Learning for Sustainability update November 2022

Children issue call to action on Learning for Sustainability and outdoor learning

This latest report from the Children’s Parliament contains a clear call to all educators in all subject areas – our children want to receive their entitlement to Learning for Sustainability including learning about climate change, more frequent opportunities for outdoor learning and contact with nature. These findings echo the findings of other consultations such as the response to Prof Ken Muir’s Report: Putting Learners at the Centre. Hear what our children have to say.

Public consultation for the Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment/Hayward Review is now live!

Links to the public consultation can be found below:

Professor Hayward’s Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Professor Hayward’s Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment – public consultation – Scottish Government – Citizen Space

The secretariat are happy to answer any questions that you might have – qualificationsreform@gov.scot.

Join the National Discussion on the Curriculum

The National Discussion was launched at SLF – please get involved and encourage others to respond, especially young people.

Resources are available on the national website: https://consult.gov.scot/national-discussion-scottish-education/

Complete the survey at: https://consult.gov.scot/learning-directorate/national-discussion-on-education/

The conversation is being supported by  Scottish Government in partnership with COSLA.

There are a number of live discussion events taking place online on 16 and 23 November, supported by Professors Alma Harris and Carole Campbell.

It is a tight timescale for responding – the National Discussion ends 5/6 December.

Take part in the LfS Scotland event on 7 Nov on the response to the Hayward Review Consultation.

Join the National LfS Practitioner Network

Practitioners with an interest or responsibility for Learning for Sustainability are invited to join the national Learning for Sustainability Network in Teams in Glow. Joining code: O4sj08j. 

The network provides an opportunity to connect with like-minded practitioners, hear about latest opportunities and to share approaches, practice, resources and ideas.

SCQF project on Learning for Sustainability qualifications is now officially live and open for submissions.

Through the national LfS Action Plan and with support from Scottish Government, SCQF is seeking to increase the number and range of SCQF credit-rated courses associated with LfS.  Organisations across Scotland are being encouraged to submit proposals for new courses that can be SCQF credit-rated.

Details can be found here:

Learning for Sustainability Funded Project 2022/23 | Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (scqf.org.uk)

The closing date for applications is 11 November. If you need any additional information, please get in touch with Nicola Smith: N.smith@scqf.org.uk

Learning for a Sustainable Future

5-week MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

Join a personal and professional global learning journey towards a sustainable future. This course supports you to reflect, investigate, discuss and develop an informed response to the global challenges that matter to you.

Find out more and sign up here

‘Learning for Sustainability and the Professional Standards’

Learning for Sustainability Scotland are hosting a monthly Drop-In with GTC Scotland

Last Thursday of every month.

Join the Learning for Sustainability conversation. Our monthly Drop-Ins Connect you with other teachers and contributors to collaborate on, inspire, inform and celebrate Learning for Sustainability across your teaching, setting and learning community.

Find out more and sign up here

‘Learning for Sustainability and “Putting Young People at the Centre”’: a round-table discussion for the youth work sector

5 October, 16:00 – 17:00

The Scottish Government and COSLA are launching the ‘most inclusive ever discussion on education in Scotland, with learners playing a key part in decision-making’. In addition, a refresh of the national Learning for Sustainability Action Plan is currently underway. How do we ensure that youth work sector organisations can collaborate to support these important new developments?

Find out more and sign up here

Plastic Pollution Live Lesson, 7-11 November

The Plastic Pollution Live Lessons from Keep Scotland Beautiful offer tailored content for Early Years-P3, P4-P7 and secondary schools.

School Partnerships & Global Learning: CCGL Practitioner Research, 10 November, 16:30

The Development Education Research Centre (DERC) is hosting a second research webinar to introduce and celebrate further research studies produced through the Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning (CCGL) Practitioner Research Fund.

John Muir Award, Wild Places and Education Priorities, 16 November, 16:00

Join the John Muir Trust online to explore how wild places and the John Muir Award can benefit learning and educational priorities in Scotland.

Rights Across the Curriculum: Teaching About, Through and For Rights, 17 November, 16:30

This interactive, two-part course from Scotland’s Development Education Centres will help you to develop a rights-based approach across your teaching, learning and wider school life.

Develop Arts-based Outdoor Learning in your School with Out to Play

Eco Drama’s 2023 Out to Play Residencies Programme is now available to book for primary schools in Glasgow and surrounding areas.

Positive Imaginings: Creative Climate Education

Positive Imaginings from Rowanbank Environmental Arts and Education is a Creative Climate Education Project, which explores children’s imaginings of a positive future in the face of climate change. Expressions of interest are invited from primary schools for their Spring, Summer and Autumn terms 2023.

Introduction to Teaching Sustainability and Climate Action in Schools

Discover the role that learning for sustainability and climate action has to play in tackling the climate crisis. On this four-week course from the University of Glasgow, you’ll delve into the role of education in addressing the current climate crisis.

Dirt Is Good Schools Programme

The Dirt Is Good Schools Programme from Persil and its partners enables young people to take action on the environmental and social causes they care about; planning and delivering a social or environmental project that works towards one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Watch Again: Scottish Learning Festival 2022

The SLF 2022 ‘watch again’ facility is now live with more than 65 seminars, spotlights and satellite events from the two-day conference available to view online; including a range of seminars on Learning for Sustainability and Outdoor learning.

Scottish Junior Forester Award

Outdoor and Woodland Learning (OWL) Scotland are pleased to announce a range of courses this winter on the recently launched Scottish Junior Forester Award. Venues include Abriachan Forest Trust – Inverness, Kinnoul Hill – Perth, Pollok Park – Glasgow and Newbattle Abbey in Dalkeith. The Newbattle and Abriachan courses will cover tree planting and the Glasgow and Perth course will cover tool use.


RHET CLPL Opportunity

10th September Teacher Training

The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) are offering all primary and early level practitioners a free face to face CLPL opportunity on 10th September from 10 – 12 at the Pavilion Ingliston, Edinburgh.

The CLPL session will provide participants with the opportunity to:

  • Develop an understanding and appreciation of STEM in food and farming
  • Upskill around The Journey of Food, covering farm to fork, sustainability and influences on consumer choices

Including  a number of curricular linked activities; participants will be provided with the resources required to deliver them in the classroom.

Book your place here

Learning for Sustainability Scotland news

Learning for a Sustainable Future MOOC starts 14 March

Join a personal and professional global learning journey towards a sustainable future.  On this highly regarded five-week open-access online course, you’ll develop an informed personal response to local and global challenges as you’re supported to take positive actions. What on Earth could be more important?

LfS Scotland Story Sharing

At the start of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 the new LfS Scotland Story Sharing space has now been launched. You can read stories of transformational learning from members of Learning for Sustainability Scotland and you are invited to upload your own LfS stories to this open-access space. Get in touch at enquiries@lfsscotland.org if you need any advice or assistance with this.

Global Perspectives on the SDGs and Rights 16 March

This course, developed by the Development Education Centres in partnership with colleagues from Nepal and Nigeria, will examine the development of the UNCRC, explore some of the language within Rights and share ways to introduce Rights to learners through the SDGs, highlighting examples of good practice.

Eco-Schools Live Lesson, 21 March

Eco-Schools are offering a live lesson all about Litter & Waste, with special guests from Scottish SPCA and Auchindrain Historic Township. Join with your class or Eco-Committee for a full morning of workshops, and on 25th March for an assembly to celebrate your work.

1.5 Max

The 1.5 Max Summit brought together 11 Scottish schools together with schools from Mozambique, Nepal and Malawi to learn more about the climate emergency. Discover how the voices of young people who had been affected by plastic pollution created the most powerful catalyst for climate action within Bell Baxter High School in Fife.

Rebooting Compassionate Values

This month’s Global Dimension class activity explores the theme of Compassionate Values. The story of The Child and the Starfish is used to frame the impact compassion can have on ourselves, each other, and the world around us.

Climate Action Guide: Thinking Critically, Collaborating Sustainably, Acting Justly

The I-CAN Project is developing the knowledge and skills of teachers to support work in the classroom. Your starting point is to download this practical Climate Action Guide and start to explore what is meant by ‘Thinking critically, collaborating sustainably and acting justly’.

Unfold The Power of Plants: Free, Double-sided Poster from The Open University

The landmark BBC Natural History series ‘Green Planet’, presented by Sir David Attenborough, is an immersive portrayal of an unseen, inter-connected world, full of remarkable new behaviour, emotional stories and surprising heroes in the plant world. Root yourself deeper into the world of plants with this free poster.

Join The Regenerators today!

Whether at home or school, The BBC Bitesize Regenerators aim to inspire children and teenagers to live a greener life and encourage others to protect the planet.

Enjoying the Outdoors – Scottish Outdoor Access Code Resources for schools

Scotland’s mountains, coasts, forests and green spaces are a fantastic resource that can shape people’s lives and it’s vital that everyone knows how to enjoy the outdoors while respecting nature and the interests of others. The key to this is the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Nature Scot created Activity Guides for schools in 2007. The guides include posters and are available for two age ranges: 8-12 and 12-14. These are available as PDF’s from the Nature Scot website.

During 2019-2021 visits to our countryside and greenspaces rose and so did incidences of poor behaviour. Visitors often knew that they had rights of access but were unaware of how their behaviour might impact upon others and how to act responsibly.

Now there is an opportunity to revisit and improve these resources for schools and to reemphasise to a young audience that with their access rights comes responsibility.

Your help would be appreciated in undertaking this task. If you have used (or can review) these packs please let Nature Scot know what they should keep and what was most useful for you.

  • What would you like to see added?
  • What format would be most/more useful for you to use in the classroom?
  • Have you any suggestions for activities you have or would use with a class that could be shared with other teachers?
  • Would you be able to assist in a further review as Nature Scot develop new resources?

Please get in touch directly with Susan.webster@nature.scot.


Personal Reflections of COP26 as a DLO – Gary Johnstone

Captains Regent delivering San Marino’s National Statement

Many months ago I expressed an interest in being involved in supporting COP26. Partly driven by my background as a teacher of geography and modern studies, I have maintained an interest in the environment and geopolitics. But my motivation was of course more fundamental; there are few of us that can’t have been moved and therefore called to action recently as we have witnessed the awful impact of global warming on people and our planet. Added to that, I hoped that COP26 would be a real success and game changer. As a proud Glaswegian, Scot and Brit, I hoped that we would be remembered positively by the thousands who attended. I was very fortunate to be offered the role of Delegation Liaison Officer (DLO) working with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Each DLO was there to prepare for the arrival of world leaders and their delegations. I was assigned the San Marino delegation and it was a pleasure to work with the country’s leaders and ministers. San Marino, for those who might not know, is a small enclave within Italy. It is the oldest republic in the world, dating back to around 300 AD. My life as a DLO was made more interesting as this little nation is unique – it is the only country in the world with two Heads of State (Captains Regent) – a fact that very few people are aware of – and this meant that in any meetings or photo opportunities I had to ensure that this was realised and respected. The Captains Regent (sounds much better in the Italian – Capitani Reggenti) could never be separated and never one treated more important than the other. Whilst San Marino is the oldest country in the world, it has the youngest Head of State (joint), Captain Regent Giacomo Simoncini who at a mere 27 makes other world leaders like Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau look like old men! Captain Regent Francesco Mussoni makes up the other half of the joint Heads of State for the Republic.

Captains Regent Preparing for Glasgow Declaration Family Photo

For a number of weeks prior to the World Leaders’ Summit I was involved in ensuring the logistics of travel, border control, airport greeting, Covid testing, accommodation and security was tailored appropriately for the delegation. The two days of the summit were frenetic. I had the privilege of access to all areas including the VVIP lounge where World Leaders spent their down time. As a DLO I had to facilitate bi-lateral meetings and brush-byes with presidents, prime ministers and ministers all within a time-restricted yet fluid situation. This also meant guiding leaders to the correct location at precise times throughout the two days. A huge moment was the delivery of the National Statement when each country was given three minutes to tell the world about their commitment to change. As they say in the musical Hamilton, I can honestly now say “I was in the room where it happened.”

San Marino was one of the 40 original countries to sign up to the Glasgow Leaders’ declaration on forest and land use. This demonstrates a commitment to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. It is so pleasing to think our city’s name will be associated with this huge initiative.

The role of DLO was challenging in a number of ways for us. Can you imagine the power of persuasion required to convince over 100 World Leaders that it was a good idea to go from the SEC (blue zone) to Kelvingrove Art Gallery for the evening reception by way of an electric bus? Or how to tactfully choreograph the timing and order of such an unusual experience – each of us with the tickets to allow our leaders on the bus!

Captain Regent Francesco Mussoni , President Joe Biden, Captain Regent Giacomo Simoncini and Minister Luca Bercalli relaxing at Kelvinhall

It was for me a real honour to be involved in such an historic event. Who would have thought that an opportunity would present itself allowing one to literally rub shoulders with cardinals, presidents and prime ministers. Fighting with the world’s press was a regular white-knuckle ride and I am afraid at one point I came off the worse for wear under the scrum of photographers chasing down President Macron. The job was physically exhausting (my commute started at 5.47 am in Bishopton station each day and lasted well into the night), exhilarating and rewarding. To my colleagues I would reflect that many of the skills we develop as HMI stood me in good stead for this role. Resilience, diplomacy, managing expectations, receiving huge amounts of information and presenting it accurately and simply, keeping calm and responding positively – they are all in our tool bag. A younger me might be tempted to pursue a career with the FCDO!

In finishing, Her Majesty The Queen urged world leaders to earn a place in history by answering the call of future generations. I hope COP26 galvanises our leaders, yes – but more than just our leaders – businesses and civic society too including our own organisation to re-double our efforts to make COP26 the defining moment it needs to be.




Educate on Climate day, New York Times Climate Hub, 5th November

Mark Irwin reflects on his visit to Educate on Climate day at COP26.

Every Saturday growing up, I would visit my grandparents in their flat in Govan.  I would peer out of their kitchen window, looking across the graving docks and the Clyde to the gothic tower of Glasgow University high on the hill, and ask questions about all that I could see.  Today I look back towards their flat from the train window as I head to the New York Times Climate Hub.  The tented expanse of the COP 26 Blue Zone covers the riverbank from the SEC to the Riverside Museum.  The graving docks are lit up with letters 7m high and 70m long. The text “No New Worlds” faces the leaders and delegates across the river, a reminder to all of the climate  emergency we face.


I pass through the layers of security at the Climate Hub and stand in the foyer to get my bearings.  Instantly I bump into people I’ve been working with these last few months online and it really is a fantastic feeling to finally meet in person.  I listen to a panel discussion from the World Health Organisation on the impact of climate change on health and mortality around the world.  It is a stark message, and one that needs to be heard more.  I bump into more teachers and we head for a table to talk about what we have heard, and what we can do to move Learning for Sustainability forward post COP 26.  Words that feature often are empathy, humanity, empowerment alongside the need to make deeper connections across Scotland and the world.  I listen and reflect on how important it is to listen to those on the frontline, and hope that the delegates in the Blue Zone are doing the same.


It’s a Friday.  It’s the world’s biggest summit on climate change. So of course there is a Fridays for the Future climate march, the global movement started by Greta Thunberg.  It has grown from Greta sitting solo in strike outside the Swedish parliament in 2018 to over 14 million strikers worldwide in 7,500 cities. The Glasgow march leaves from Kelvingrove Park, only 10 minutes from the Hub.  I head over to meet some young people and to chat to them and their parents about the March.  About 30,000 protesters head off towards George Square to hear young climate activists from around the world.  I head back to the Hub feeling exhilarated by these conversations.


I’m back in time to grab a coffee and head in to the Forum for a session on Future Proofing pupils for the Changing world of work.  It’s a lively and fascinating panel, including Chris van de Kuyl of Minecraft fame, and AI researcher Professor Rose Luckin of UCL.  However it is a comment from Professor Dave Reay of Edinburgh University that really strikes a chord with me.  It’s not about making our young people “Future Ready”, its actually supporting them to be “Now Ready”.


Professor Reay’s comment solidified a feeling I’ve had since COP 26 began.  We use the word future all the time when we talk about climate change and its impacts. But does the use of this word give decision makers a get-out to put off the actions urgently needed now?  Hearing from people from across the globe, and in particular young people who are already living with the effects of climate change, it’s clear that delivery of actions needs to happen now.  If it is left to the future, then it is too late.



COP 26 blog – A step out into a new world

STEM Education Officer Mairi Thomson reflects on her visit to COP 26 and its legacy.

Leaving for the launch of the New York Times Climate Hub I was struck by the poignancy of the moment: this would be the first time I had been on a train since the pandemic began. Like many, my ‘working from home’ life had quickly adjusted to the daily commute to the back room. It had been easy, all too easy, to avoid the city these last 18 months, managing to strike a balance of working, dog walking and family but the forgotten jacket on the train quickly transported me to the present reminding me this was different!


The city was strangely quiet. I had expected to see scenes of activism just like the ones that had filled my television in the days before. I don’t think people had wearied – just that the carefully curated road closures had led me a different path. The hum of helicopters, the chatter of languages, the green lanyards and the camera bags told me I had reached the Climate Hub.

Through security and COVID checks, inside was an oasis of calm. A reverence for nature greeted me through the living art installation by ES Devlin.  197 trees and plants temporarily installed to represent the 197 countries who ratified the United Nations Framework on Climate Change.  The art cleverly nudged me to breathe in the importance of this COP and to pause and reflect on not only the enormity of the crisis facing humanity but also the urgency.

Each of the evening’s contributors offered up something unique from their perspective.  The New York Times editor in chief spoke of journalists seeking truth to tell the most urgent climate change stories of our time, how they use drones to go places people can’t and how using local photographers shows both intimacy and fear. Describing Greenland’s ice sheet as Swiss cheese reminded me (in case I had forgotten) that climate change is devastatingly real.  Nicola Sturgeon reflected on the significance of COP being hosted in Glasgow, a city at the forefront of the industrial age, how the science shows us we are running out of time, how we need to reduce emissions and reach net zero but without leaving people and communities behind. Beattie Wolfe performed her song from Green to Red as we were treated to a visual representation of 800000 years of carbon emission using data from NASA.

By all measures the night was a success but what measures are our leaders, our activists or indeed am I using to determine whether this COP has been successful?  Big announcements are one thing but important action happens at a local level.  Dave Reay, expert in Carbon Management. says that the most powerful thing anyone can do in terms of taking climate action is to talk about it. Talk with family, talk with community, talk with peers. Yes! This is something I can do (and those of you who know me know I love to talk!).  So with this in mind I am stepping out into the soon to be new and post-COP world and I am filled with hope and possibility about what we can achieve together.

The Environment : Questions for Learning


Education Scotland has just published a new book entitled

The Environment: Questions for Learning

The book has been 10 years in the making and has been very kindly shared with Education Scotland by Scottish-born author, Karen Currie, who has been living in Brazil for 40 years. The book contains lots of questions and ideas to help make Interdisciplinary Learning connections in learning through Learning for Sustainability.

Karen approached Education Scotland because she has been keeping a watchful eye on the Curriculum for Excellence’s journey from afar and has a longstanding interest in Learning for Sustainability and Scotland’s curriculum.

Please remember to encourage anyone who reads the book to share one idea back…

Help us celebrate Scotland’s contribution to Learning for Sustainability.



Here is a fantastic opportunity to showcase and celebrate Scotland’s contribution to Learning for Sustainability with an international audience.

Learning for Sustainability Scotland (LfSS) is Scotland’s Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) in ESD (Education for Sustainable Development). This is a centre for everyone and anyone involved in ESD-related activity across all educational sectors in Scotland and you can read more about them here.

They are also part of a global network of over 180 similar Centres, recognised by the UN University and in November 2021, they will be hosting the 12th Global RCE Conference. The Conference will be held online from the 16-18th November and all 180 Centres and their networks have been invited to attend.

Be part of the celebrations!

LfSS are delighted that such a prestigious event is coming to Scotland. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase and celebrate some of the fantastic learning that is happening across Scotland to make sustainability part of the everyday for learners of all ages and backgrounds. LfSS would be very grateful, therefore, if you would consider sharing your LfS story as part of this. You have until 1st November to send your contribution to them.

There are two ways you can share your activity:

  1. As a ‘Postcard’:
  • This would consist of a short video clip (5 minutes or less), outlining your activity. Ideally, it would include footage of your work and the people involved in it, and either a voiceover and/or text outlining your activity, its aims and its outcomes/impact. Accompanying music would be especially welcome! LfSS will be selecting two of the postcards submitted to them for showcasing during the Conference itself and all postcards will be uploaded to their online ‘Sharing Space’ for delegates to view at their leisure.
  1. As a contribution for their online ‘Sharing Space’:
  • LfSS will be building an online platform for sharing good practice from across Scotland and from their RCE colleagues worldwide. You can send them content in any format you choose: e.g. video, PDF, graphic/photograph, or as a link to content on your own website.

Please contact the organisers at enquiries@lfsscotland.org if you’d like any additional information. Closing date 1st November.

Report a Glow concern
Cookie policy  Privacy policy

Glow Blogs uses cookies to enhance your experience on our service. By using this service or closing this message you consent to our use of those cookies. Please read our Cookie Policy.