King’s Ely teacher becomes one of UK’s first UN accredited ‘Climate Change Teachers’

Posted on 24th Jul 2019 in School News, Geography, Teacher awards

Alan Parkinson, Head of Geography at King’s Ely Junior, is one of the first teachers in the UK to become a United Nations accredited ‘Climate Change Teacher’.

It means Mr Parkinson can now deliver up to date climate change lessons to all of his pupils, and he will get to share best practice with all teaching staff, so that they too can take part in the UN Climate Change Teacher Academy, an innovative new programme being trialled in UK schools.

Mr Parkinson’s accreditation also means King’s Ely is now on the world’s First Interactive Map of UN Climate Change Teachers – launched as part of the Lord Mayor’s London Climate Action Week to highlight the need for a Climate Change Teacher in every school in the UK.

Mr Parkinson, who lives in Norfolk and has been teaching at King’s Ely for six years, said: “Since I started teaching in 1988, climate change has always been taught in Geography, and my understanding of the wider connections with other natural systems has grown over the years.

“Current discussions have moved from the extent of human involvement in the process, to the need for urgent action as feedback starts to threaten a rapid change in key areas such as the Arctic. Climate records are being shattered almost monthly, and students need to be aware of their own part in the causes, and the solutions. Young people like Greta Thunberg have recognised the risk and started to galvanise public opinion.

“At King’s Ely, the Geography we teach has always been contemporary and used the latest research and thinking. I’m delighted to have the chance to expand on this work in such an important area. Part of that is some current work with the South Georgia Heritage Trust, writing education materials based on their vital work exploring the impacts of climate change on ecosystems.”

Earlier this year, Mr Parkinson was also selected as the next Junior Vice President of the Geographical Association. He will be only the third person in 126 years since the association’s launch to be a Geography teacher, rather than from an academic or exploration background, when he takes office in September this year. In 2020, he will be Vice President and then President for 2021-22.

The UN Climate Change Teacher Academy is being delivered by Harwood Education, in partnership with the One United Nations Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC:Learn) and sponsored by YPO. Not only will teachers be able to teach their pupils vital lessons about climate change but they will also certification from the United Nations. The programme was launched in April and is free for all primary and secondary school teachers.

For more information about the initiative, visit: