Publication - Strategy/plan

Learning for sustainability: CRWIA

Published: 21 Oct 2019
Directorate:
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Education
ISBN:
9781839602344

The findings of a child rights and wellbeing impact assessment (CRWIA) relating to the implementation of the recommendations of the Vision 2030+ action plan.

Learning for sustainability: CRWIA
Final CRWIA – Web version of Policy CRWIA

Final CRWIA – Web version of Policy CRWIA

Children’s Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment – Learning for Sustainability: Implementation of the Vision 2030+ Action Plan

June 2019

Policy/measure

Learning for Sustainability: Implementation of recommendations found within the [1]Vision 2030+ report.

Summary of policy aims and desired outcomes 

Implementation of recommendations within the Vision 2030+ report will directly affect children and young people who will also be the main beneficiaries. If implemented successfully, an increased prevalence of Learning for Sustainability (LfS) within Scottish education will enable learners to understand and engage with the vital issue of global sustainability; and progress towards developing the four capacities of becoming successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens. Scotland’s children and young people will develop the skills, knowledge and values to live sustainable lives and create an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable world.

This will be a national level action plan, thereby affecting all children and young people within the Scottish education system.

Directorate; Division;

Team

Learning Directorate
Curriculum, Qualifications and Gaelic
Curriculum Development and Parental Engagement Team

Executive Summary

LfS is a cross-curricular approach to learning which encourages learners, practitioners and education establishments to explore the global issues of social, economic and environmental sustainability across Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) in an effort to help build a socially just, sustainable and equitable global society. This area of Curriculum for Excellence has become increasingly pertinent amid global issues such as Brexit negotiations and climate change warnings.

Ensuring that learners develop an appreciation of global sustainability was an original intention of CfE and part of the aim to ensure the curriculum equips learners with a broad range of skills for life, learning and work.

It is proposed that the recommendations of the Vision 2030+ report are taken forward through the development of a new Learning for Sustainability action plan. As implementation of the LfS action plan will directly affect children and young people, a children’s rights and wellbeing impact assessment was carried out. This assessed the likely consequences of the implementation strategy on the relevant articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the relevant Scottish Government child wellbeing indicators.

Our assessment found that the strategy will likely have a positive effect on the following children’s rights and wellbeing indicators:

Rights of the UN Convention

Article 3 – best interests of the child
Article 4 – implementation of the convention
Article 5 – parental guidance and a child’s evolving capacities
Article 12 – respect for the views of the child
Article 29 – goals of education
Article 30 – children from minority or indigenous groups
Article 31 – leisure, play and culture

Scottish Government wellbeing indicators

Healthy
Achieving
Active
Respected
Responsible
Included

Our assessment found that negative consequences for any children’s rights or wellbeing indicators would be unlikely.

Background

LfS has been developed in recent years through the input of the ‘One Planet Schools Working Group’ and ‘Learning for Sustainability National Implementation Group’. The latter group produced the ‘Vision 2030+’ report detailing five strategic objectives and 14 recommendations which were accepted by Scottish Ministers in September 2017.

The Scottish Government has developed an action plan to give effect to the objectives and recommendations of the Vision 2030+ report. The plan, informed by consultation with a number of relevant stakeholders and delivery partners, sets out how the Scottish Government will implement the report’s recommendations over the next 3-5 years.

Implementation of the LfS action plan will be built upon five key objectives (outlined in the Vision 2030+ report), each of which will directly affect children and young people. The aims are:

  • The establishment of a strategic national approach to supporting LfS
  • All learners should have an entitlement to LfS
  • In line with GTCS Professional Standards, every practitioner, school and education leader should demonstrate LfS in their practice
  • Every school should have a ‘whole school’ approach to LfS that is demonstrable, evaluated and supported by leadership at all levels
  • All school buildings, grounds and policies should support LfS

As implementation of the action plan will directly affect all children and young people within the Scottish education system, it was deemed necessary to carry out a children’s rights and wellbeing impact assessment (CRWIA).

Scope of the CRWIA

The CRWIA assessed the likely consequences of the action plan for all those children and young people within Scotland’s education system. Using the Summary statistics for schools in Scotland No. 9: 2018 edition and data provided by the Scottish Funding Council this number is estimated at 867,000.

The articles of the UNCRC relevant to the CRWIA were:

  • Article 3 – best interests of the child
  • Article 4 – implementation of the convention
  • Article 5 – parental guidance and a child’s evolving capacities
  • Article 12 – respect for the views of the child
  • Article 29 – goals of education
  • Article 30 – children from minority or indigenous groups
  • Article 31 – leisure, play and culture

The Scottish Government child wellbeing indicators (Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included) relevant to the CRWIA were:

  • Healthy
  • Achieving
  • Active
  • Respected
  • Responsible
  • Included

Children and young people’s views and experiences

As part of the Learning for Sustainability action plan the Scottish Government will engage with groups of learners in order to produce a communication on why LfS matters to them, helping to ensure that the voice of young people is reflected in this area of education and that education practitioners are encouraged to include LfS within their learning and teaching in ways which suit learners.

Key Findings

To include impact on UNCRC rights and contribution to wellbeing indicators

The effects on the relevant articles of the UNCRC were assessed as follows:

Article 3 (best interests of the child):

The best interests of the child must be a top priority in all decisions and actions that affect children.

The delivery of the Vision 2030+ recommendations will ultimately see young people have more opportunities to develop the skills, knowledge and values to lead sustainable lives. This is a positive outcome and clearly in the best interests of children.

Article 4 (implementation of the convention):

Governments must do all they can to make sure every child can enjoy their rights by creating systems and passing laws that promote and protect children’s rights.

Implementation of the LfS action plan will have a positive effect on children’s rights as this is a key component of LfS. This is illustrated by the Scottish Government’s continued funding of Development Education Centres Scotland, an organisation which offers a professional learning course exploring children’s rights through LfS.

Article 5 (parental guidance and a child’s evolving capacities):

Governments must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents and carers to provide guidance and direction to their child as they grow up, so that they fully enjoy their rights. This must be done in a way that recognises the child’s increasing capacity to make their own choices.

As LfS is an approach to learning which can be embedded across a whole school or education establishment, there is scope for establishments to become more community-focused and in doing so, to more frequently and meaningfully include parents in the life and work of the school. This kind of outcome will have a positive outcome on Article 5.

In addition, the new Learning for Sustainability action plan will commit the Scottish Government to engage with parents and carers in a way which helps to ensure that they understand LfS and are encouraged to extend learning into the home.

Article 12 (respect for the views of the child):

Every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously. This right applies at all times, for example during immigration proceedings, housing decisions or the child’s day-to-day home life.

Interim findings within a literature review commissioned by the Scottish Government and looking at the impact of LfS on educational outcomes, suggest that a focus on citizenship education encourages pupil voice. We can therefore conclude a positive outcome on Article 12.

Article 29 (goals of education):

Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.

Delivery of the Vision 2030+ recommendations through a new LfS action plan will have a positive effect in this area as LfS education supports the development of knowledge, skills and values pertaining to global citizenship and sustainable development. Learners will therefore be encouraged to explore, understand and ultimately respect human rights, their own and other cultures, and the environment.

Evidence collected by the [2]British Council as part of its school attainment research indicates a positive association between participation in British Council programmes (focusing on global citizenship and international education) and higher levels of educational attainment. This includes a correlation between participation and literacy outcomes (including reading, writing and listening) and numeracy. This holds across the broad general education stage as well as in the higher exam stage of secondary school. It was therefore deemed that there would be a positive outcome with regard to this article.

Furthermore the interim findings of a literature review commissioned by the Scottish Government and looking at the educational impact of LfS highlight the role LfS plays in facilitating responsible actions with regard to the natural and social world i.e. children and young people can become responsible citizens with a developed understanding and empathy through the exploration of LfS.

Article 30 (children from minority or indigenous groups):

Every child has the right to learn and use the language, customs and religion of their family, whether or not these are shared by the majority of the people in the country where they live.

By encouraging learners, through LfS, to become global citizens who respect the cultures of others, children and young people from minority or indigenous groups should feel comfortable in expressing themselves by means of their own language, customs and religion.

Evidence suggests that LfS education helps to break down existing barriers and social structures, resulting in both a sense of equality amongst participants and a stronger sense of community.

Article 31 (leisure, play and culture):

Every child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities.

An increased prevalence of LfS education has the potential to support leisure, play and culture in a wide variety of ways. For example, through LfS young people can learn about cultures across the world as well as their own. This will potentially prompt children and young people to better participate in many aspects of cultural and artistic life.

Furthermore, as outdoor learning is a constituent part of LfS there are opportunities for young people to engage in more outdoor play, with a particular focus in early learning and childcare.

The effects on the relevant wellbeing indicators were assessed as follows:

Healthy: the delivery of the Vision 2030+ recommendations through the LfS action plan will increase the prevalence of outdoor learning. The benefits of accessing the outdoors and greenspaces are widely recognised in relation to mental and physical health.

[3]Tillmann et al (2018) conducted a comprehensive literature review of 35 papers, focusing on how accessibility to, exposure to and engagement with nature affects the mental health of children and teenagers. Their results demonstrate that interacting with nature is positively associated with the mental health of children and teenagers.

[4]Thompson Coon et al (2011) conducted a literature review to determine whether physical activity in outdoor natural environments (‘green exercise’) has greater physical and mental health benefits than physical activity indoors. Their study found that exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalisation and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression, and increased energy.

Achieving: the LfS action plan will have a positive effect as there is evidence to suggest that LfS can help to improve attainment. The British Council’s school attainment research (footnote 1) highlights a positive link between participation in its LfS-relevant programmes and increased levels of educational attainment.

Active: implementation of the LfS action plan may help children and young people to develop more active lifestyles as they are encouraged to explore and spend more time outdoors.

Respected and Responsible: LfS will help to develop children and young people as responsible citizens in an increasingly globalised world. Indeed, interim findings of a literature review looking at the impact of LfS on educational outcomes highlight the effectiveness of LfS in encouraging responsible actions which benefit society as a whole.

The Outward Bound Trust’s [5]Social Impact Report 2014 highlighted evidence of lasting change in participants’ attitudes and behaviour towards the environment. A five-day course helped the young people to understand the effects of climate change on the environment, and discover what they could do to live more sustainably.

Included: the implementation of the Vision 2030+ recommendations should have a positive effect on this indicator as LfS includes a focus on global citizenship and specifically encourages the exploration of how individuals interact effectively with those of a different nationality, race, background and/or religion.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The evidence available suggests that the proposed LfS action plan is in the best interests of children and young people in Scotland. There is currently no evidence to suggest that implementation will have an adverse effect on children and young people, and as such no modification of the policy or method of implementation is required.

Monitoring and review

The CRWIA will be reviewed every 3 to 5 years and this review will coincide with a review of the progress of the Learning for Sustainability action plan.

Implementation will be monitored jointly by the Scottish Government and Education Scotland, representatives of which will engage in regular bilateral discussions with delivery partners in relation to the progress of respective actions. In addition, a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor progress towards the action plan’s strategic objectives are being developed. It is intended for the action plan to be a living document, one that will evolve as informed by the progress of the KPIs.

In addition the Scottish Government will convene an LfS policy and stakeholder network that will collectively support the delivery and promotion of LfS across Scotland. Scottish Government and Education Scotland will work with the network to ensure that LfS-relevant advice and support is provided to those in the education sector across Scotland.

CRWIA Declaration

CRWIA required

CRWIA not required

Authorisation

Policy lead

Liam Cahill
Policy Manager
Curriculum, Qualifications and Gaelic Division
Learning Directorate

Date

12 June 2019

Deputy Director or equivalent

Andy Bruce
Deputy Director
Curriculum, Qualifications and Gaelic Division
Learning Directorate

Date

12 June 2019


Contact

Email: heather.tibbetts@gov.scot