Trust backs calls for introduction of a Natural History GCSE

The county’s largest nature conservation charity is backing calls for a Natural History GCSE to be introduced to help youngsters reconnect with wildlife.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust was encouraged to hear last week that a major UK exam board was working up proposals to introduce the qualification – the brainchild of nature writer Mary Colwell, who hails from Staffordshire.

It is hoped the GCSE would help reverse trends such as more than half of UK children not being able to identify a stinging nettle and encourage them to learn more about the natural world and British wildlife.

The charity thinks the new GCSE would be a great step forward, and would like to see nature integrated into all subjects in schools to give all children access to the natural world as part of education and their daily lives.

The Trust hopes the qualification will spark an interest in the natural world for thousands of children, and encourage them to learn more about its educational programme for schools and families. The Trust runs dozens of sessions each month across the county designed to help youngsters get closer to nature and learn more about wildlife in the county.

Later this year, the Trust will also be officially opening its brand new Learning Hub at its Wolseley Centre HQ, near Rugeley. The purpose built hub will be a place for schools and families to learn more about nature and wildlife.

Jo Olivant, Head of People Engagement & Resources for the Trust, said: “We think that young people want to gain knowledge to know more about the natural world and what is around them – and they need that chance to do so. We have seen from the school climate strikes that thousands of young people are getting involved in making a stand to save the planet – so the interest is definitely there.

“We engage with thousands of young people each year through our education programme, from our Wildlings events, to GetWild family sessions and one off Wildchild events.  

“And having a qualification where young people are learning more about the natural world and what is around them should really encourage more teenagers to reclaim lost knowledge such as identifying species and how ecosystems work.

“We would encourage parents to head to www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk to check out what sessions we are running for their young ones across Staffordshire.”

Anyone interested in seeing what events the Trust have planned for 2020 should visit www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk/events or follow the Trust on Facebook www.facebook.com/StaffsWildlife, Twitter – www.twitter.com/StaffsWildlife or Instagram - www.instagram.com/staffswt