A new statutory requirement for access to and engagement with nature within education

The Institute, through our Training Co-ordinator Ian Wellby, has been working with the Wildlife and Countryside Link (WCL) Educational and Learning Policy Group on a new policy document calling for greater access and engagement with nature within the UK education system.

Executive Summary

Access to and engagement with nature within education will be vital to tackling and

adapting to the biodiversity and nature crisis, as well as promoting health and wellbeing

and the success of children and young people. The Government has recognised the

importance of nature within education, including in the Environmental Improvement Plan

and the Department for Education’s Climate Change and Sustainability Strategy.

However, the current plans do not go far enough to guarantee that every child in England

has the level of access, contact and quality of connection with nature required to achieve

the vision of the EIP and the DfE’s strategy.

In this policy paper, we set out the gaps in the Government’s current approach and make

the case for a statutory requirement for nature within all education settings in England to

provide access to and regular high-quality engagement with nature; ensuring all children

have equal opportunity to benefit from connecting and engaging experientially with


The full policy document is below