The North East could soon be the home of the next generation of climate activists – thanks to a £44,000 cash boost from the North of Tyne Combined Authority, headed by elected Metro Mayor, Jamie Driscoll.
The money will be used for developing a creative and wide-ranging educational programme through which to teach schoolchildren – from 12 local primary schools in the North of Tyne region – all about climate change.
The course has been created not just to passively inform children about the climate crisis but to actively engage them as ‘citizen scientists’, empowering them to help solve the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.
Inspired by David Attenborough’s popular programmes, the comprehensive curriculum covers everything from introducing young people to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to educating them about the impact of human activities on biodiversity.
Hands-on involvement is central to the scheme, which will give participants the chance to become amateur scientists and journalists – conducting experiments, collecting data about pollution, weather, and microplastics, and creating compelling news reports.
Schoolchildren enrolled on the course will be able to visit Tynemouth Aquarium’s on-site Sea Hospital, to learn first-hand about how climate change is affecting animals in our oceans.
Project managers are also working with a leading software developer to design a computer game to better children’s knowledge of the environmental crisis – and boost their digital skills.
Year six pupil at Gosforth Middle School Charlie Davis, aged 11, said: “We can all do more. I think we should have compostable bins separately to other bins so we can reuse our waste food, instead of putting it into landfill.”
Matilda Armstrong, aged 11, of Benton Park Primary School said: “It’s important we reuse and recycle, especially plastics which if we don’t can harm marine life.”
Elected Metro Mayor for the North of Tyne, Jamie Driscoll, said: “The Climate Crisis is here. Now. And while my generation urgently needs to act to avoid catastrophe, I’m sorry to say that it’s young people who’ll be forced to foot more of the bill, in terms of its costs and impact.
“Thanks to our funding and our partners at Newcastle University, this programme will provide hundreds of local school children with the knowledge, skills, drive – and a bit of fun – they need to help combat the environmental emergency.”
Are you a teacher? Keen to find out more or get your school involved? Please email email@example.com for more information.