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Examples of CREE research

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David Cameron on campus
David Cameron with Dr Steve Gough
Dr Steve Gough explains his work
David Cameron with Professor Bill Scott
Professor William Scott describes the work of CREE
photos by Nic Delves Broughton, University Photographer

Press Release - 23 March 2007

Conservative leader visits University of Bath research centre

David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, met researchers from the University of Bath today to find out how education can help address environmental and sustainability issues.

He came to the University to meet academics from the Centre for Research in Education and the Environment (CREE) whose work includes projects on how well schools and universities educate people about sustainability issues, to initiatives with schoolchildren where they decide the best ways to improve their local environment.

Mr Cameron spent around 50 minutes on campus, visiting a small display of research in the Department of Education and meeting academics from CREE who described their projects.

Professor William Scott, Director of CREE, said: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to meet David Cameron and discuss the important issue of education and the environment.

“He seems keen to learn from what our research has to offer in terms of how education from pre-school all the way through to university can help shape the sustainability agenda.

“It is clear that if sustainable development is going to happen, it will need to have learning at its heart, not just in schools and universities, important though these are, but across all sectors of society.

“Education can play a vital role in influencing public opinion and galvanising support for action that will help improve the way we treat our environment, and government has an important role to play in enabling and encouraging this.

“Schools and universities need to help people learn, enable them to prepare for future learning, help them make lifestyle decisions now, and prepare them for decision-making in an unknown future.

“To do this, schools and teachers need support from government to address sustainability issues in an educationally sound way. This means more teacher professional development, better partnerships, and more research about what seem to be effective strategies. We are certainly keen to help in all of these.

“Our centre is unique because it is the English-speaking world’s largest and most productive group of researchers whose work focuses on educational issues relating to the environment and sustainability.

“We work closely with schools, NGOs and the professions, and with researchers from around the world, to deepen our understanding of these issues, and promote ways that help education make a real difference to environmental and sustainability issues."

CREE researchers work on projects with schools, DfES, Defra, NGOs such as WWF, the Field Studies Council and the Wildlife Trusts, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the engineering profession, the NHS and its procurement office, and the Higher Education Funding Council.

Examples of CREE research (see related links section for more):

Are we learning our environmental lessons?
A CREE project has been looking at ways of measuring how well schools are educating people about the importance of a sustainable lifestyle.

Dr Alan Reid, who is heading up the project, said: “Under the umbrella of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) we have been assessing the development and value of ‘indicators’ to measure the impact of sustainability teaching and learning on how people live their lives.

“Indicators are a useful evaluative tool for monitoring the impact of education and policy in developing a sustainable society. They summarise complex information and enable people to compare national performances and to benchmark results against other countries, identifying problem areas and pointing to possible solutions.

“It is clear that we are living at a time when there is more educational provision than ever before but environmental, economic and social risks are also growing. This suggests that if the UN Decade is to achieve its goals, we need to look more closely at what can be done in schools, universities and beyond to encourage people to reflect on how their lives and lifestyles affect our collective ability to live sustainably.”

Education needs a “fundamental re-think” to assist sustainable development, says researcher
Most education policymakers are unaware of the scale of change needed if education is to help Britain become a more sustainable society, according to a leading researcher this week.

Improving urban environments: why children’s voices should be heard
The impact of involving children living in urban areas in decisions about their local community can be dramatic, according to new research. Empowering them can have positive effects on the children's academic and social development and contribute to improving school curricula.

'Get children out of school', says educationalist
The national decline in traditional educational fieldtrips is producing a generation completely disconnected with their environment, said educationalist Dr Robert Barratt, who has created the UK’s first programme to qualify training geography teachers in specific field teaching and risk management skills.

Sustainable procurement in the NHS
This project (with CRiSPS) aims to provide both cutting-edge teaching and dissemination of best-practice, and research insights into how organisational learning on sustainable procurement can be developed and embedded within corporate practice.

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