and how the UK can progress towards its net zero ambitions. These include:

Climate grants – grants totalling £3.26m have now been  awarded to 280 community based organisations through the Community Climate Asset Fund (CCAF) that was launched in October as part of the wider Climate Challenge Fund (CCF).  At least one project has been funded in each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas. A total of 112 schools have accessed funding to support food growing. A full list of projects receiving funding is available here: https://www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/climate-change/community-climate-asset-fund/organisations-awarded-ccaf-grants/.

Speak up for nature, have your voice heard on a global stage, and win up to £500! Participants of all ages are invited to send a short 1-minute video message to world leaders and governments before the upcoming UN COP 15 meeting on biological diversity. Entry submissions are welcome until 28 Feb. Learn more at https://trustforsustainableliving.org/take-part/schools-sustainability-challenge

Dates for your diary

December 1, 2020
by C. Gillespie

Launch of fund to support Outdoor Learning

The Scottish Government has launched a new £2 million fund to support residential outdoor education centres affected by the pandemic. Part of that fund will be allocated to help centres deploy staff to schools and other settings to support the delivery of outdoor learning. Headteachers may soon be contacted by centres looking to pursue this opportunity in the weeks and months ahead. More information on the fund can be found on the YouthLink Scotland website.

Round one is now open for applications. Centres are invited to apply to round one for support with essential running costs.

Please apply by 1pm on 11th December 2020.

November 12, 2020
by C. Gillespie

Issue to action: Science


Global Citizenship provides a wealth of real-life contexts for learning Science.

Issues of sustainability, gender and health are explored in this series of lessons.

These materials were created by Science teachers in Scotland and are designed for use at BGE levels 3 and 4. All the activities connect to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and you can find some introductory activities to the goals here.

The materials explore 3 themes – plastic waste, gender balance in Science and health and hygiene – with short introductory activities as well as a series of lessons exploring the topics in more detail.

The lessons and worksheets in the booklet are supported by PowerPoints which you can download. All activities are mapped to ‘Experiences and Outcomes’ as well as the relevant Sustainable Development Goal.



October 28, 2020
by C. Gillespie

Outdoor Learning webinars – register now


Outdoor learning with a focus on Additional Support Needs

28 October

3 15 pm for 3 30 pm webinar

Participants will hear from a range of practitioners how children and young people with additional support needs experience outdoor learning.

The webinar will include a focus on outdoor learning within primary and  secondary schools and settings which supporting complex needs.



Numeracy and Maths webinar

4 November

3.15 pm for 3.30 webinar

As this is a re-run if you wish to attend this – please email EDSRegionalImprovementTeam@educationscotland.gov.scot FAO Ashley Spence and ask to be added to the list

Re-run of Numeracy and Maths session held on 30 September.


Literacy in the outdoors

11 November

3.15 pm for 3.30 webinar

This webinar will be run by a combination of Education Scotland STEM and Literacy and English colleagues joined by presenters from The John Muir Trust who will present practical ideas for The Lost Words. East Ayrshire’s Learning Outdoors Support Team will also share inspiring literacy ideas from their work with schools. Participants will be invited to share ideas during the session.



Outdoor Learning and Religious & Moral Education

19 November

Webinar 4 – 5 pm pre-meet 3.30 pm

This webinar will explore links between OL and RME, identifying how RME is an excellent context for considering the relationships between OL, Beliefs, Values and Practices and Traditions. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss and share ideas during the session.



Gender differences in outdoor learning

23 November

3.15 for 3.30 pm webinar

This session will use research and examples of practice to inform a discussion of gender differences in children & young people’s relationship with outdoor learning.

It will explore the implications of gender differences in participation on the wellbeing and self-efficacy of young people.

In particular it will explore:

  • Barriers young people may face in relation to outdoor learning due to their gender.

  • Implications for those who may miss out on accessing outdoor learning opportunities.

  • How stereotypes may be unwittingly reinforced.

  • Practical strategies to help overcome the barriers



Social studies and outdoor learning focus – primary practitioners

25 November

3.15 pm for 3.30 webinar


October 28, 2020
by C. Gillespie

Getting Started with Learning for Sustainability and Global Citizenship

Part 1: 23rd November 2020, 16:15 – 17:45

Part 2: 30th November 2020, 16:15 – 17:45

Part 3: 16th February 2021, 16:15 – 17:45

This free Professional Learning course is aimed at Primary and Secondary teachers, and consists of two online training sessions with an online sharing and reflection session later in the year. We will bring together strands of Learning for Sustainability (LfS) with a deeper exploration of Global Citizenship, providing practical methodologies and resources for teaching across the curriculum. Over the two sessions we will:

  • develop a shared understanding of Learning for Sustainability and Global Citizenship;
  • explore active methodologies that develop critical thinking;
  • examine themes and topics with strong Global Citizenship elements.

Click here to register and receive joining instructions.

October 22, 2020
by I. Menzies

Scotland’s young people are leading global citizens

Latest OECD PISA survey reflects learners’ positive attitudes and respect for others

Pupils in Scotland have higher than average awareness of global issues, according to an international survey run by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Data from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) on ‘global competence’ – defined as the ability to examine global and intercultural issues and understand and appreciate different perspectives – also found pupils in Scotland have very positive attitudes towards immigrants and respect for people from other parts of the world.

The assessment included a test which assessed pupils’ knowledge and understanding of global issues and the world views of others. Only two countries out of 27 who took part scored higher than Scotland.

Some of the other highlights include:

  • Scotland’s average score in the global competence assessment was 534 which was higher than the average of all participating countries of 474.
  • Scotland’s average score in the global competence assessment was 534. It was one of five countries to score at least 50 points above the average.
  • Twelve per cent of students in Scotland were assessed at Level 5, the highest level in the assessment, compared to 4.3% of students across all countries.
  • Girls outperformed boys in every country taking part in the assessment, with the exception of Scotland where performance was similar.
  • The global issues that students in Scotland were most familiar with were causes of poverty (87% of students), equality between men and women (85%), and climate change/global warming (78%).
  • A higher proportion of students in Scotland (81.4%) reported thinking of themselves as a citizen of the world than the OECD average (76.2%).
  • Almost two-thirds of students in Scotland (64.2%) reduce the amount of energy that they use at home to protect the environment.
  • More than 4 out of 5 students (82.2%) were in a school where teachers felt they could adapt their teaching to the cultural diversity of students.
  • Students in Scotland were among the 10 countries/economies (out of 66) with the most positive attitudes towards immigrants.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“One of the core aims of Curriculum for Excellence is that Scotland’s young people become responsible citizens with a knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland’s place in it. This survey shows CfE is working – our pupils are highly aware of issues beyond our borders and they are respectful of people from other parts of the world.

“Since this data was collected, a wide-ranging action plan has been published to make it easier for schools to cover important global issues such as climate change and a sustainable economy. This continuing work will help teachers equip our young people with the skills and knowledge to be active global citizens so they can contribute to sustainability goals, flourish in the global economy and contribute to the international community.”

Download the PISA 2018 Global Competence Report

Further links and resources


The PISA assessment was conducted in Scotland in 2018 across 107 schools and 2,969 pupils. Students in 27 countries/economies, including Scotland, sat both a Global Competence cognitive test and completed a Global Competence questionnaire. Students in a further 39 countries/economies completed the Global Competence questionnaire only. The other UK nations did not take part in the Global Competence test or questionnaire.

Scotland’s curriculum – Curriculum for Excellence – helps children and young people gain the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century, with the skills associated with global competence an important part of the curriculum framework. The Refreshed Curriculum Narrative for Scotland’s curriculum is available here.

An important cross-curricular theme within Scotland’s curriculum is the theme of Learning for Sustainability – an approach to life and learning which enables learners, educators, schools and their wider communities to build a socially just, sustainable and equitable society. Further information on Learning for Sustainability is available here.

October 22, 2020
by C. Gillespie

Supporting Learning Outdoors

The Scottish Advisory Panel for Outdoor Education is pleased to announce the launch of the Supporting Learning Outdoors professional e-learning course.  This course and associated guidance, developed by Education officers and SAPOE representatives from five local authorities, benefited from Scottish Government funding aimed at supporting outdoor learning. This has allowed the course to be made available, free of charge, to practitioners across Scotland and recognises the value that outdoor specialists can offer in partnership work with schools. SAPOE is keen to highlight the positive outcomes and impact collaborative practice can have on learners and their communities.

The Supporting Learning Outdoors (SLO) course will assist non-teaching staff: instructors, classroom assistants and third sector organisations, who want to work in partnership with schools to deliver meaningful curriculum based outdoor learning.  The course will help participants to gain an understanding of the Curriculum for Excellence and the framework for delivering this to pupils.  Furthermore, understand key messages on embedding and enhancing taught curriculum content into the real world context.

partnerships       #outdoorlearning


September 16, 2020
by I. Menzies

New Teaching Learning Outdoors course goes live

Education Scotland is pleased to announce the launch today of the Teaching Learning Outdoors professional learning course.  This course and associated guidance – relevant to teachers from all sectors- has been developed by SAPOE (Scottish Advisory Panel for Outdoor Education) and benefited from £17,250 of Scottish Government funding aimed at supporting outdoor learning. This has allowed this course to be made available, free of charge, to practitioners across Scotland through the Professional Learning and Leadership platform on the Education Scotland website.

It has never been more important to get our children and young people learning outdoors. This six step professional learning resource will guide you through the opportunities for outdoor learning,  why it is so important and beneficial and to help you plan high quality progressive outdoor learning experiences.  The course features videos, presentations and reflective questions looking at aspects of learning in the outdoor context; the health benefits, partners that can support you, policy context and links to key guidance, and learning and teaching resources.

The course can be found on Education Scotland’s Professional Learning and Leadership platform: https://professionallearning.education.gov.scot/learn/learning-activities/teaching-learning-outdoors/step-1/

In collaboration with our outdoor learning partners, Education Scotland has also produced a Wakelet featuring resources and guidance on Outdoor Learning and Learning for Sustainability:  https://wke.lt/w/s/beXl3C.  We are also running a series of outdoor learning webinars with our partners: https://professionallearning.education.gov.scot/learn/events/.  These webinars will be recorded and shared online to allow practitioners to view at a later date.


May 27, 2019
by I. Menzies

The Lost Words: helping unearth nature for new audiences


Ways in which this publishing phenomenon is being used to connect with diverse groups and learning settings are highlighted by Rob Bushby.

Read how educators, youth workers, countryside rangers and others are using The Lost Words to help inspire and engage people from all backgrounds to re-discover words – and find and interpret their own learning and meaning through creative connections with nature.

Free resources including 5 spell-poem downloads and an Explorer’s Guide are hosted by the John Muir Trust.

The Lost Words Examples April 19

February 22, 2019
by C. Gillespie

Collaboration in Global Education CLPL

Collaboration in Global Education CLPL – The Wood Foundation
Join a network of empowered, excited practitioners for a day of collaboration, shared learning, inspiration and interactive conversations to better mould your role in delivering Learning for Sustainability and global education.
Suitable for: All education practitioners (from early years to secondary, probationer to headteachers)
Saturday, 2 March 2019 Dewars Centre, Perth
11am to 4pm Cost: Free



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