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UK’s youngest MP presents Climate Education Bill to Parliament

On Tuesday 23 November, the UK’s youngest serving Member of Parliament, Labour’s Nadia Whittome, presented the Climate Education Bill to the House of Commons for its first reading. The bill was composed along with the help and inspiration of the Teach the Future campaign – a school based, student-led group calling for climate change education to be made a compulsory part of the national curriculum, as well as being included in vocational training. Ms. Whittome has been involved in the campaign since its conception in 2019 and successfully spearheaded the bill’s presence in the Commons ahead of the COP26 conference hosted in Glasgow last month when she led the first-ever climate education debate in Parliament, attended by colleagues from across the Westminster political divide.

The official sponsorship needed for the bill to proceed to its second official stage in the legislative process (the ‘Second reading’) was provided, again, on a cross-party basis. Including from Chair of the Education Select Committee, Conservative MP, Robert Halfon, ex-Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, Green MP Caroline Lucas, SNP MP Mhairi Black, and several other Labour MPs including Yvette Cooper, Norwich South’s own Clive Lewis, Darren Jones, Zarah Sultana and Rebecca Long-Bailey.

The 25-year-old Nottingham East MP stated during the debate, “Climate change is among the biggest challenges our society faces and will profoundly impact our lives in the years to come…Right now, our education system is not adequately preparing young people for their futures. This bill would mean that climate change is given the emphasis right across the curriculum that it deserves”. In an official TTF press release succeeding the bill reading, seventeen-year-old Campaign Coordinator, Scarlett Westbrook added “We need to ensure climate education is no longer exclusive to those who take optional subjects or briefly glazed over, but instead centred in all subjects as we will all be impacted by this crisis…This bill would give students the education they need to adequately thrive as adults, and the education that we deserve’’.The bill’s second reading is due to take place on Tuesday 23 January 2022. When Ms. Whittome and her colleagues will hope to build on the momentum and support gained for the bill over recent weeks in a bid to turn their pioneering proposals into a reality in the form of official legislation and national education policy.


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07/12/2021

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Jamie Bryson



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