HL Deb 03 July 1997 vol 581 cc47-8WA
Lord Beaumont of Whitley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they are taking to ensure that the spiritual dimension is included in environmental education being undertaken in primary schools.

Baroness Blackstone

Last year the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority issued a document of guidance for primary and secondary schools in England on good practice in teaching about the environment in the context of the National Curriculum and religious education. The authority is now developing guidance for schools in England on pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. This will cover values in the context of society, relationships, the self and the environment. It will help identify the potential for exploring the spiritual dimension of environmental education across the curriculum and beyond it in the wider work of schools.

In Scotland, the National Guidelines 5–14 for children between those ages offer a number of opportunities for schools to explore the spiritual dimension of environmental education. The guidelines on environmental studies recommend study of the various ways that people and places are interdependent and the background to global issues. The guidelines on religious and moral education emphasise an awareness of human responsibility towards the natural world and environmental issues. Those on personal and social development include reference to the themes of interdependence with the natural world and conservation.

In Northern Ireland, the core syllabus for religious education requires children to learn that, in the Christian tradition, God created and cares for the environment, and that they should respect and care for all living things.