‘Ignorance is only bliss to the privileged’: Manchester’s COP26 rally and the PGCE GREEN Conference, 7th January 2022

by | 23 Nov 2021 | Bus Ed, CPD, Diversity, English, Geography, History, Maths, Mentors, ML, PGCE Updates, Science | 0 comments

This post is a call to trainees, teachers and school leaders to build momentum towards action for climate and environmental justice in the curriculum and in schools and colleges in the UoM Secondary PGCE Partnership. It describes the Manchester COP26 rally and march on Saturday 6th November, which was very energising, and follows a week at COP26 when actions were meant to start speaking more loudly than words.

Aoife Doyle (Maths trainee and climate ambassador) writes:

The COP26 march in Manchester was the first protest I have attended and was a fantastic experience. It was made more impactful that there were similar marches happening all over the world, with the biggest happening in Glasgow.

There were speakers talking about what climate change means to them and the action that is needed from governments. The most memorable speaker was a 17-year-old girl who reminded me of Greta Thunberg, it was impressive to see someone so young speaking about something she was so passionate about. As a trainee teacher it is hopeful seeing such young people taking an interest in climate change and making such an impact in her community.

There was such a wide range of people participating in the march which emphasises the fact it should be concern for all of us, not just one generation. The creativity of people’s posters, the wide variety of speakers and the samba band that led the march around the city all made the day a unforgettable one.

Enquiry posters from last year’s pupil voice assignments

Climate and environmental justice runs as a theme throughout the PGCE. The final masters’ assignment of the year is about listening to pupils. In May 2021 some trainees found that young people were very keen to talk about climate change, as represented in these posters:

Choosing climate and environmental justice as a focus for the pupil voice assignment is one way in which trainees can extend their knowledge and preparedness to address the issue in classrooms and schools as ECTs.

The PGCE GREEN conference is another such opportunity. The PGCE GREEN conference is happening again on Fri 7th January and we’d like trainees responding to the climate crisis to take a lead. We are looking for trainees, alumni, and mentors to be actively involved in planning this conference – not only from Science, Maths and Geography, but from History, Economics and Business Education, English and Modern Languages. This will not require a large commitment in time, but a readiness to consider and facilitate the sharing of lesson materials and school experiences. Our intention is to build on what trainees and alumni have already done, and set a course for collaborative actions leading into summer 2022 and beyond. Contact andrew.j.howes@manchester.ac.uk, or sian.morgan@manchester.ac.uk if you are interested in contributing in any way.

Andy Howes, Science tutor and Programme Director, PGCE Secondary