Taking stock

URL http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/ccci/uk_ite_network//docs/ta...
Summary A survey of ESDGC in Teacher Education in UK March 2011 (CCCI)

Executive Summary

In 2009-10, the UK Teacher Education (TE) Network for Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship (ESDGC) developed and implemented an email survey to explore how teacher educators approach ESDGC in their course provision. The survey aimed to establish the pattern of Teacher Education provision for sustainable development/global citizenship across the UK in primary and secondary so as to work with colleagues to support and develop provision in a more consistent form. It was sent to all Heads of Education in all English higher education providers and to named contacts in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. It was also sent to all School - Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITTs). By June 2010, 32 responses had been received from 27 providers. Researchers at the Development Education Research Centre (DERC) were commissioned to work with the Network Management Team at the Centre for Cross Curricular Initiatives (CCCI) to analyse the data and produce this report.

Data was analysed in terms of perceptions of ESDGC in survey responses, mapping the provision of ESDGC in ITE and barriers and enablers to ESDGC provision in ITE. The UK Teacher Education ESDGC Network hopes to use the results of the survey to better develop networking activities that could help providers meet some of the challenges outlined in the report. Overall issues raised in the report may help policy makers and ITE providers get a better sense of the types of ESDGC provision being offered to teacher trainee teachers and how provision may be enhanced.

The report makes a number of key points regarding the coverage of ESDGC in ITE provision across the UK:

1. There are different levels of understanding and interest in ESDGC and its potential role within ITE with individuals within providers, as well as between

providers. Also there is limited coherence between providers on how ESDGC is defined and used within ITE.

2. Coverage of ESDGC in ITE varied across and within institutes. In most instances ESDGC is not embedded within institutional provision. ESDGC tends to be included in only a few subject areas per institution, most regularly in two subject areas. In only four out of 27 providers, ESDGC was provided in more that four subject areas.

3. At a subject level more time was spent on ESDGC as a whole in design and technology, geography, (global) citizenship and science, than other subjects. Identified coverage of ESDGC was not high, even subjects areas spending more overall time. For example, 70% of providers surveyed did not indicate any input in ESDGC on geography, science or citizenship courses.

4. There was a lack of comprehensive co-ordination of ESDGC within many ITE providers. ESDGC was often driven by ad-hoc or driven by individuals, with limited support. Providers that had received external funding/support were more likely to have more comprehensive coverage and co-ordinated approaches to ESDGC.

5. Most ITE providers work with external bodies such as NGOs on ESDGC, particularly to teach sessions and provide resources. Most responding providers did not work with other ITE providers in the provision of ESDGC, nor did they have strong international links around ESDGC.

6. The following were noted as barriers to ESDGC in ITE provision: a lack of time and funding, limited staff involvement, the perceived importance ESDGC has and a lack of tutor expertise. Some respondents noted no constraints to ESDGC provision. The following were noted as the main facilitators to ESDGC in ITE provision: external support (especially funding), university-wide commitment to ESDGC, an existing knowledge base, enthusiastic individuals and government commitment.


The role of ESDGC in ITE could be enhanced further if:

o Government policy committed ITE providers to including input on ESDGC including across subject areas as is the case in Wales.

o More funding opportunities were available to ITE providers for ESDGC.

o Support for ESDGC was provided at university/institutional and departmental levels across the sector.

o More CPD was provided for ITE tutors to enhance knowledge and confidence in teaching ESDGC.

o The perceptions of ESDGC as an add-on within ITE were challenged.

o A wider range of subject tutors were encouraged to incorporate ESDGC into ITE provision and providers were committed to have more comprehensive coverage over subject areas and cross-subject area provision.

o Links between ITE providers and international links were developed and enhanced.

o Links between research knowledge and ITE tutors be enhanced in providers which have a research base in areas related to ESDGC.

The role of the UK Teacher Education ESDGC Network

The network already provides support and linking through, for example, the website, regional events and the annual conference but there may be other network activities that could help providers meet some of the challenges outlined in the conclusions and recommendations. For example, the network should consider what role it could play in developing partnerships between teacher education providers, between providers and NGOs and international partners. It could also play a bigger role in developing the knowledge and skills base of tutors and demonstrating the importance of an institutional approach to ESDGC.

At the time that the research was undertaken the policy context in all four nations was relatively favourable with respect to ESDGC. In relation to teacher education Scotland and Wales had explicit standards and guidance for ESDGC. Northern Ireland and England made no explicit reference to ESD/GC though the whole approach within Northern Ireland resonated well with the aims and philosophy of ESD/GC. Of the four nations England had the least explicit government support and guidance for ESD/GC. In all four nations ESDGC was built into the school curriculum. Since the survey data was collected and analysed the situation in relation to teacher education standards and guidance remains the same. But in

England we are witnessing what appears to be a major shift in government policy with respect to the school curriculum, the range of types of schools and their freedoms as well as the range of teacher education providers. The signs are that this new landscape will have implications for the teaching of ESDGC with the likelihood that it will become increasingly dependent on the choices exercised by the profession. Thus in the case of England this report should be read in the context of previous government policy.


The Network should like to thank all the providers who took part in the survey, the steering group for their invaluable advice and support in constructing the survey. Thanks to Lisa Jones at CCCI for handling all the responses and chasing providers for data. We should also like to thank the Development Education Centre at the Institute of Education for undertaking the analysis of the data and collaborating on the writing of the report.