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A Natural Understanding Put the natural environment at the heart of citizenship education A toolkit for a ‘whole-school’ approach for teachers at key stages 3 and 4

Devon Wildlife Trust 2007

Protecting Wildlife for the Future

A toolkit to put the environment at the heart of citizenship

Introduction Devon Wildlife Trust, along with many others, believes that to foster environmental citizenship is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Contact with the natural environment and an understanding of our place within it is vital for the upcoming generation if they are to find solutions for the increasing number of environmental problems. We believe that citizenship is the best way to put the environment at the heart of the curriculum.

Early purple orchid

Young people often feel very strongly about environmental issues but find it difficult to think about their own roles and responsibilities. Citizenship education that offers information and guidance is still being inadequately taught in many schools. This document presents several flexible and tested schemes of work that aim to bring the environment to the fore. It will also help towards attaining government targets for ‘Sustainable Schools’. You are welcome to use any of the ideas. Please contact the Community Biodiversity Officer at DWT if you would like additional guidance. See page 8 for details.

‘Fostering environmental citizenship is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century’ (DFES) Page 1

A toolkit to put the environment at the heart of citizenship

Why citizenship? There are four main reasons why citizenship is a natural subject to include environmental care. X

Citizenship discusses the rights and responsibilities of students and their relationship with the world.


The subject is flexible and can include many themes. The outcomes are based on the understanding of issues, rights and responsibilities.


It is cross-curricular and links well with the similar recommendations for teaching sustainability. Thus citizenship can go hand-in-hand with the government’s sustainability agenda for schools.


Common blue

It strongly promotes student action, both within schools and their local communities. Students can inspire changes, however small, within their school and in the local area. This can give them confidence and the ability to work with others.

Citizenship became a statutory requirement at secondary level in 2002. It is a complex subject and is often difficult to ‘fit in’. Frequently, it is taught piecemeal within another subject and using existing staff. These shortcomings present an opportunity to make improvements. Since 2005 Devon Wildlife Trust has been gaining unique experience in environmental citizenship with several schools in Torbay, Devon. This has led to the approach presented here - a new and innovative catalyst for change in school structure and ethos that spreads much wider than just the curriculum.

There is not yet a strong consensus about the aims of citizenship education or how to incorporate it into the curriculum (Ofsted 2006) Page 2

A toolkit to put the environment at the heart of citizenship

Why wildlife? The basis of this new approach to citizenship is to use biodiversity as a tool for two crucial purposes: X

To provide a measure of the effects that local environmental change is having on the natural environment. Biodiversity provides a key test of our attempts at sustainability - if we are losing local habitats and species we cannot claim to be furthering sustainability.


To provide relevant incentives for students to effect change by understanding the links between daily activities and the eventual impacts on wildlife. Students should be aware of the potential impact of leaving a computer switched on with the consequent increase of greenhouse gas. This, and the fortunes of a local dormouse population, for example, can be a more powerful concept than a general understanding of climate change and its effect. ‘Ecological understanding’ is vital for students to care and take action.

Keeled skimmer

The diagram represents principles discussed.

Six-spot burnet on black knapweed

Glow worm

Marsh fritillary

‘Biodiversity is our main indicator for sustainability’ Bee orchid

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A toolkit to put the environment at the heart of citizenship

The missing link Many schools use established methods to encourage students to effect change by, for example, recycling more materials or putting up signs promoting switching off lights and not leaving computers on stand-by. Although these initiatives are worthy, it is often difficult to establish whether they are making a worthwhile difference. There are two main reasons for this: X

The majority of schools do not set effective and realistic targets for environmental performance.


There is usually little attempt to put positive changes within the school into the context of those in the wider world.

We have to reappraise our efforts constantly to protect the global environment in the light of big changes elsewhere in the world.

Citizenship in practice An environmental citizenship curriculum offers great opportunities to help students to prepare for life after school. They will learn to motivate people in the local community and business and to negotiate with them. This is the part that students find most difficult. One example from our work is that of a small group of KS4 students assigned to tackle one of the major waste issues in their school - food packaging. The students did an excellent job of researching environmentally-friendly alternatives to current plastic food packaging. To encourage the change from one type of packaging to another, they needed to obtain samples and prices by contacting manufacturers. Students were very nervous about doing this - as one student said “they won’t listen to us - we’re just kids” An environmental citizenship curriculum will try to change the perceived lack of empowerment. It will give students confidence and the capacity to make a real difference.

The point being that they never made the’phone calls - if they had, the manufacturers would, no doubt, have paid them as much attention as they would anyone else.

“. . . they won’t listen to us - we’re just kids.” Page 4

A toolkit to put the environment at the heart of citizenship

The student voice The approach needs to be inclusive to work, and the whole school community (students, parents, teachers, head teachers and governors) needs to feel a sense of involvement and empowerment. In addition to working directly with citizenship groups Devon Wildlife Trust has found that best results are achieved by a group of students and staff who set targets for sustainability. We call these Sustainable Futures Groups. Sustainable Futures Groups work in a democratic way, a little like school parliaments, involving students who represent each year group. The diagram below shows the ways in which the group links with other school fora.

Small heath

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A toolkit to put the environment at the heart of citizenship

Using the toolkit 1 The following sections form the toolkit that you are free to use in your school. These consist of practical ideas that have been tested in a school environment and can be used as the basis for citizenship lessons. There are three major strands in the citizenship programmes of study: X

knowledge and understanding about becoming informed citizens;


skills of enquiry and communication;


skills of participation and responsible action.

Common spotted orchid

The citizenship curriculum is prescriptive on the basis of learning outcomes and is relatively flexible on the subject matter. The statutory outcomes for key stages 3 and 4 are as follows - the numbering in this and the next section refers to that in the toolkit. This will help you to design into your own syllabus.

Key stage 3

Key stage 4

At the end of the key stage 3 students should:

At the end of key stage 4 students should:


Have a broad knowledge and understanding of the topical events they study; the rights, responsibilities and duties of citizens; the role of the voluntary sector; forms of government; provision of public services; and the criminal and legal systems;


Have a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the topical events they study; the rights, responsibilities and duties of citizens; the role of the voluntary sector; forms of government; the criminal and civil justice, legal and economic systems;


Show how the public gets information and how opinion is formed and expressed, including through the media; and how and why changes take place in society;


Obtain and use different kinds of information, including the media, to form and express an opinion. They evaluate the effectiveness of different ways of bringing about change at different levels of society;


Take part in both school and communitybased activities, demonstrating personal and group responsibility in their attitudes to themselves and to others.


Take part effectively in school and community-based activities, showing willingness and commitment to evaluate such activities critically. They demonstrate personal and group responsibility in their attitudes to themselves and others.

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A toolkit to put the environment at the heart of citizenship

Using the toolkit 2 These are designed to give a more specific framework to the curriculum outlined above. Schools are not required to teach each element but should choose those which most fit the needs of their school and community. The programme of study covers the following areas: U1 What’s it all about? U2 Crime. U3 Human rights. U4 Britain – a diverse society? U5 How the law protects animals – a local to global study. U6 Government, elections and voting. U7 Local democracy. U8 Leisure and sport in the local community. U9 The significance of the media in society. U10 Debating a global issue. U11 Why is it so difficult to keep peace in the world today? U12 Why did women and some men have to struggle for the vote in Britain? U13 How do we deal with conflict? U14 Developing skills of democratic participation. U15 Crime and safety awareness – a whole school multi-agency approach. U16 Celebrating human rights. U17 School linking. U18 Developing your school grounds. U19 Assessing progress and recognising achievement. U20 What’s in the public interest? U21 People and the environment. At KS4 the following topics are considered. U22 Human rights. U23 Crime – young people and car crime. U24 Challenging racism and discrimination. U25 How and why are laws made? U26 How the economy functions. U27 Business and enterprise. U28 Taking part – planning a community event. U29 Producing the news. U30 Consumer rights and responsibilities. U31 Rights and responsibilities in the world of work. U32 Europe – who decides? U33 Global issues, local action.


Each of the schemes of work presented here can contribute to one or more of these themes.

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A toolkit to put the environment at the heart of citizenship

The toolkit The toolkit is laid out in the following sections as schemes of work to fulfil the majority of the elements of citizenship at key stages 3 and 4. Devon Wildlife Trust sees this as an evolving programme, and would welcome feedback and ideas to increase the value of the process. Please contact our Community Biodiversity Officer with your experiences.

Devon Wildlife Trust Cricklepit Mill Commercial Road EXETER Devon EX2 4AB Telephone: 01392 279244 Website: Email: Page 8

Set ting up a ‘Sustainable F ut ur es Gr oup’ (SFG) Setting Fut utur ures Group’ Objectiv es: cchildr hildr en should lear n: Objectives: hildren learn: X

The concept of sustainability and environmental responsibility


Ways of expressing and promoting environmental issues

Citiz enship elements Citizenship 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, U1, U3, U4, U9, U10, U14, U19, U21, U29, U33

Example tteac eac hing activities eaching Students undertake a poster campaign based on the ‘glocal’ concept, producing posters that highlight relevant issues of local sustainability. Students are selected for the group on the basis of depth of their understanding as demonstrated in posters. The group is set up through a day of activities that focus on ‘footsteps’, undertaking facilitated discussion and research to draw up a timeline of past school activities that have contributed to sustainability A brief audit is undertaken to assess the current situation (see examples below) Realistic targets are set through an exercise to envisage how the school might be in a set period of time e.g. three years, ten years.

Scheme of work 1

Lear ning outcomes Learning Students:Three X

are aware of the definition of sustainability.


understand the wider context in which local issues operate.


are able to communicate complicated messages through a simple formats such as posters and timelines.


understand the concepts of target setting and action planning.

Resources WWFs pathways techniques are particularly useful - see:

Points tto o not e note School leadership team should be involved in this process and show a commitment to it. SFG should have clear and sustainable links to other decision-making bodies in the school e.g. school parliament.


Calculating y our ffootpr ootpr int your ootprint Lear ning objectiv es Learning objectives Students should learn: Scheme of work 3 Greening your school grounds X methods of auditing energy use and CO2 emissions. X

methods of assessment of water use.


waste audit techniques.


methods of biodiversity assessment.


the importance of biodiversity as a measure of sustainability.

Citiz enship elements Citizenship 3.3, 4.3, U14, U19, U21, U33

Example tteac eac hing activities eaching Having made a basic assessment of the school’s footprint, students now need to add the detail.

Scheme of work 2

Divide the group into subgroups covering key areas e.g., energy, water, food, waste (note that biodiversity is covered separately below). Each group is set an investigative challenge to find out just how much resource the school is using in each area. Energy consumption figures can easily be converted to CO2 outputs using a simple formula. Each group now investigates how impacts from these types of resource use impact on the natural environment and biodiversity, coming up with examples of species and habitats affected by issues like climate change. This is now related to wildlife in the school grounds through a biodiversity audit. This can focus on a variety of habitats and the species they contain. Plants, invertebrates and birds form a good basis.

Lear ning outcomes Learning Students will: X

learn how resource use affects us and the natural environment on which we depend.


understand the importance of quantitative as well as qualitative measures of sustainability and how to obtain these.

Resour ces Resources Audit techniques can be found at: (energy) Southwest water will visit your school and undertake a water audit - for more information see: DWT can provide information on biodiversity audits.

Points tto o not e note Relevant staff e.g. kitchen or grounds, should be prepared for students to approach them for information. Links to mathematics.


Making y our sc hool gr ounds gr eener your school grounds greener Lear ning objectiv es Learning objectives Students should learn: X

the importance of ecological networks as a way of helping biodiversity to adapt to climate change.


how to involve the local community in school events.

Citiz enship elements Citizenship 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.3, U18, U21, U28, U33

Example tteac eac hing activities eaching Using the information from the biodiversity survey above, students undertake research into the needs of species and design appropriate habitat improvements. These improvements are marked on a map of the school grounds, and opportunities identified for linking existing features through effective ecological corridors to develop a school grounds blueprint. Students develop and promote a number of wildlife gardening days, inviting members of the local community to join in with these events.

Scheme of work 3

For those schools with larger areas, school grounds can become a focus for more exciting activities such as bushcraft, demonstrating how to live in different environments.

Lear ning outcomes Learning Students: X

are familiar with practical land management.


know how to organise and promote a community event.


understand how local conservation action can help solve global problems.

Resour ces Resources A good guide to school grounds development is available at: DWT can supply a variety of other advice on these issues.

Points tto o not e note Links to biology, geography.


War on w ast e wast aste Lear ning objectiv es Learning objectives Students should learn: X

the links between waste and the natural environment.


the role of local authorities in waste management.

Citiz enship elements Citizenship 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, U7, U14, U20, U21, U27, U30, U31, U33

Example tteac eac hing activities eaching Students investigate the links between waste and wildlife e.g., shrews stuck in plastic bottles to turtles with stomachs full of plastic bags. Cleaned waste can be used to make a mural or sculpture of one of the creatures affected by rubbish. This can be kept in a prominent position to highlight the problem. Much of the problem is that of poor use of existing bins. D & T students can be commissioned to design individual recycling points for each classroom. Compost and wormeries can also be made in-house.

Scheme of work 4

Contact with your local authority is vital to ensure that you are recycling all possible waste. Reducing waste through good procurement policies is the number one priority food packaging can be a good place to start. Having demonstrated what’s possible, local businesses can be approached through a leafleting campaign to come and visit the school.

Lear ning outcomes Learning Students: X

understand the complexities of waste management and the importance of waste reduction at source.


their role in helping to improve local business practice.


how to work with local authorities.

Resour ces Resources Many Local authorities have a recycling officer, Devon Community Recycling Network has officers who can visit your school to help. See:

Points tto o not e note Links to art, D & T.


The Big Switch Lear ning objectiv es Learning objectives Students should learn: X

about the links between energy use and global political issues.


how to debate an international issue and present a view on this to others.

Citiz enship elements Citizenship 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, U3, U6, U9, U10, U11, U13, U17, U21, U26, U27

Example tteac eac hing activities eaching Undertake an energy audit to find out how much the school uses, and convert to CO2 output. Use facilitated discussion and research to prepare an energy reduction strategy, using a proforma such as that provided by the Energy Saving Trust (EST). Students undertake research into the links between energy and wildlife, focusing on direct pollution and climate change, as well as the debates surrounding fossil fuel use and world conflicts.

Scheme of work 5

An assembly is presented to the whole school, linking the above issues and launching the Big Switch campaign to reduce energy use (this will often be through simple measures such as closing doors and switching off monitors). Students initiate a programme of change within the school with the help of research of other schools that have successfully reduced energy use.

Lear ning outcomes Learning Students: X

understand the environmental impacts of climate change, especially on wildlife, and the links with their daily activities.


form an opinion on long-term fossil fuel use and links with world conflict.


learn to form a campaign.

Points tto o not e note Links to geography, media studies.

Resources Sustainable Schools initiative now has a fantastic new resource for auditing your school’s carbon - chech out:


Living of offf the land Lear ning objectiv es Learning objectives Students should learn: X

to understand their role as food consumers and the difference they can make through food choices.


the direct links between consumer choice and the welfare of people in other countries.

Example tteac eac hing activities eaching Find out where school kitchen food comes from and identify those products with the most food miles. For these, identify whether there are more local sources, perhaps visiting local farms to investigate food production methods. Work out costs for more local sources and work with kitchen staff to look at changes in buying. Examine the potential for school grounds to act as a location for food production, particularly fruit and vegetable growing. Consider setting up a garden group to manage this. Some schools are even going for livestock!

Scheme of work 6

For more exotic products such as coffee and chocolate, students look into issues of Fairtrade, perhaps linking with another school in a cocoa growing area, and trying to promote more Fairtrade produce within the school.

Lear ning outcomes Learning Students: X

identify, where appropriate, an area of the school grounds for food production.


initiate changes in food purchase policy in the school.


work with students in other countries to find out how their lives are affected by consumer choice in the UK.

Resour ces Resources has lots of information and activities.


Dealing with dr ugs drugs Lear ning objectiv es Learning objectives Students should learn: X

the links between production of illegal drugs and damage to the natural environment.

Citiz enship elements Citizenship 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, U2, U9, U10, U11, U13, U15, U21, U29

Example tteac eac hing activities eaching Students identify the production zones for the major classes of illegal drugs used around the world and match these against biodiversity hotspots - the richest natural environments on earth. Using biodiversity information, the types and variety of species in one of these habitats is described. This is linked to patterns of illegal drugs use in the UK and the predicted loss of species as drug production increases. Students film a news article making links between the drugs trade and global biodiversity loss, with the message that buying drugs damages you and the world’s wildlife.

Scheme of work 7

Lear ning outcomes Learning Students: X

understand that taking drugs is not just personally damaging but also has a much wider negative context.


are aware of global biodiversity hotspots and patterns of extinction.

Resour ces Resources Lots of information at:


Animal rrights, ights, animal wr ongs wrongs Lear ning objectiv es Learning objectives Students should learn: X

that environmental issues are often not clear cut and a personal stance on an issue needs to be well-informed and argued.


methods of forming an argument and presenting this during a debate.


the ways in which decisions are made at a European level.

Citiz enship elements Citizenship 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, U2, U3, U5, U6, U7, U8, U14, U20, U21, U29, U32, U33

Example tteac eac hing activities eaching Students investigate the ecology and legal status (in the UK and Europe) of badgers in Devon, perhaps visiting a centre such as Secret World to see badgers in the wild. An investigation is then undertaken into the control of tuberculosis in cattle and how this is linked to the fate of badgers by political decisions, as well as the ways in which badgers are used as part of rural sports which are now illegal.

Scheme of work 8

Students are divided into pro-culling and anti-culling and form a case for their side of the debate. Anti-culling groups should investigate the legal protection offered to badgers under European legislation and why this is not enforced to prevent culling programmes. Now the whole group undertakes a role-playing debate, filmed by media students, for a public audience invited from the local community. Community members give their own views after the debate in a secret ballot.

Lear ning outcomes Learning Students: X

understand the apparent conflict between badger conservation and the needs of agriculture, and the ways in which this pits different areas of legislation against each other.


develop their own opinion on the science and economics of bovine TB and badgers.

Points tto o not e note Links to biology.


Local en vir onmental issues & decision-making envir vironmental Lear ning objectiv es Learning objectives Students should learn: X

about a local environmental issue.


about stakeholders with a variety of views on the issue.


methods of research.


how local decisions are made through a democratic process.


about the structure and functions of local authorities.


about the workings of the media, especially what makes a story newsworthy.

Citiz enship elements Citizenship 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, U6, U7, U9, U14, U20, U21

Example tteac eac hing activities eaching Choose a local environmental issue such as a road by pass scheme which is contentious and involves local democratic decisions. Investigate the environmental impacts of the scheme, particularly relating to biodiversity, through web-based and other research including interviews with stakeholders. Research the benefits of the scheme to local people and, where relevant, the school.

Scheme of work 9

Find out where and how decisions are made and the national and international contexts in which they are made. Students plan press releases and write media articles on the issue. Carry out a demonstration public enquiry with students representing people on all sides of the argument and involving local decision-makers and the community.

Lear ning outcomes Learning Students: X

are aware of the different interests of members of the community and that these interests may conflict or compete.


understand the wider context in which local policies are made.


know how to undertake an enquiry into an issue, and are aware of different ways of collecting information and evidence.


know how to approach and communicate with the local authority and other members of the community.


draw conclusions from a variety of sources and present these to others.

Resour ces Resources


Your local authority may have publicly available resources, especially relating to planning decisions. The local Community Strategy will have statements on the future of the area that will be relevant.

Points tto o not e note This scheme of work is likely to have links with geography.


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