A call to action to teach children about climate change was made by Mayor of North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) Jamie Driscoll, who spoke to head teachers in the area at an event in Newcastle.

In July this year the Mayor pledged that we would have a UN accredited climate change teacher in every school in the North of Tyne area. The pledge, which was agreed by the North of Tyne Cabinet, is being funded by EduCCate Global UN Teacher Academy. The pledge is a world first and meets a key UN target for sustainable development and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Over 40 delegates from schools in Newcastle attended the event at Newcastle’s Grand Hotel, Gosforth Park. Events in Northumberland and North Tyneside will take place before the end of the year.

Mayor Driscoll said: “There’s children everywhere who know about climate change, they’re interested and rightly worried about it because it affects their planet and their futures. It’s really important that they get the right information and this course is fully accredited by the United Nations and will make sure children know what they need to know. By aiming to have a climate change teacher in every school across the North of Tyne we will show we are world leaders on this while providing a better education for our region’s children.”

Founder of the new eduCCate Global initiative, Melanie Harwood, said: “Our aim is to have an accredited climate change teacher in every school in the UK by Christmas this year. Not only will it transform the way we talk about the climate emergency in schools, but it will also show what we can achieve when schools, parents and children work together to tackle this global problem.” 

Dr Meryl Batchelder, who teaches at Corbridge Middle School, was the first UN accredited climate change teacher in the North. She told delegates: “I started doing the course, got my certificates and became a UN-accredited climate change teacher. This is really important for our schools as environmental education is often missed out of the curriculum, many schools don’t really teach enough about it to give children an understanding about climate change. By doing the course and having the understanding of what’s going on with our planet, it gives teachers the authority and the confidence to teach children about the causes, effects, mitigation strategies and adaptation required for the projected 2oC rise in global temperatures by 2050.”