Magpie is working with STEM Learning to deliver research to support a new biodiversity initiative launched at COP26 yesterday. The new initiative will recognise pupil’s efforts to protect the environment through a ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ style climate leaders award.

Led by the Department for Education’s new Climate Change and Sustainability Unit, it will also create a virtual National Education Nature Park across the UK.

Magpie is conducting research to establish the potential that this initiative has in schools, colleges and Universities across the UK. We are looking for teachers and education leaders from schools across the UK to take part in focus groups beginning on Monday 15th November.

The total size of the entire education estate (including Early Years, primary, secondary, FE, HE, Special Education, and other organisations) provides a unique opportunity to positively impact biodiversity and connect young people to nature – an asset with potential for building natural capital.

England’s c23,000 schools, covering extensive areas, provides a unique and significant opportunity to build and improve UK biodiversity.

At the same time, the Climate Leaders Award will offer young people practical advice and support for tackling the biodiversity and climate crises. The aim is to enable young people to learn to know, act, and drive change in response to the climate emergency.

The focus groups and interviews will produce a report that will shape the implementation of the initiative. They will cover:

  • Likely demand for the initiative from schools
  • Continuing Professional Development for teachers to enable them to take part
  • Resources (physical and financial) required
  • Support from other organisations required
  • Barriers to taking part, and how they can be overcome
  • Activities most likely to engage students
  • Age groups to target
  • Students learning about nature in and around school

Register your interest here if you would like to take part.

Further information on the initiatives

  • Schools register their school estate collectively as a virtual National Education Park.
  • Baseline biodiversity will be recorded through geospatial analysis and pupil led surveys (providing an opportunity to develop longitudinal evidence of biodiversity net gain and the impacts on pupil health and wellbeing).
  • Through the Park, schools, nurseries, and colleges can identify pieces of land within their own grounds and use them to improve biodiversity. Pupils and students will get active by e.g. growing new trees and plants, setting up bug hotels, improving their understanding of the importance of nature and a balanced ecosystem whilst enhancing their knowledge and skills such as identifying, measuring, mapping and analysing biodiversity data.
  • By taking part, and leading change in their community, schools, pupils and students will earn credits that count towards a new, prestigious Climate Leaders Award. The ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ style award scheme will complement the existing curriculum and connect students to nature throughout their educational career. The award will help learners to develop a sense of responsibility and value for nature, and build on existing eco and environmental initiatives, to inspire the next generation to lead on creating sustainable futures for people and the planet.
  • The concept of the virtual National Education Nature Park will be used as a conduit to support schools, simplifying access to existing and new funds for biodiversity improvements.
  • The Park will provide access to accredited, easily accessible and navigable age-appropriate learning materials, resources, support, advice and signposting to support teachers, pupils and students, housed within a digital hub, including a mechanism to record biodiversity and other sustainability measures.
  • The virtual park will be a dynamic hub and will regularly feature events and themed weeks / activities throughout the year.
  • Teachers will be able to access opportunities for continued professional development to support them and their pupils in this area.
  • The proposal is linked to the revised school design and a comprehensive strategy for green infrastructure across the school estate.

For more information contact