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New natural history GCSE will educate next Sir David Attenborough, says Zahawi

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi at an event at the Natural History Museum in London to launch the Government’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy (Victoria Jones/PA)
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi at an event at the Natural History Museum in London to launch the Government’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy (Victoria Jones/PA)

A new natural history GCSE course will educate “the next generation of David Attenboroughs”, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has said.

Mr Zahawi was joined by adventurer Bear Grylls at an event at the Natural History Museum on Thursday to launch the new subject as part of the Government’s sustainability and climate change strategy.

The course will allow secondary school students to learn more about the natural world and will be introduced by September 2025.

Students will learn about organisms and environments, as well as environmental and sustainability issues, the Department for Education said in a press release.

Government’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy
Bear Grylls said he would have loved to have studied natural history at GCSE level (Victoria Jones/PA)

They will also develop necessary skills to embark on a future career in the natural world.

As well as the new course, the Government will accelerate the rollout of ultra low carbon emission school buildings, and offer carbon literacy training to one sustainability lead in every nursery, school, college and university.

Announcing the policies at event, Mr Zahawi said: “We will introduce a natural history GCSE, giving young people a real chance to develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of our amazing planet.

“We want to inspire the next generation of David Attenboroughs on the day that he was recognised by the United Nations for his work in preserving our wonderful planet.”

He added that education will help young people make a difference, and avoid falling into despair.

“Education is how we will equip young people with the future agency to make a real difference, and the skills they need to look after this precious earth.

“Education is how we will unlock the unlimited potential of the next generation to make that difference.

“We must not, and I am determined that we will not, give in to despair.”

Speaking to the PA news agency at the event, Mr Grylls said he would have loved to have studied natural history at GCSE level.

“So much of our education felt irrelevant to life and to my passions or our future,” he said.

“It is glacially slow, the change, but it is great seeing this.”

He said the course was about empowering people to build careers in sustainability.

“It’s an important day, it’s about empowering young people with the ability to study, to learn, and to build careers in sustainability.”

The adventurer added that it was great to see that the education secretary was listening to the desires of young people.

“Nadhim has got a real heart for young people”, he said.

“It’s great seeing him say ‘come on, let’s listen’, young people want to learn about the environment, they care about the environment, they want to work in the environment, how can we support that and empower that.”

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