RCE Severn - 2023

Empowering ChangeMakers
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Empowering ChangeMakers
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Severn
Contributing organization(s) : 
Lead Partners: Cheltenham Education Partnership and University of Gloucestershire

Contributing partners: Barclays Bank, Cheltenham Ladies College, Gloucestershire County Council, BaxterStorey, Stagecoach buses, Interface, Golden Valley Development, Cheltenham Borough Council, Planet Cheltenham, Hillside Environmental Consulting
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Miriam Webb - Sustainability Engagement Manager, University of Gloucestershire and RCE Severn Co-ordinator
Organizational Affiliation: 
University of Gloucestershire – host of RCE Severn
Format of project: 
Varied - focus on summit event
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Friday, August 11, 2023
University of Gloucestershire Sustainability Strategy
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
United Kingdom
Address of focal point institution for project: 
University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, GL50 2RH

Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Gloucestershire is a rural country in the west of England with a population of just under 1 million people. Surrounded by the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire has considerable natural assets and overall good quality of life, with strengths in the tourism and service sector, but faces challenges common to rural regions with low levels and distribution of ethnic diversity, and difficulty in retaining a strong working age population.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
The focus of the project was on skills for sustainability. This responds to needs including:

- Teachers and trainees – research shows 70% of teachers feel they haven’t received adequate training to educate students about climate change (Teach the Future 2021)

- Students – 68% of secondary students want to learn more about the environment and how to protect it (Teach the Future 2021)

- Industry – the future workforce (current students) need to be better prepared to lead sustainability change

- Industry – current professionals needing to share ideas and gain fresh perspectives from young people and each other
September, 2021 to June, 2023
Empowering ChangeMakers was a collaboration between University of Gloucestershire’s School of Education, Sustainability Team, Cheltenham Education Partnership (CEP) and regional partners.

Having delivered action projects in their schools, over 120 student leaders and 20 teachers gathered for an immersive training on applied sustainability themes – helping them take their ideas and influence to a new level.

The aim was impact across 3 main areas:

Cheltenham Education Partnership students – increased knowledge of sustainability and the confidence and skills to drive positive change now and in the future. Insights into career opportunities in this area.

Cheltenham Education Partnership teachers – professional development and industry insights in sustainability, exposure to best practice and curriculum design for sustainability learning.

University participants – professional development and experience of training delivery in Education for Sustainability for teacher trainees, reusable learning materials from diverse settings.

The project and its legacy resources was designed to support lasting education change across schools, equipping young people to influence major change in their communities, and helping them become the future professionals our societies and industries need.
The project aimed to:

Support student leaders - equipping them to drive change now in their schools and communities, but also develop skills and industry insights that help them lead change as future professionals

Support teachers and teacher trainees – to understand why Education for Sustainability is important, what it looks like in practice and how to embed this within their subject

Offer legacy resources to support to support further curriculum changes in the University's School of Education and provide stimulus for professional development with academics in a range of subject communities.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The project focused around an immersive summit event for over 120 secondary school students and their teachers from across 10 local schools.

Students took part in a series of workshops that connected areas of the University’s expertise in Education for Sustainability, with live industry sustainability challenges on topics students most wanted to tackle. Themes included design, biodiversity, money and greenwash, carbon, communications and systems thinking.

Wrapped around these sessions there was also:

- A keynote on ‘business for good’
- An Industry exhibition and panel session
- Creative inspiration on how to shift worldviews and how young people can be the change
- Sharing and feeding back on achievements for sustainability within the schools taking part

Legacy was central to the summit with workshop resources created to be in a format that could be re-used within schools, within teacher training, and within the University.
Size of academic audience: 
120 secondary students, 6 lead academic experts, 6 professional services staff, 20 UG & PG students, and 20 CEP teachers, as well as 8 professionals from the main partners in the training package..
A post summit survey of students found:

· 95% said they were now ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ confident to be a sustainability change agent
· 87% said they were now able to describe a sustainability thinking skill (e.g. systems thinking)
· 61% said they understood the sustainability challenges of different organisations better
· 60% said they now had ‘a good grasp’ of how sustainability is part of mainstream job roles

“To cover sustainability with such breadth and depth is tricky, especially given the range of ages in attendance. The workshops in particular provided real food for thought and our pupils came away empowered. They have had their agency amplified!” (teacher quote)

The feedback from teachers found:

· 100% said they understood the sustainability challenges in organisations better
· 100% were now confident to bring sustainability into their teaching
· 89% felt better able to support their students as change agents
Lessons learned: 
A success factor in this project was that it helped students to push past their frustrations with just campaigning for change. The ESD focus of the immersive learning, supported students to develop real change skills in systems thinking, and leadership and influence through getting an inside track from industry on live sustainability challenges.

Another strength of the project was its scalability and legacy. By creating and using short film stimulus in the workshops, it increased the range of industry input that could be achieved and enabled schools to share their learning with future students back in the classroom.
Key messages: 
The Empowering ChangeMakers summit events supported students and teachers to take part in immersive training on applied sustainability themes that helped shape thinking on local issues, and forging ideas and skills to change their schools, communities and future workplaces. Legacy resources offer ongoing support in teacher training, schools activities and ESD in the University.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
Ongoing action by schools as a result of this collaboration has fed into work with ‘Planet Cheltenham’ which advocates for sustainability in the Cheltenham area.
The project was jointly funded by the University’s Learning Innovation for Tomorrow (LIFT) programme and Cheltenham Education Partnership


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon Filming 2.jpg (423.5 KB) Filming with regional partners for workshop stimulus films
Image icon Change Makers (CEP) summit image.JPG (20.08 MB) Workshops with students
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level 
I acknowledge the above: