Commitment to sustainable learning

Educating pupils on being responsible citizens of the world.

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.

The action plan provides teachers and pupils with more tools to increase awareness of sustainability.

The work feeds into the Scottish Government’s aims to cut carbon emissions to net-zero by 2045 and promote fair-trade policies.

Teachers are being encouraged to take advantage of training opportunities to deliver a sustainable curriculum, backed by £650,000 of Scottish Government grant funding.

The Scottish Government is working with local authorities to increase the amount of green space in school grounds for practical outdoor learning.

Growing food is covered in science and geography, fair trade part of social subjects and global economics as part of the social studies and mathematic syllabus.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“One of the core aims of Curriculum for Excellence is that Scotland’s young people become responsible citizens operating on a global stage. This action plan goes further, placing sustainable learning at the heart of Curriculum for Excellence and empowers teachers and schools with a suite of tools and training to drive sustainable goals.

“By striving for all our learners to receive sustainable learning as part of the curriculum, Scotland is leading the way towards a better world for all.”

Toby Clark, John Muir Award Scotland Manager, said:

“Teaching staff tell us young people respond really well to environmental issues. Whether it’s palm oil, plastics, or the planet’s climate, it is young people who are often leading discussions and deciding social action.

“Last year 17,500 John Muir Awards were achieved across 500 schools in Scotland, and we welcome this work to increase the prominence of sustainability in the curriculum.”

Kate Samuel, Teacher of Biology and Science, Hyndland Secondary School, whose S1 learners have received John Muir Awards for their work conserving wild spaces, said:

“Learning for Sustainability provides the tools to help us choose positive pathways in securing our future and the future of generations to come.”


Learning for Sustainability is cross-curricular theme embedded within Curriculum for Excellence and provides a way by which learners can:

  • understand and engage with the vital issue of global sustainability
  • and develop the four capacities of becoming successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens

The Learning for Sustainibility - Vision 2030+ Action Plan provides a framework to increase the amount of learning time spent on sustainable skills.

Vision 2030+ is the final report of the Learning for Sustainability Implementation Group, which provided recommendations to Scottish Ministers on how Learning for Sustainability could be best promoted within Scottish education. This action plan gives effect to those recommendations.

Schools can access guidance and practice examples via Education Scotland’s Improvement Hub.



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