Government announces £15 million in funding to help young people connect with nature
The additional funding will be used to improve outside learning facilities and the biodiversity in the surrounding areas
To mark outdoor classroom day (18 May), the Department for Education announces 15 million in funding will be going to facilitate outside learning, to help young people in deprived and nature-depleted areas learn outside.
Schools, colleges and nurseries ranked lowest in Natural England’s measure of local access to natural space and those that are situated in areas with high levels of deprivation will be eligible for the grant.
Minister for the School System, Baroness Barran says: “It’s so important that we give young people the opportunity to get outside to learn about the natural world and the importance protecting our precious biodiversity.
“This funding will give schools, colleges and nurseries the resources they need to create thriving green spaces, halt the decline of nature and improve access to outside learning.”
The funding will enable learning facilities to improve their surrounding biodiversity, encouraging potential new species of wildlife to re-enter the area and for young people to connect and take inspiration from nature.
Engaging with nature has proven mental and physical health benefits imperative to growing minds, while schools in nature deprived areas face curriculum and facility limitations, a critical disservice to students.
Alongside this funding, a new online ‘National Education Nature Park’ will be launched, allowing students the ability to learn from other facilities who are taking the steps to improve their biodiversity.
The initiative is being delivered in partnership with the Natural History Museum and the Royal Horticultural Society and will create a network fuelled by nature, allowing students to document and upload the steps they have taken to improve the natural environment in their surrounding areas and take pride in their green spaces.
Clare Matterson CBE, director general of the Royal Horticultural Society, says: “From creating pollinator-friendly habitats, digging ponds, identifying wildlife or planning planting schemes, nurseries, schools and colleges will be able to play a driving role in mapping, monitoring and enhancing biodiversity on their doorstep.
“Children and young people will have a chance to create and grow a garden that works for wildlife, to learn new skills and understand impacts of climate change – all of which offers a gateway to a lifelong interest in nature, biodiversity and sustainability.”
As part of the programme, the Natural History Museum will create curriculum resources and lesson plans for each key stage to support education about climate change and biodiversity.
Through this project students will be able to develop valuable skills in bioscience, natural history, data analytics and digital skills.
This funding could also play a critical role in increasing biodiversity across the education estate and have a substantial impact on halting the decline of nature in England.
To find out more about the project and eligibility requirements visit the GOV.UK website.