What is learning for sustainability?
Learning for sustainability (LfS) is an approach to life and learning which enables learners, educators, schools and their wider communities to build a socially-just, sustainable and equitable society. An effective whole school and community approach to LfS weaves together global citizenship, sustainable development education and outdoor learning to create coherent, rewarding and transformative learning experiences.
LfS is an entitlement for all learners within Curriculum for Excellence. LfS is embedded within the General Teaching Council of Scotland Professional Standards for practitioners and permeates How good is our school? [Fourth edition]. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are central to Scotland’s national vision and are at the heart of the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework.
A vision for the future
The Vision 2030+ Report: Concluding report of the Learning for Sustainability National Implementation Group (2016) report sets out Scotland’s vision for LfS in educational settings through to 2030. It builds on the five strategic recommendations in the Learning for Sustainability Report which were accepted by Ministers in 2013.
- All learners should have an entitlement to learning for sustainability.
- In line with the new GTCS Professional Standards, every practitioner, school and education leader should demonstrate learning for sustainability in their practice.
- Every school should have a whole-school approach to learning for sustainability that is robust, demonstrable, evaluated and supported by leadership at all levels.
- All school buildings, grounds and policies should support learning for sustainability.
- A strategic national approach to supporting learning for sustainability should be established.
Our vision is of a flourishing Scotland where sustainable and socially-just practices are the norm.... and our roles and responsibilities within a globally-interdependent world are recognised…learners are educated through their landscape and understand their environment, culture and heritage; and develop a sense of place and belonging to their local, national and global community, with a deep connection to the natural world. Here, learners will understand the significance of their choices, now and in the future.
The Report of the One Planet Schools Working Group (November 2012)
Latest news and resources
Congratulations to all our Learning for Sustainability Award winners! Check out the case study videos and news coverage.
Help build a lasting legacy from the United Nations COP26 Climate Summit held in Glasgow in November 2021. Visit our Countdown to COP26 page to access our climate education resources.
Visit our Outdoor Learning /Learning for Sustainability Wakelet to see a bank of curricular resources and support programmes to meet the needs of practitioners across a wide range of sectors. This collection has been developed in partnership with a wide range of outdoor learning and Learning for Sustainability organisations
Key policies and resources
- Vision 2030+ Report: Concluding report of the Learning for Sustainability National Implementation Group (2016)
- Vision 2030+ Learning for Sustainability Action Plan
- Learning for Sustainability - Report of the One Planet Schools Working Group (2012)
- Scottish Government response to the One Planet Schools Working Group (2013)
- PISA 2018 Global Competence Report: Scotland Highlights
- OECD Big Picture Thinking: How to Educate the Whole Person for an Interconnected World
- The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
- UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development Roadmap 2020
- Scottish Government National Performance Framework
- How good is our school? [Fourth edition]
- General Teaching Council for Scotland Professional Standards
- SQA – Learning for Sustainability
- Building better schools: investing in Scotland’s future
- Educational outcomes of Learning for Sustainability: literature review (2020) – Literature review exploring the impact of Learning for Sustainability on educational outcomes
- Educational outcomes of Learning for Sustainability: literature review (Summary version) (2020)
- SDS: Climate Emergency - Skills Action Plan 2020-2025
- Opening Up Great Learning – Learning for sustainability
- Conversations about learning for sustainability
- Whole-setting and community approach to learning for sustainability
- Scotland’s Outdoor Play and Learning Coalition Position Statement
- Policy briefings: learning for sustainability and outdoor learning
- Leading Learning for Sustainability - free online training
- Outdoor learning professional learning
- Learning for a Sustainable Future - Massive open online course
- Making Connections through Learning for Equity and Sustainability online course (29 Oct – 10 Dec 2021) - free online training
- Policy Scotland - Outdoor Learning Briefing Paper (June 2020)
- Support for Professional Development in Outdoor Learning
- Managing Risk in Outdoor Learning
- Going Out There – Health and Safety guidance on leaving the school grounds
- Playtime revolution
- Forest Kindergarten approach – learning outdoors with confidence
- Citizen Science and Curriculum for Excellence
- Learners International: international learning opportunities
- You decide – a political literacy resource
- Scotland in the world: how others see us in film
- Community Resilience and Curriculum for Excellence
- Recognising and realising children’s rights: A professional learning resource to promote self-evaluation and improvement planning
- Heritage and Inclusion project – Supporting Young Women from BME backgrounds in secondary school
- Glasgow Girls – Campaigning for the rights of asylum seekers (learner participation): Glasgow City
- Better Eating, Better Learning
- Ag ionnsachadh mu Alba Cùis Smaoineachaidh / Learning about Scotland Food for Thought (Gaelic version)
- Learning about Scotland – Food for Thought (English version)
- A summary of food education resources
- Food education – the Good Food Learning Resource
Case studies and exemplars
- Learning outdoors with confidence: Newmains Family Learning Centre, North Lanarkshire
- Science across the school – early level at Strathallan Primary School, Fife
- Building the ambition at Cowgate Under 5s Centre, City of Edinburgh
- Developing nurturing relationships in the early years, Dundee
- LfS in action: St Eunan’s Primary School, West Dunbartonshire and Oakgrove Primary School, Glasgow
- LfS through food: St Eunan’s Primary School, West Dunbartonshire
- Distributed leadership: Shortlees Primary School, East Ayrshire
- Outdoor Learning as a context and an approach for learning: Middleton Park School, Aberdeen City
- Cycle Co-operative, East Dunbartonshire
- Better Eating, Better Learning: St Joseph’s Primary School, East Renfrewshire