World's First U.N. Accredited Climate Change Teacher Program Starts In U.K.

Greta Thunberg and her striking students may be grabbing the headlines, but behind the scenes there's a revolution happening in climate change education

Over the past few months, thousands of teachers across the country have been quietly signing up to become the world's first United Nations Accredited Climate Change Teachers. This new breed of teaching professionals will be tasked with taking the U.K. into a global lead in helping youngsters learn about the causes, extent and solutions to the climate issues facing the world today. “The message to teachers is; we need you, we need all of you and we need you now” said Angus Mackay, a Director at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

“Our aim is to have a UN accredited climate change teacher in every school in the U.K. by Christmas next year,” says Melanie Harwood, the founder of the new eduCCate Global initiative, “Not only will it transform the way we talk about the climate emergency in schools, but it will also show what we can achieve when schools, parents and children work together to tackle this global problem.”

As well as teaching basic facts about the emergency, each climate change teacher will act as a school ambassador for action. They will also qualify to gain further accreditation as a Specialist Leader in Education (SLE) or Local Leader of Education (LLE) under the government's national career development program run by the Department of Education and the Derbyshire Teaching Schools Together Trust.

Victoria Jones, Representing Derbyshire Teaching Schools Together (DTST),says, “I am delighted to be working with Harwood Education to be the first ever teaching school group to award Specialist Leader In Education (SLE) and Local Leaders in Education (LLE) in Citizenship with a prime focus of Climate Change Education. Derbyshire will be leading the way by committing to building a strong system leadership in climate change education, to ensure every child receives a world-class environmental education".

In order to qualify as a climate change teacher, applicants have to complete the U.N. climate change certificate program. This will involve passing five modules via an online program:

Children & Climate Change

Cities & Climate Change

Human health & Climate Change

International Legal Regime

Gender, Equality & Environment

So far over 20,000 teachers have signed up, and not just from the U.K. The project is receiving more than 80 applications an hour from across the globe.

“This is an amazing initiative by the United Nations, and one that we know the world is watching with interest,” says Dr Ben King, one of the first teachers to qualify for the new award, “By equipping our youngsters with the information they need to face the future with more confidence, we are demonstrating our national and international commitment to tackle the emergency head on.”

Applications for this first round of the accreditation scheme are open until the end of December 2019, after which the focus will shift to spreading the message internationally and in multiple languages. There are already U.N. certified climate teachers in over 15 countries under this eduCCate scheme, and the eduCCate team expects many more to apply over the coming months.

As the first Accredited Climate Change Headteacher in Derbyshire and 2nd in the UK, experience, in the past, has shown that the best way to support teachers in the classroom is to ensure there is an appropriate management structure in place to get their voices heard. By using the system leadership that is already in place across the country, our trained eduCCate Global Climate Change teachers will not be working alone.

System leaders (SLE's and LLE's) are vital, in the fight to get effective climate change teacher in every school. Without SLE's and LLE's these teachers will be isolated and working in silo. They will need the educate Global Website (to share practice) and system leaders to ensure their voice is heard with other staff, Senior leaders and Governors. This will ensure we build a network of trained staff that can work collaboratively across the Uk and beyond. As we build this strong and effective network of teachers and managers, official bodies will have to start to take notice of the message, coming from the growing army of educators and the young people we are educating.

The project is funded through private/public partnership and the scheme is now actively seeking additional private sponsors to drive the next phase to completion. Interested parties should contact the organisation on


Note For The Editor:

The website for the project can be found at

About Harwood Education (

Harwood Education delivers innovative outstanding education resources, programmes, education technology, training and learning schemes to the entirety of the education sector as well as direct to the home learning sector, both in the UK and International markets. Harwood Education was created by Education Specialists, Melanie Harwood and Denise Meissner, to deliver meaningful and impactful education experiences for the betterment of our world.

About UN:CCLearn (

UN CC:Learn is a partnership of more than 30 multilateral organizations. At the global level, the partnership supports knowledge-sharing and the dissemination of common climate change learning materials. It coordinates training interventions through collaboration of UN agencies and other partners, contributing to a growing critical mass of professionals and individuals with the necessary understanding of the basics of climate change to inform their decisions and take effective action.

At the national level, UN CC:Learn supports countries in addressing learning priorities relevant to their national climate change action plans by developing tailored learning strategies, in collaboration with national education and training institutions. UN CC:Learn is operating in over 20 countries and is hosted by the UN Institute for Training and Research.

For further information about educcateglobal and the UNCCTeacheraAcademy,


or contact:

Melanie Harwood

07595 099 144


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About Harwood Education

Harwood Education has teamed up with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to develop and deliver an innovative Climate Change Education Programme for primary and secondary schools in the UK. This ambitious multi-annual project will seek to develop a comprehensive package of interactive classroom materials on climate change for school teachers and children:

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