MPs call for Natural History GCSE to be rolled out from September 2024

The environmental audit committee has today called for a GCSE on Natural History to be launched next year, and in place for students from September 2024.

The committee’s recommendation, featured in its recent reports on Biodiversity in the UK: Bloom or Bust? and Green Jobs, stressed the need to embed sustainability in the National Curriculum. The Government has failed to address these recommendations satisfactorily and has not provided an update on plans for a Natural History GCSE to be rolled out to schools. The committee nevertheless understands that initial discussions between the Department for Education and exam board OCR on the creation of a Natural History GCSE have taken place.

The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, and the committee has recommended that the importance of nature be taught in schools. The committee has also stressed that urgent action must be taken to teach the skills needed for a future green workforce – ranging from nature and conservation, to engineers installing low carbon heating systems.

Committee Chairman, Philip Dunne MP, said: “We are a nation of wildlife enthusiasts, yet young people are not being taught routinely why nature is so critically important to our environment. We must encourage respect and appreciation of our natural world, and promote future careers in environmental sustainability and nature.

“We are facing an extinction crisis and a green jobs shortage. We must turn the dial and embed practical education courses that can protect and enhance our natural environment for generations to come.

“Preliminary discussions have already been had to introduce a Natural History GCSE: now is the time for ministers to look carefully and roll it out in schools across the country.”