Proposals for a new GCSE in Natural History has been backed by the Department for Education (DfE) and is now set to be introduced to schools. This new qualification will let pupils explore and appreciate the natural world around them.
OCR will be the awarding body for this qualification and teaching is set to commence from September 2025 to pupils aged 14-16 years old. It aims to provide pupils with a deeper connection to and a diligent understanding of the natural world, including their local wildlife, environment and ecosystem to wider global challenges like climate change, biodiversity and sustainability.
Through observation, recording and analysis and structured field study, the qualification will help pupils develop skills that help them build a future career in the natural world. It forms part of new plans announced by Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi in April this year as part of the launch of the government’s flagship Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy.
The government is also in the process of confirming its plans to accelerate the rollout of carbon literacy training to support at least one sustainability lead in every locally maintained nursery, school, college and university. The training will support settings to develop climate action plans that will bring together and drive activity to improve climate education, put in place measures to protect them against the effects of climate change, and increase climate resilience through adaptation initiatives.
The Education Secretary will also pledge greater support for teaching climate change at all levels and by 2023 there will be new requirements for further education teachers to build sustainability into their teaching.
This is a great opportunity for pupils to learn more outside of the classroom. Handsam has many resources to help schools and academies with outdoor learning, educational visits and school trips. For more guidance on school trips, have a look around our website or use the topic tag ‘school trips’ in our Quick Guide Library.