Climate change in UK schools – “we are taking it back to the core stuff”

From the Guardian, a hopeful situation for climate realists everywhere.

Climate change should not be included in the national curriculum, the government adviser in charge of overhauling the school syllabus in England has said. Tim Oates, whose wide-ranging review of the curriculum for five- to 16-year-olds will be published later this year, said it should be up to schools to decide whether – and how – to teach climate change, and other topics about the effect scientific processes have on our lives.

In an interview with the Guardian, Oates called for the national curriculum “to get back to the science in science”. “We have believed that we need to keep the national curriculum up to date with topical issues, but oxidation and gravity don’t date,” he said. “We are not taking it back 100 years; we are taking it back to the core stuff.

The curriculum has become narrowly instrumentalist.” His stance marks a turning point in the development of the national curriculum. Oates’ intention is to substantially reduce the national curriculum. Under the previous government, the curriculum expanded to nearly 500 pages. His remarks also show he wants to reverse a shift in emphasis, made under the Labour government, under which teachers were encouraged to place great importance on scientific “issues” and not just scientific knowledge. Climate change has featured in the national curriculum since 1995.

Full story at the Guardian

h/t to WUWT reader Matt

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48 Responses to Climate change in UK schools – “we are taking it back to the core stuff”

  1. banjo says:

    Maybe this is how it finishes,not a triumphal march for the sceptics , nor castigation for the perpetrators of a failing theory.
    Just common sense re-asserting itself .
    I doubt this would have happened had we not been in such fiscal mess.

  2. Edim says:

    The Orwelian speak should be dropped first.

  3. Lance says:

    a start, however, it still allows the subject to be taught, if that teacher has already been ‘indoctrinated’, as they may still feel it is an ‘issue’

  4. P Walker says:

    It’s a step in the right direction . For the record , I’d like to tell Bob Ward et al that I’m fed up with skeptics being compared to creationists .

  5. Ken Hall says:

    I hope that when schools teach climate “science” that they actually teach the importance of the scientific method and they also explain the weakness in the use of models in predictions and projections.

  6. Cam_S says:

    Andrew Weaver says we need to teach students about global warming.

    Victoria global warming expert turns his attention to the future: youth
    http://www.vancouversun.com/life/environment/Victoria+global+warming+expert+turns+attention+future+youth/4934816/story.html

  7. polistra says:

    “Its pages are littered with irrelevant material – mainly high-sounding aims, such as the requirement to ‘challenge injustice’, which are wonderful in politicians’ speeches, but contribute nothing to helping students deepen their stock of knowledge.”

    Challenge injustice???!!!!
    Does that mean you can’t teach inequalities like (x + 4 < 12) in algebra? Or you can only disprove inequalities?

    Highly refreshing to see a FULL depoliticization of math, not just removing the climate junk.

  8. SandyInDerby says:

    This only applies to England & Wales. Scotland has a different education system and will probably keep on with the propaganda. No more will follow in the footsteps of
    John Logie Baird
    Joseph Black (discoverer of CO2)
    David Brewster
    James Dewar
    Alexander Fleming
    Sir William Jardine
    John Napier
    Daniel Rutherford (discovered Nitrogen)
    Robert Angus Smith (Acid Rain)
    Charles Wilson (cloud chamber)
    James ‘Paraffin’ Young
    Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt

    to name a few, for quite a few years anyway.

  9. tallbloke says:

    Good. Pity the kids who got a bellyful over the last 10 years of their education. SOme deprogramming to be done there I think.

  10. About time the indoctrination of children was stopped.

  11. Bad Andrew says:

    “I’m fed up with skeptics being compared to creationists”

    P Walker,

    Me too, although creationists aren’t the worst thing to be compared to. And I can’t wait to stop hearing the “I think Evolution is true, therefore Global Warming is true” version of the same over-presented Warmer Stupidity. Somebody, make it stop, PLEASE.

    Andrew

  12. jazznick says:

    Bob Ward is not going to let the kids go so easily !

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/13/curriculum-climate-change-education

    See his very fast response (as usual). Zere vill be no escapes !

  13. Beesaman says:

    As someone who taught, until a couple of years ago, in primary schools I can tell you that AGW was never really taught. There was too much real science to get through. Besides teachers do not like government agendas, of any political persuasion, being forced upon them in the classroom. So we tend to ignore them.

  14. SSam says:

    Actions speak louder than words.

    I’m not buying the B/S until it’s proven through action. Bureaucrats are bureaucrats and they should never be trusted at their word.

  15. Jack says:

    I still remember being taught that it was a coincidence that the coast of Africa and the coast of South America matched up so well. They didn’t know about plate tectonics and continental drift then. OTOH, they weren’t trying to get the govt to spend trillions of dollars to prevent continental drift either. Perhaps the best we can hope for is for the warmist scientists to be remembered as ‘discredited’. Though personally I would prefer criminal charges, civil penalties and moderate prison terms.

  16. jorgekafkazar says:

    tallbloke says: “Good. Pity the kids who got a bellyful over the last 10 years of their education. SOme deprogramming to be done there I think.”

    Those kids are already teaching these kids. The battle isn’t over, yet.

  17. Hugh Pepper says:

    To NOT include the basic physics underlying climate change, with special emphasis on the carbon cycle, would be ludicrous. To not talk about the fundamentals of ecosystems, the critical importance of biodiversity, the vital relationship between oceans, forests, soils and carbon absorption would be a tragic error. The English are much smarter than this.

  18. JohninLondon says:

    One of my granddaughters is taking a Science exam in London this month – the OCR 21st Century curriculum.

    It is stuffed full of PC views on climate change. Climate change and the evilks of CO2 arise in at least 5 of the 9 modules

  19. LarryD says:

    I’m cynical enough to believe that the teachers will resist, of only because the hard science can’t be fudged in its teaching, and a lot of them don’t know it very well.

  20. Bloke down the pub says:

    ‘Climate change also comes up in the geography curriculum and may be tackled in religious education too.’

    Well at least it sounds like someone knew which department should deal with global warming.

  21. Wil says:

    I’m not convinced. Moreover, what “science” does the minister have in mind? Does this mean that Al Gore “science” in his movie “An Inconvenient Truth” which is presently taught inside Brit classrooms with some sort of weak warning not all was kosher forced on by Brit courts – that NO Brit teacher actually corrected inside the classroom nor made the court’s warnings known to their students. Believe me if anyone remotely understands schools and their sever reluctance to any sort of change down at the school level this minister is sadly mistaken he decides anything that schools actually teach inside the classroom walls.

  22. Jack says:
    June 13, 2011 at 1:35 pm
    I still remember being taught that it was a coincidence that the coast of Africa and the coast of South America matched up so well. They didn’t know about plate tectonics and continental drift then.

    Oh boy, do I remember that. I even cut them out and put them together like a jig-saw puzzle to show the other kids. It was excruciating, in a way, because I was accustomed to respecting and believing authority, but I was also pretty accustomed to believing my own observations. Around that time I also read Journey to the Centre of the Earth and decided that the teacher must be wrong about everything to do with geography. Not sure how the reasoning went, now, but it shows how important it is for teachers (and scientists) to maintain trust; when trust is broken, the mind becomes susceptible to the most ludicrous things.

  23. Jimbo says:

    Are are gaining ground?

    Here is a lovely polar bear survival story for the kids.

    “A polar bear swam continuously for over nine days, covering 687km (426 miles), a new study has revealed.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_9369000/9369317.stm

    What?!! But how did polar bears survive this? It’s worse than we thought. :>(

  24. TimTheToolMan says:

    Why is this even a question?

    Teach the kids radiative theory, convection, facts about latent heat and adiabatic process. Lets them work out for themselves what effect CO2 will have in our atmosphere.

    Being able to think logically about a problem is far more important than learning a bunch of “facts” about it. This isn’t history class.

  25. rbateman says:

    A stitch in time saves 9.
    With the UK regional climate going opposite direction, the last thing the teacher needs is a curriculum that the students can honestly ridicule as being totally preposterous. And they will. Kids are tuned into what’s going on around them, escpecially when they spend so much time outdoors.

  26. Paul Deacon says:

    Hugh Pepper says:
    June 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    To NOT include the basic physics underlying climate change, with special emphasis on the carbon cycle, would be ludicrous. To not talk about the fundamentals of ecosystems, the critical importance of biodiversity, the vital relationship between oceans, forests, soils and carbon absorption would be a tragic error. The English are much smarter than this.
    ***************************************
    Dear Hugh – does that make you a “climate tragic” then?

    All the best.

  27. R. de Haan says:

    yeah, kids in schools are taught our 4WD vehicles are an assault on nature…
    Really? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-13710269

  28. Tom says:

    It’s a ruse guys…

    They’ve cleansed the skeptics and are looking to consolidate post modern science education. Nothing to see here – move along.

    One only has to see what our old mate Bob Ward is saying from his paid PR post in British academia.

    [Bob Ward, policy and communications director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics] said leaving climate change out of the national curriculum might encourage a teacher who was a climate change sceptic to abandon teaching the subject to their pupils. “This would not be in the best interests of pupils. It would be like a creationist teacher not teaching about evolution. Climate change is about science. If you remove the context of scientific concepts, you make it less interesting to children.”

    h/t Dick Puddlecote

    This isn’t over yet by a long chalk, this… ladies and gentlemen is a feint, a misdirection. The indoctrination of of children continues apace and disgustingly, eco activists are targeting the captive audience of junior schools.

  29. Footagus at the restaurant says:

    [I have little tolerance for commentators who label others here with the d-word, so your entire post is snipped. Read the site Policy. ~dbs, mod.]

  30. Crossopter says:

    More accurately, the education system in Scotland (albeit still part of the UK) remains wholly separate from its counterparts in England and Wales and as such, is free to develop its own curricula and direction. The main governmental body responsible for the development of the national schools ‘Curriculum for Excellence’, for ages 3 – 18, Learning and Teaching Scotland, serves to provide educational advice, support and resources to everyone from gov. ministers and local authorities, to school heads, teachers and classroom assistants.

    So, just what key advice and resources does LTS offer up for £25m a year wrt ‘climate change’? A few nugget-like quotes from their website:

    “Our climate is changing. The planet is warming faster than at any time in the last 10,000 years. Global average temperatures have risen by 0.8ºC since the late 19th century, and 0.2ºC per decade over the past 25 years. Man-made greenhouse gas emissions have caused, and continue to cause, most of the observed temperature rise since the mid 20th century. Millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases are produced every day by human activity. These constant emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere continue to drive global warming.”

    “All of the evidence points to the primary cause of this warming being an increase in concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, as a result of human activities since the industrial revolution.”

    “The average global temperature has increased more rapidly in the last 50 years than at any time in the whole of recorded history.”

    “‘The absolutely best case scenario – which in my opinion is unrealistic – with the minimum expected climate change… we end up with an estimate of nine percent [of all species] facing extinction… The midrange estimate is that 24 percent of plants and animals will be committed to extinction by 2050… We’re not talking about the occasional extinction – we’re talking about 1.25 million species. It’s a massive number.’ – Professor Chris D Thomas, ecologist”

    “‘We are upsetting the atmosphere upon which all life depends. In the late 80s when I began to take climate change seriously, we referred to global warming as a ‘slow-motion catastrophe’, one we expected to kick in perhaps generations later. Instead, the signs of change have accelerated alarmingly.’ – David Takayoshi Suzuki, scientist and broadcaster”

    “‘…we face an enormous problem, which is global warming… because the atmosphere is so small and we’re putting so much crap into it… Burn a ton of coal you get 3.7 tons of carbon dioxide… How many people are there in the planet? 6.6 billion… Our planet is lit up like a bloody Christmas tree at night now with so many cities around the world, most of them dependent on fossil fuels, putting all of that pollution up into the atmosphere.’ – Tim Flannery, author of ‘We Are the Weathermakers’, talking to secondary school students in Melbourne, Australia”

    “In recent years every summer has seen less and less Arctic sea ice.”

    “In December 2007, the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to discover and share greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to help understand what we need to do to counteract such change. The award is shared with former US Vice-President Al Gore for his work on climate change and the documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.”

    And under the heading ‘Communicate’ is a list of mult-media ‘resources’ designed to nail that CAGW message to their target audience, featuring such classics as:

    “If you are launching a climate change campaign or planning an event in your school or local community then a multimedia presentation is a powerful tool to get your message across.

    In An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore showed just how effective a multimedia slide show can be. A few carefully selected photographs, key facts and informative graphs can effectively present scientific evidence and help your audience to understand the issues surrounding climate change.”

    … followed by a list of recommended DVD’s including: The 11th Hour (di Caprio), The Age of Stupid, Flood, The Day After Tomorrow, with links to the BBC Climate Change portal and BBC films, not to mention a fair old Booklist, comprising of and described and pasted thusly, amongst others (and again starring good ol’ Al):

    “An Inconvienient Truth: The planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It (by Al Gore)
    An informative and compelling book written by the former Vice-President of the USA, Al Gore. This is a simple and well told account of how the world and its leaders need to wake up to climate change and do something before it is too late.

    Global warming: The Last Chance for Change (by Paul Brown)
    This visually stunning and informative book steps aside from the usual heavily scientific publications in this arena and attempts to get its message across in a simple but hard-hitting way.
    .
    Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning (by George Monibot) [sic]
    This book by one of the world’s leading political and environmental academics discusses how we can halt the effects of climate change by changing the way we live. Monibot attacks those who deny that there is a problem and trys to convince us that we need to do something to save the planet and ultimately ourselves.

    Six degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet (by Mark Lynas)
    Here we are confronted with what our world could be like in the future if climate change is not tackled properly. Lynas creates an all too real world created by a rise in temprature [sic] of just a few degrees and the outcome we are confronted with is one of devastation. Look ahead with this book to 2100 as the effects of global warming ripple across the globe and forever change the face of the world as we know it.

    The Climate Crisis (by David Archer and Stefan Rahmstorf)
    This is a 2010 summary of climate change from two of the world’s experts.

    The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review (by Nicholas Stern)
    Written by the Head of the UK Government Economic Service, and a former Chief Economist of the World Bank, this book focuses on the economics of the climate change problem. This is a good resource for economic students and everyone involved in tackling the problem.

    IPPC Fourth Assessment Report
    The full text, all 2,500 pages in 3 volumes, is available online. The details of any aspect of climate change can be traced in detail. There are summaries for each volume. The Policy Makers Summaries are short but simplified, the Technical Summaries are just that..

    —————————————————————————————–
    And there we have it. A snapshot of just some of the excesses currently sponsored by government and peddled throughout the Scottish school system, masquerading as ‘education’ and all too clearly illustrative of the huge extent to which pro-CAGW indoctrination has been fostered and given free reign. ‘Halt the effects of climate change by altering the way we live’, indeed. Truly, the ‘educators’ need ‘educated’.

    http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/exploringclimatechange/index.asp

  31. Epigenes says:

    I took the trouble of reading some of the Guardian Comment is Free (in my case Comment is Banned) relating to the article and it is a litany of uninformed drivel by self – opinionated people who can only be described as pig – ignorant.

  32. Leon Brozyna says:

    Teaching science in science classes … what a revolutionary concept!

  33. Alexander K says:

    Epigenes, you’re dead right! The National Curriculum for England is highly prescriptive and gives teachers very little room to exercise informed professional judgement and teach accordingly ON ANY TOPIC, not just in science. Teachers in the UK suffer incredible political interfernce from every level of politician, local and national, and OFSTED, the national body that inspects schools State schools, welfare agencies, etc and uphold national standards, rules largely by fear and is frequently judged to be ‘not fit for purpose’ . Oddly enough, ‘Public’ (fee-paying) scholls do not have to use the National Curriculum which is mandatory for State schools.

  34. Mack says:

    Believe you me ,this is where it all starts in NZ schools.
    http://briefingroom.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c51bc53ef0154321c3271970c-popup

  35. Adam Gallon says:

    With the domination of education by those of a left-wing bend, there’ll be little change in what children are taught. What it might signify, is a Government slowly doing a CYA, as over the next few years, the CAGW premise becomes increasingly untenable.
    Anyone then complaining that untruths are being taught to our children, can receive the offical, government response that “We officially stopped prescribing that in schools in 2011, so it’s not our fault”

  36. Roy says:

    @ SandyInDerby

    “This only applies to England & Wales. Scotland has a different education system and will probably keep on with the propaganda. ”

    No it does NOT apply to Wales. Education is a matter for the Welsh Assembly and although I am all in favour of devolution I suspect, like you do in connection with Scotland, that Welsh politicians will want to demonstrate how “enlightened” they are by continuing to have man-made climate change taught in schools.

    A great many of the problems facing us in Britain today are caused by politicians wanting to look good rather than wanting to actually achieve something good.

    Roy

  37. Matt says:

    I think the issue if exactly how the Teachers at the sharp end will interpret this is relevant of course. I for one have come across a minority of teachers that in an adult environment have trouble discussing a topic because they preach rather than discuss due no doubt to their being used to having a captive audience of young people programmed not to answer back.

    But the real laugh for me was Bob Wards concern that the some sceptical teachers may not stick to the script.

    Which as a Brit having seen Gores “Inconvenient Truth” peddled as fact in our schools despite a UK Court citing many “Untruths” is particularly pleasing. Anything that causes Bob Ward concern gets my vote.

    But as a broader canvas – I cannot help but feel a great sense of joy at the fact that, at long last, a government department has made too statements that are music to my ears.

    a) Climate change (Alarmism) is to be taken off the curriculum
    b) There is a move to get back to real science.

    I do find this encouraging – and hope that other posters are correct – is this how the ridiculous alarmism ends? Is AGW alarmism about to be sidelined as a kind of mistake?

    Maybe, maybe not. But it is a start, and someone in politics has had the guts to stick their head over the parapet and say something that would have been impossible a year or two ago.

  38. John Marshall says:

    Unfortunately in the UK the government says one thing and the local authorities do exactly as they want. Same with the ultra left wing teachers. Do not expect real science to be taught with climate.

  39. GeeJam says:

    Re: Jazznick @ 1:28pm. Thanks for the Guardian link.

    Re: Crossopter’s post @ 7:15pm. Excellent.

    Re: Bob Ward’s article in The Gaurdian. For those that read it, he says in his editorial . . . . quote (brackets – mine)

    “Such attempts (the non-teaching of Climate Change) are reminiscent of efforts by religious zealots to prevent children from learning about evolution. The UK government should continue to ensure there are adequate safeguards against parents and teachers who would like to distort the education of schoolchildren about issues, such as evolution and climate change, because of their own beliefs or ideologies.”

    So my wife, who happens to be a headteacher of a large primary school in the ‘England’ area of the UNITED K, is a religious zealot then. Despite existing curriculum recommendations, the whole school does not support or preach any form of AGW ideology – apart from just one ‘warmist’ teacher who’s left to her own green agenda on the issue. So this means all my wife’s other teaching staff are zealots as well. The school’s proud ethos includes a belief in truth and fact – reserving mythical folk zendo fortune-cookie tales about ‘We can change the weather’ to Y1 & 2′s ‘fairy-story’ slot before it’s time to go home. Only last week, for a bit of fun, one Y6 class were trying to capture all the deliberately manufactured man-made CO2 coming out of a 2 litre bottle of Lemonade to see if Armageddon would occur in the classroom. I understand they’re mixing fresh yeast, sugar and tepid milk together next week to see if the deliberately manufactured CO2 gas will cause a sufficient amount of ‘bubbles’ to appear in the bread dough and cause glaciers to melt.

    Guess, I can’t wait for Christopher Booker’s ‘fighting our corner’ response to Bob Ward in this Sunday’s Telegraph. Let battle commence.

  40. GeeJam says:

    Seriously, is it possible to measure the quantity of man-made CO2 produced from making a single large ‘Farmhouse’ loaf of bread, then multiply the answer by the world’s vast production of bread required on a daily basis.?

    Probably not, but it would make a great response to warmists when they insist I should drive a little less to help save the planet.

  41. Alba says:

    “Learning and Teaching Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government, plays a key role in transforming education in Scotland. A non-departmental public body, LTS is at the heart of all major developments in Scotland’s education, moving forward with its partners.” (LTS website)

    LTS provides resources for teachers to use in the classroom. When teachers are under great pressure to provide new courses as well as do all the other things they have to do it is very much easier to take what somebody can give you. And who better than LTS?

    So what would a teacher find about climate change on the LTS website?
    “Our climate is changing. The planet is warming faster than at any time in the last 10,000 years. Global average temperatures have risen by 0.8ºC since the late 19th century, and 0.2ºC per decade over the past 25 years. Man-made greenhouse gas emissions have caused, and continue to cause, most of the observed temperature rise since the mid 20th century. Millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases are produced every day by human activity. These constant emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere continue to drive global warming.” And so on.
    http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/exploringclimatechange/

  42. Mark says:

    P Walker says:

    It’s a step in the right direction . For the record , I’d like to tell Bob Ward et al that I’m fed up with skeptics being compared to creationists .
    Especially when you consider that “warmists” have far more in common with creationists.

  43. Alexander K says:

    Mack, I have been away from NZ for the best part of a decade so I freely admit that am probably a little out of touch, but the link you provided to a ‘science; worksheet shocked me. I would be interested to know the source of this piece of drivel, please, so I can follow it up and ask former teaching colleagues in NZ about the state of science teaching there. I realise there is a very vocal, shrill and fairly stupid catastrophist element in NZ and hope it hasn’t infected Kiwi education too badly. Thanks for the info in advance.

  44. C.A, says:

    Just another point in favor of homeschooling and private education.

  45. Richard S Courtney says:

    Friends:

    It seems that people have missed the important point which is that ‘Climate Change’ has been withdrawn from the UK’s school curriculum. This signals withdrawal from the AGW scare by the UK government.

    ‘Acid rain’ was once taught in UK schools. And ‘acid rain’ was UK government policy that was never publicly revoked but is now forgotten. UK schools indoctrinated children with it as they now indoctrinate them with AGW.

    UK teachers tend to be environmentalist so ‘believe’ in ‘acid rain’, ‘AGW’ or whatever is the latest environmental scare. They will continue to indoctrinate children in AGW but they now do not have to because it is no longer in the curriculum.

    But the teachers have to teach the curriculum and they are assessed on how well their students learn the curriculum. Competition for good SATS results forces teachers to drop activities which do not directly affect SATS results: hence, music and RE are now almost absent from teaching in UK schools.

    AGW indoctrination of children in UK schools will now slowly stop for the same reason – and in the same way – that indoctrination of children about ‘acid rain’ has stopped in UK schools.

    The UK government knows this, so I consider the matter to be an important ‘about face’ by the government.

    Richard

  46. Just a general conversation with young kids, about (so called) Climate Change, will reveal that they are being fed much disinformation – be it via the media, the school curriculum or even from their parents and close relatives.
    It seemed to me that much of the ‘knowlege’ espoused from these children’s mouths was very biased towards the THEORY of Carbon Based Man Made Climate Change (CAGW). Please remember a theory is still unproven.

    My Husband remembers that in 1943 – while in the 4th grade at school, in his weekly reader, it taught that within ten years America would have used up all of its oil reserves…. never happened yet the kids were fed that information!

    Reading my news online I came across the following, which I believe backs up what I was thinking/experiencing. Get the children young enough, teach them what you want them to know and believe, therefore indoctrinating them, and you have the whole future society doing your bidding (perhaps?). For complete story follow the link

    http://justmeint.wordpress.com:80/2011/06/29/are-we-polluting-our-childrens-minds/

  47. I used this book during the first week of school with my sixth grade World Geopgraphy class. The stories gave my students a great peek at the lives of children around the world and led them to compare how school and life are the same (and different) for children everywhere.

    I think the book would be appropriate for children throughout the elementary and intermediate years.

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