The government has not only shelved the Building Schools for the Future programme but has now cut a scheme to create 5,000 green work experience placements, according to UK student action group People & Planet.

And the student network – the largest of its kind – believes the government will pull the plug on the previous administration’s Sustainable School Strategy.

Jamie Clarke, People & Planet’s education manager, said: “Abandoning a coordinated approach to creating sustainable schools is akin to abandoning hope that the next generation can tackle the greatest threats to our society.

“It further compounds the impression that the coalition government is saddling the future generation with an environmental debt.

“Schools produce a fifth of all public sector greenhouse emissions, tackling these emissions would not only help climate change it would also save millions in public spending.”

He added: “A truly green government would see sustainable education being at the heart of learning. The coalition government framed itself as the ‘greenest’ government ever but is planning to end support for schools to teach sustainability.

“Schools need to be at the heart of the green society, preparing the next generation for the challenges that face our world and to be at the forefront of the future economy.

“Now is the time to invigorate young people’s understanding of environmental, economic and community needs, not the time to drop it.

“By doing so we can improve students’ achievements and make significant financial savings now and in the future.”

The student group coordinates the Go Green campaign to help schools cut their carbon emissions.

It says there is evidence to show those schools, which implement sustainability systems have raised standards and staff and pupil well being.

It wants the government to ensure there are opportunities and resources for all students to learn about sustainability issues.

David Gibbs

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