THE importance of combating climate change will be emphasised to schoolchildren during specialist lessons.

By becoming a United Nations-accredited climate change teacher, Dr Meryl Batchelder, a part-time science teacher at Corbridge Middle School, has become the first teacher with the certification in Northumberland. In addition, she has also become a Teach SDG ambassador with focus on raising awareness of the UN’s sustainable development goals.

Dr Batchelder has long been a passionate advocate for getting young people to act now to help reduce the harmful affects of climate change for future generations, and she can now deliver up-to-date climate change lessons to pupils through a new programme being trialled in schools across the UK.

She said: “I have always been passionate about ensuring our science students are prepared for the future. I’m a passionate environmentalist and I bring that to my class lessons.

“Each science topic we cover in Key Stages 2 and 3 is linked to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and I am a Teach SDG ambassador for 2019.

“Completing the UN climate change teacher course gives me the confidence, both in my own understanding and in my position as an accredited authority, to teach about climate change.”

In addition to working on climate breakdown with pupils at Corbridge, Dr Batchelder is hoping to work with colleagues and external organisations to share best practice. She said: “The devastating impacts of climate change, the required action for mitigation and the preparations needed for adaptation need to be taught, understood and acted upon without further delay. If things continue as they are, there will be huge numbers of moorland fires, drought causing food shortages which will cause problems for farmers, so these are issues concerning people in Northumberland. 

“By achieving UN accreditation, my voice has a lot more authority both within the classroom and beyond the school walls.”

As a Teach SDG ambassador, Dr Batchelder’s main roles will include connecting with teachers across the world to respond to a call to action within education, and highlighting open and accessible resources, lessons plans, and global project.