In September 2015, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were formally adopted at the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Summit. The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs provide a comprehensive vision and framework for all populations across the globe. As goals for all people of our planet, they require teachers and pupils to develop a deeper understanding of how social action is pivotal to sustaining our planet for all its people.
The SDGs (there are 17 and we are campaigning for SDG18 - Race Equality) promote ‘envisioning’ – pupils and teachers being able to imagine a better future. The premise is that when we know where we want to go, we will be better able to work out how to get there. Envisioning enables us to establish an ongoing link between long-term goals (SDGs) and our immediate actions. This is an ongoing process that develops collaborative tasks for pupils and teachers, developed through school assemblies and curriculum planning. The commitment of our learning community to social action is driven by moral purpose, which is, in part, an acknowledgement, recognition and identification of ‘habitus’, which perpetuates inequality in our society and across the globe. We imagine a better future framed by the SDGs, which promote social and environmental justice for all people of the planet. Understanding the SDGs through a local, national and global approach, enables our pupils to connect tangibly with inequalities such as food poverty (SDG 2: Zero hunger). Our pupils have been inspired to set up and run our own school food bank. This is social action that addresses SDG 2 at a local level.
We practise an iterative approach to embedding the SDGs. This iterative approach creates the space to reflect and adapt the curriculum in order to forge stronger links to examine social and environmental justice issues. SDGs are woven into the curriculum themes, enabling links to be made – for example, the Year 5 theme of ‘Wild, Wondrous Water’ is linked to SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), 4 (Quality Education) and 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation). We provide our children with a broad, balanced and experiential curriculum where they are encouraged to develop critical thinking skills, enabling them to critically consider questions of social justice, inequality and environmental integrity. Our approach supports the shaping of individual and collective knowledge, skills, values and attitudes, to enable our learning community to move along pathways towards sustainable development and become a catalyst for development itself. This progressively equips our learners with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes needed to be responsible global citizens