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In 2022, the SCQF Partnership was asked by the Scottish Government to administer a small amount of funding for learning programme providers to bid into to support the work they are doing in the area of Learning for Sustainability.

The aim was to increase the understanding and participation of young people in this area and build skills for future green jobs.

This follows on from a report we developed for Scottish Government in 2021 which identified some of the barriers faced by providers to having programmes in this area credit rated on to the SCQF.

Successful bids

Eight of the bids submitted were successful and we are delighted to report that the Biodiversity Action programme created by Keep Scotland Beautiful is now on the SCQF at level 4 with 1 credit point. 

Keep Scotland Beautiful is a charity that inspires environmental action and whose vision is for a clean, green, sustainable Scotland. The organisation works across Scotland to help combat climate change, reduce litter and waste, restore nature and biodiversity and improve places.  

It strives to inspire changes in behaviour to improve our environment, the quality of people’s lives, their wellbeing and the places that they care for. 

The Biodiversity Action programme supports Scotland’s Net Zero ambitions and aims to develop understanding of biodiversity and local and global threats, encouraging action to prevent biodiversity loss.

Biodiversity crisis

The learning offered by the Biodiversity Action course is both urgent and relevant in the context of the current biodiversity crisis. It is becoming increasingly vital to support learning in this area given the twinned nature and climate crises.

Aimed at secondary school pupils, this SCQF level 4 course will support young people to develop their knowledge of key biodiversity concepts on how the natural world works and how we are dependent on its healthy functioning. It will build awareness of what positive action they might take to address the causes of biodiversity loss and skills to plan action for a nature positive future.

In developing an action plan to target causes of biodiversity loss, learners will develop skills that will help them construct social, systemic, and physical changes to create a nature positive legacy for the school, the community and themselves.

What's involved

The course includes a notional 12.5 hours of learning, activities, and assessment. Successful candidates will achieve 1 credit at SCQF level 4.

Students will develop:

  • awareness and understanding of the causes and consequences of biodiversity loss.
  • a personal connection to the natural world. 
  • motivation to take action to address biodiversity loss through changed behaviours, systems and physical spaces.

This course is particularly relevant to staff with responsibility for learning for sustainability, outdoor learning, and green careers. It is deliverable over one term through a minimum of 12.5 hours.

Material is primarily delivered by the class teacher, with optional support from a Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB) trainer. Summative student work is shared with the KSB trainer electronically, who will mark it and provide feedback for the students.

Nicola Smith, SCQF Partnership Lead for Projects and Employer Support, said:

It is great to see an increasing number and range of courses for young people on the SCQF which have a Learning for Sustainability focus. This will provide teachers and youth leaders with the tools they need to build a growing understanding of, and interest in, Learning for Sustainability topics amongst our young people, building the skills and understanding needed in our future workforce to face the significant challenges ahead.

Eve Keepax, Senior Officer, Education and Learning at Keep Scotland Beautiful, added:

We’re excited to add this Biodiversity Action course to the Keep Scotland Beautiful Climate Action Schools programme. Both the biodiversity and climate change crises are intertwined and cannot be resolved in isolation. We tend to take action on things we care about so the course offers young people an opportunity to develop their own connection to the natural world alongside their academic learning. It also provides a framework to support students to develop their ideas on what they want to change, and different ways to achieve it. Beyond the immediate benefit to schools and candidates of a relevant qualification, I am looking forward to seeing biodiversity action projects emerging across Scotland, led by students energised by the course in a spirit of discovery, wonder and agency.

Later in the year we will focus on each of the projects in more detail and catch up with those involved to hear about progress and the results of the credit rating activity, meaning that relevant programmes will be listed in the SCQF database at https://scqf.org.uk/about-the-framework/scqf-database/.

For more information on the Learning for Sustainability projects, contact Nicola Smith.

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