Voice Official Response to to Learning for Sustainability consultation (updated)

Voice response to Scottish Government consultation


30 January 2013

Learning for Sustainability consultation

To: Policy Manager, Learning Directorate, Scottish Government

Thank you for your letter of 11 January 2013 seeking our organisation's views on the recent "Learning for Sustainability" report.

This report, with its emphasis on sustainable education including local and global contexts, citizenship and outdoor learning, is encouraging. We note, however, that responsibility is being placed directly upon teachers before a plan for strategic progress has been produced.

It is in our view essential that stakeholders are consulted upon the manner of implementation of any of the recommendations. It would be a concern should these recommendations be implemented in such a way that the demand on teachers was unrealisable in practice or, indeed, in breach of the terms of the SNCT Handbook. For example, the provisions regarding the working week.
In particular, it is noted from the report that a sustained and coordinated programme of career-long professional learning will be required for practitioners across Scotland.
Given that the revised GTCS Professional Standards will expressly include reference to learning for sustainability in teachers' practice from August 2013, it is in our view essential that the necessary resource is provided for the required career-long professional learning programme. Funding will therefore be required at a local level to provide the training opportunities necessary to ensure that sustainable education in fact becomes embedded in schools.
It would be inequitable for teachers to be held responsible for learning for sustainability should the necessary support, training and materials not be in place in good time before August 2013, to ensure success.
I hope that the above comments are helpful. Please don't hesitate to get in touch should you have any queries regarding the above.

Jennifer Hannah
Senior Professional Officer (Scotland)
Email: jenniferhannah@voicetheunion.org.uk

Further information:

Learning for Sustainability Report (Scottish Government) (Word doc)

Scottish Government's response (March 2013) (Word doc)