Forum network and hustings
The GM ESD forum saw a gathering of sustainability educators come together to ask questions of a panel which included Jess Mayo Parliamentary candidate for the Greens, Rob Manning Parliamentary candidate for the Conservatives and Labour Cllr Emily Rowles from Manchester City Council.
When invited to share their views on the agenda Rob Manning stressed the need for innovation and held a firm believe that the current government had done much to support sustainability education. During the discussion the audience were keen to point out that the theme of 'Environmental Stewardship' as one of the key curriculum drivers had been rejected in the re-writing of the curriculum and the general feeling was one of disagreement with this point of view.
As a local councillor Labour's spokesperson Emily Rowles focused on integrating the school experience of sustainability with what was happening in the local community and saw opportunity to bring this agenda more alive through locally driven support, particularly given the devolution occuring in Greater Manchester.
Jess Mayo, spokesperson for the Greens, described a commitment to a holistic educational system which instead of placing the emphasis on hitting targets built up systems to develop and share good practice between schools, with sustainability as a core principle.
Perhaps the overall messages from the floor to the panelists were the need for education to have a balance between the academic and the practical, that a cross party agreement on education policy might be beneficial to stop the constant changes in the curriculum and that sustainability education needs to be an integral part of the curriculum.
Let's hope that the conversation prompts our panelists to become more pro-active in their parties to ensure these messages are conveyed to those creating policy.
Thanks to everyone for coming along and making it a great session.