The UK’s newest GCSE course dedicated to sustainability and the environment is the perfect place to educate the farmers of tomorrow, according to the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).
GCSE Natural History was announced by Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi earlier this week, and forms part of the Department for Education’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy. The course will be introduced in September 2025.
It aims to educate secondary school students on topics like biodiversity, climate resilience and the environment and will be underpinned by Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) methodologies.
Given the nature of the GCSE Natural History course, CLA President Mark Tufnell has written to the Education Secretary urging him to include land management and food production as topics within the syllabus.
“We hope that, in designing the course, the Department for Education will consider giving students an understanding of the UK’s world class food production standards,” said Tufnell.
“British landowners and farmers are among the most progressive stewards of the natural environment found anywhere in the world.”
Tufnell himself is a conservation farmer, an agricultural approach which focuses on taking care of the land.
This is done through practices like protecting soil from erosion and degradation, improving biodiversity and the preserving other natural resourcing like water, while still optimising yields.
Tufnell said any contribution to the GCSE Natural History course dealing with food should come from “land managers with appropriate expertise” – and added that the CLA would welcome the opportunity to be involved in the planning.
Currently, secondary school age children learn about the environment through Science and Geography. Having a dedicated GCSE for Natural History will help “encourage the passion” young people have for the planet, according to Zahawi.
Launching the course, he said: “The new natural history GCSE will offer young people a chance to develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of this amazing planet, its environment and how we can come together to conserve it.”
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