Climate change lessons taught in schools as UN accredits teachers

10 September 2019, 20:56 | Updated: 11 September 2019, 04:38

Thousands of lessons on climate change are being taught in UK schools after a tiny company spotted a gap in the market.

Melanie Harwood, co-founder of EduCCate Global, persuaded the United Nations to let her update and repackage some of its training material.

Her company launched it as an online resource five months ago, since then more than 600 teachers have signed up to complete the five free modules that give them UN accreditation as a climate change teacher.

Dr Meryl Batchelder, a science teacher at Corbridge Middle School in Northumberland, and a committed climate change activist with Extinction Rebellion, was one of the first to complete the course.

"Teaching about climate change is hugely important," she said.

"By achieving UN accreditation, my voice has a lot more authority both within the classroom and beyond the school walls."

Dr Batchelder has become an ambassador for the programme, persuading Jamie Discoll, Labour's mayor for the North of Tyne region, to call for every school in his area to sign up.

Melanie Harwood, who said she remortgaged her house to launch the service and is now looking for sponsors to support its growth, believes the programme has gone viral because children and teachers are inspired by climate change protests and the high profile of the Swedish teenage campaigner Greta Thunberg.

"In a year's time we want this resource to be on our phones so every child has access to it," she said.

"We can have millions of little Gretas getting our planet back to the health that it should be."