Leeds to host regional hub for climate education

A climate education hub that will help young people across all educational settings turn their sustainability ambitions into action will be hosted by the University of Leeds.

The Climate Ambassador Scheme will provide nurseries, schools, colleges and universities across England with free access to local experts. To support the expansion of the scheme, nine regional hubs across England have been set up so that experts can be matched with education settings in their area.

The hub in Yorkshire and Humber will be hosted by the University of Leeds and led by Professor Amanda Maycock from the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science in the School of Earth and Environment.

In an announcement at the World Education Forum in London, Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan MP, called for 1,000 expert volunteers to join the government’s national climate education programme.

Our staff and students have a real drive to help combat climate change and support climate education.

Professor Jeff Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education

Zoe Gilbank, Regional Hub Manager for Yorkshire and Humber, said: “The Climate Ambassador programme presents new and exciting opportunities for experts across the region to work collaboratively with educational settings, providing tailored support to schools, nurseries and colleges to integrate climate education into their curricula and empowering them to take ownership of their Climate Action Plans. 

“Building a community of Climate Ambassadors, educators and young people committed to a sustainable future will drive impactful change across Yorkshire and Humber and I am excited to collaborate with the other regional hubs across the country to deliver the programme inclusively for all young learners.”

The scheme is a £2 million Department for Education programme, in partnership with the University of Reading and EAUC (the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education), with support from STEM Learning. 

In December 2023, nine host institutions including the University of Leeds, joined the programme to expand the Scheme to all 30,000 education settings across England. Now, this extended programme is aiming for all education settings to have a climate action plan in place by 2025. 

In her speech at the Education World Forum, the Secretary of State for Education said: “I am announcing the extension of the Climate Ambassadors scheme, which provides education settings with access to a network of regional climate ambassadors. 

“The scheme provides local expert support and peer-to-peer learning opportunities, with Ambassadors helping nurseries, schools and colleges turn their climate ambition into meaningful climate action.” 

Experts will make a critical difference in the ability of nurseries, schools and colleges to reduce their carbon emissions, improve biodiversity and young people’s connection with nature, while also helping them adapt to climate risks and provide a world-leading education in sustainability and climate change critical for their future lives. 

Volunteer experts from across the region, including staff and students from the University, are encouraged to sign up to the programme, where training will be provided in order to allow Climate Ambassadors to go into local educational settings to help provide training and support to deliver an effective climate action plan. 

Professor Jeff Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our students and staff to get involved and give back to the local community.

“The University is committed to a sustainable future both locally and globally. Our staff and students have a real drive to help combat climate change and support climate education.”  

Further information

For more information, email Rebecca Hurrey at r.hurrey@leeds.ac.uk in the University of Leeds Press Office. 

The Yorkshire and the Humber Climate Ambassadors Hub can be emailed via climateambassadors_yh@leeds.ac.uk.

Anyone interested in becoming a Climate Ambassador can sign up to the scheme now for free training and support, and to be matched to a local nursery, school or college that needs help building a climate action plan.

Organisations large and small across England, who would like to make the Climate Ambassador scheme part of their corporate volunteering programmes can sign up as partners of the programme. 

The Department for Education has commissioned three initiatives that support education settings on their sustainability journey and embed climate and nature into everyday teaching and learning. 

These complimentary initiatives include information and support for staff through the Sustainability Support for Education online hub (rolling out in June 2024); access to experts to help planning and delivery of climate action plans through the Climate Ambassador programme; and digital tools and resources to empower children and young people to lead the way in decision making and action in their setting as part of their journey through the National Education Nature Park.