LAST month saw an estimated 15,000 young people take to the streets to demand action on climate change.

But the sustainability and environmental issues that so clearly motivate these young protesters are not sufficiently reflected in the curriculum they are taught at school, according to one Headteacher.

He has responded by writing a Teachers’ Guide, which he hopes will help schools develop curricula inspired by nature. This, he says, will better equip students to take on the environmental challenges threatening their future wellbeing – and the wellbeing of all life on Earth.


Children at Ashley C of E Primary School explore the geometry of flowers. image: Richard Dunne

“If there’s one thing the Youth Strike 4 Climate protesters have taught us, it’s that there is a growing and vocal group of young people who care deeply about the future of our planet,” says Richard Dunne, Headteacher of Ashley C of E Primary School in Walton on Thames.

“It’s time for educators and policy makers to hear the clear message from these young people and to develop for them an education that prepares them to engage with – and take the lead on – the sustainability and environmental challenges we all face.”

Harmony: A New Way of Looking at and Learning About Our World (A Teachers’ Guide) sets out in detail what a curriculum inspired by nature could look like. Published by The Harmony Project, it is a curriculum that Richard Dunne has developed and rolled- out, alongside staff at the Surrey school, over the last five years. Now others are following suit.

The publication of the book comes at a critical point for school leaders. In September 2019, Ofsted’s new framework for inspection, which places greater emphasis on the design and delivery of the curriculum taught in schools, comes into force.

Richard added: “The new focus on intent, implementation and impact in the draft framework requires schools to consider in more detail not just what they teach, but how and why they teach it. Schools have a fantastic opportunity to create purposeful, contextualised and environmentally-aware curricula that are adapted to their students and to their geographical settings.”