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 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)
How to use this page to improve practice
When using this page, please consider the following reflective questions:
- To what extent do I enable learners to acquire the values, skills, knowledge and confidence needed to play their part in building a socially-just and sustainable world?
- To what extent is Learning for Sustainability woven into my daily practice and the life of my school/setting?
- How well do I make use of professional learning opportunities to enhance my LfS-related knowledge, skills and values?
Key strategic information
- Vision 2030+ (2016)
- 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)
- The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
- 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
- Climate Change in Scottish Education
- 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
- 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
- Weather and climate change
- Exploring climate change
- 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
- Myths of Immigration – Resources to tackle racism and discrimination - EIS
- 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
- Curriculum Outdoors Attainment Challenge (COACh) – Literacy and Numeracy, East Ayrshire
- 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
- Developing international partnerships: Stockbridge Primary School, City of Edinburgh
- Global Citizens project report: Shawlands Academy, Glasgow City
- International partnerships: Bannerman High School, Glasgow
- Transformative change through e-twinning: Lochend Community High School, Glasgow
- Supporting young learners with ASN through outdoor learning
- Real-life science – watching the birdies: Pilrig Park School, Edinburgh
- Transition to work programme for young people with autism, Lothian