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Climate ambassadors

Climate advisors for schools in new education scheme

Published on: 22 April 2022

Professor Hayley Fowler is among the experts to offer crash courses in climate change for teachers.

She is part of a new scheme helping schools, colleges and nurseries transition to net zero, and supporting them in making their buildings resilient to extreme weather.

The Climate Ambassador Scheme, launched today, on Earth Day (Friday 22 April), will provide schools and colleges around the UK with access to leading experts working on climate.

Involving Newcastle University and partners from universities and research institutions around the UK, the scheme is led collaboratively by the University of Reading and STEM Learning. It will support the new Department for Education Sustainability and Climate Change strategy.

The scheme will link experts with local schools and colleges to receive free advice to develop their own climate plans. Climate Ambassadors will help to provide tailored advice and training to schools and colleges.

Examples of activities that Climate Ambassadors might get involved in include teacher training days, fact-checking resources for teachers, advice to school leaders or governors on cutting carbon emissions, or even making practical suggestions on when to schedule sports days to avoid heat stress.

Hayley Fowler is Professor of Climate Change Impacts at Newcastle University’s School of Engineering. She was named as one of top 1,000 influential climate scientists worldwide by Reuters.

The announcement builds on Professor Fowler’s extensive engagement work. She has previously worked with primary school children to produce a show about climate change. The children worked with Newcastle University climate scientists and engineers, singer-songwriter Katie Doherty and Cap-a-Pie theatre company on the show, Climate Change Catastrophe!, which was shown at COP26 in Glasgow.

She said: "It is appropriate that the new Climate Ambassadors scheme has started on Earth Day. I'm delighted to give my time to help educational settings like schools achieve Resilient Net Zero. To halt the climate crisis we must all do as much as we can to reduce our emissions as far as possible but also to increase our resilience to extreme weather events that will get more intense and frequent in a warmer world.

"I've been co-chairing Newcastle's Net Zero Task Force since 2019. I'm happy to put that experience to good use and would encourage all climate scientists and engineers to think about giving a day or two of their time every year to this scheme. People want to be more climate friendly but need our expertise to work out the best ways to reduce emissions."

Professor Andrew Charlton-Perez, the University of Reading climate scientist who has led the scheme’s creation, said: “The Climate Ambassador Scheme goes beyond the occasional class talk or school assembly and, importantly, is about more than just science. We believe that climate change is relevant in every classroom, across all subjects.

“Teachers have told us they would like support from top experts, giving them confidence to help their students learn about climate change with accurate and up-to-date information. Young people have been telling anyone who would listen that they need the skills and knowledge to face their future under a rapidly changing climate.”

Action now for climate education

More than 20 organisations have already committed to participating in the Climate Ambassador Scheme, which will serve early-years, primary, secondary and college levels.

The scheme is the first step in a Climate Education Action Plan launched at COP26 in November 2021 following a major Climate Education Summit hosted in September 2021 by the University of Reading with partners including the Met Office, Royal Meteorological Society, Office for Climate Education, the EAUC - Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education, climate solutions charity Ashden and young people, including climate campaigners.

The UK Government’s new strategy on climate education, also published this week, includes plans for greener schools, delivering coordinated climate change and sustainability teaching, and for the UK to have the ‘world-leading education sector in sustainability and climate change by 2030’.

Beyond just science

The new ambassador scheme will be accessed by schools and colleges, for free, through STEM Learning - the UK's largest provider of education and careers support in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Through the STEM Learning website and local networks anyone who works on any aspect of climate change can sign up to become a climate ambassador and any teachers can request a climate ambassador to work with them.

Professionals who sign up to be a climate ambassador will receive a support pack and will be invited to pledge a small proportion of their working time – one to two days per year – to supporting nurseries, schools and colleges.

Experts, teachers and organisations can sign up, request support or find out more about the Climate Ambassador Scheme by visiting



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