Position statement: greening the curriculum


There is a growing body of stakeholders speaking out for a greening of the curriculum either in a form that includes an environment based subject or for each and every subject having green issues embedded.

The purpose of a ‘greener curriculum’ is to enable young people to develop a greater appreciation of the environment; to foster a greater understanding of the science and politics of climate change; to learn how to influence and support green initiatives in their community and how to be greener

"It's not good enough that sustainability is restricted to a few subjects and that most of our teachers and lecturers don’t know enough about it. Our education system must teach the truth and prepare us for the future, because we are the future." 

Teach the Future – A youth led campaign sponsored by the NUS

The OCR position

OCR has a responsibility to listen to stakeholders and consider what part we can play in supporting and implementing a greener curriculum. We are committed to investigating the opportunities of supporting a curriculum that helps young people to develop an ethical view of the world: take social responsibility, understand environmental issues and prepare for the green jobs of the future. OCR has also been approached to offer a Natural History GCSE and following discussion with a range of stakeholders and holding a six-week public consultation, receiving thousands of responses, we are approaching the Department for Education with a proposal.

In the current coronavirus pandemic situation, we absolutely understand that individuals, schools and organisations are experiencing, and will be for some time, an extraordinary level of change. Despite the challenges we are, however, proposing to continue working towards offering a GCSE in Natural History. Climate change continues to be a global emergency and during lockdown many people have talked about the natural environment and the changes they have seen. Continuing with this approach will enable us to be able to offer young people the skills and knowledge they need for the future.

What is OCR doing?

We are:

  • Engaging and consulting with a wide range of stakeholders (internal and external) to gather views about how and if to ‘green’ the curriculum.
  • Managing a technical consultation on Natural History GCSE.
  • Engaging and consulting with young people to gather their views on a curriculum that would help them to develop an ethical view of the world, foster social responsibility and an understanding of environmental issues.
  • Expressing our views through opportunities, including national platform appearances.
  • Investigating opportunities to support a curriculum that helps young people to develop an ethical view of the world, fosters social responsibility and an understanding of environmental issues.

This is one of a collection of OCR position statements on themes related to education and assessment. Their purpose is to support consistent and coherent messaging about OCR’s views and to show how OCR is responding to these themes.

October 2020