Interview with Rebecca Stacey, first headteacher in UK to undertake “EduCCate” training

Rebecca Stacey, the head teach er of Castle Carrock School, kindly agreed to an interview

1. Tell us a little about yourself – where did you grow up, when and why did you decide you wanted to be a teacher? How long have you been a teacher, what has been the best thing?
image2I grew up in Doncaster, I had some brilliant teachers at secondary school that made me realise just what a difference education can make – it does sound corny! I really wanted to give others the opportunities I had, I trained as a teacher in London, worked in Doncaster for a few years before heading back to London. I’ve now been Head Teacher at Castle Carrock School for four fabulous years! A tiny school where I also teacher a brilliant Y5/y6 Class. The best bits in teaching are so numerous – after all you are watching children learn and grow every day. We’ve done some amazing things here at school – from Skype lessons with the International Space Station to growing our own food in the school garden – every day is different.

2. When and how did you first become aware of climate change? Did you do other specific teacher training before doing the eduCCate training?
Climate change is something I’ve just always been aware of – I remember the scare stories growing up where ‘we would all be underwater in 100yrs!’ – I also read a lot of science fiction – which always deals with the future in stark, descriptive ways! More recently I think the focus on pollution, on species extinction, has really caught my eye. I had no specific education training for climate change before – and heard about the UN course via social media.

3. Tell us about the eduCCate programme – how did you find out about it, what did the training entail, how has it/will it change what you do?

The training involves an online course – I’ve pasted details below:

Introduction to Climate Change Science (no certificate)
Children and Climate Change (certificate)
Cities and Climate Change (certificate)
Human Health and Climate Change (certificate)
Gender and Environment (certificate)
International Legal Regime (certificate)
*Note: Certificates are awarded from the UN CC:Learn website when the person takes and passes the quiz with a score of 70% or above. There is a quiz for each certificate course AND…there is a 3-Attempt limit per person

4. What advice would you give to other teachers who want to do the training? Do you think Teachers’ Unions should get behind the scheme?
I think it is a really informative and interesting course – there is so much I hadn’t thought about, such as the manner in which cities and zoning can be planned to support or the impact that climate change can have on economy and industry. It is quite in depth, and so can take some time. I wrote about the course here on my blog:
I think unions should get behind this kind of CPD – but, at the same time, we need to be aware of pressures on schools. Subject knowledge is so important and teachers need help to be as up to date as possible.

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Repost: #Climate Emergency #Manchester – get involved, get skilled up… Sat 15th, Weds 19th, Sun 23rd…

Reposted from here.

There are three opportunities for you to get involved with Climate Emergency Manchester over the coming week.

june 15 meetingOn Saturday  June 15th, from 11.30am there’s a meeting in Northenden on the topic “What can we do about the climate emergency here n Manchester?” It’s free and there’s no need to book. The format will involve a very short introduction, then getting into groups to figure out questions, find out what knowledge and skills are already in the room, and also make practical suggestions (short and medium term) about what could be done locally (in Northenden, South Manchester and across Manchester) to create a low carbon culture, and to create the kinds of cultural, political and economic pressures for rapid and socially just change. It will be more fun than it sounds, and you will DEFINITELY meet lots of like-minded people.

Secondly, on Wednesday June 19th, at 1pm Climate Emergency Manchester folks are meeting at the Waterhouse Pub (the Wetherspoons next to the War Memorial outside the Town Hall). We’ll mingle and plot, before attending the 2pm meeting of the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee, held in the Town Hall Extension. Why are we doing this? To start to develop the skills, knowledge and relationships which will be KEY to Climate Emergency Manchester’s goals, which are to get the City Council to adopt strong policies and then get them to implement those policies. Read the previous post, “the January 4th 2023 problem” for more perspective on this.  If we aren’t there on that date, providing scrutiny, suggestions and constructively critical perspective, then we are worse than useless

Finally, we are going to be out in force collecting signatures at the Manchester Day Parade on Sunday June 23rd (it’s on the theme of sustainability, after all). Please come help us get the rest of the signatures! We will supply clipboards, pens, and basic training! Get in touch via if you can make it.

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#Manchester City Council to spend 60 minutes scrutinising its #climate “policies” in the next 12 months…

Manchester City Council really thinks climate change is serious.

How can I tell? Well, the schedule for the next year of work by the Neighbourhoods “and Environment” Scrutiny Committee was released a couple of days ago. And guess how many items there are on climate policy in the next 10 meetings.

Are you sitting down?

Yes. You’re right. It’s…..


On Wednesday July 17th , at some time after 2pm, you can watch the latest “progress” report on the climate change “action” plan come under scrutiny. However, it’s only one of five items that day, so don’t expect more than, ooh, 25 minutes for the defining threat of the 21st century. Such a pity that the quarterly carbon reports were unilaterally abolished by the Executive Member for the Environment last year.

Then, as if that weren’t enough, a mere seven months later, on Wednesday 5th February 2020, there’s another report , on more general issues such as single use plastics and the like.

So, to recap, in the next year, councillors and members of the public will be able to challenge the Executive and officers on their climate policies for a grand total of, oh, about 60 minutes.

Bravo, Manchester City Council! When the histories of how local authorities led on climate policy are written by the grateful children of today’s Youth Climate Strikers, youl will be seen as a shining beacon, oh yes.


Btw, if this above renders you speechless with rage and/or despair, know this: You are not alone, and there are people who want to make City Council take this issue seriously. There are people busy developing the skills, knowledge and relationships to be in this for the long-haul, to January 4th 2023 and beyond. You can contact them here.

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The January 4 2023 problem #Manchester #climate #oldfartclimateadvice

We can ride the emotacycle all we like.
We can display our virtue as often as we like.
If we do that, and the stars also align, we might even get a shiny declaration from our lords and masters (many of them deeply wounded people).

But we have been here before, more than once. In 1994 Manchester hosted a “Global Forum” on climate change. A then-youngish councillor was there, gave a speech. Richard Leese. In 2009 the city council signed off on a climate change action plan (more on that in the coming days and weeks). So what. Emissions have gone down, but not in Manchester more quickly than anywhere else in the UK – national factors are what have counted. Meanwhile, the “low carbon culture” is missing presumed dead.

So enough about the past. Let’s try the future, six months hence. Say we have a Labour government. Say Chancellor John McDonnell has declared 2030 as the magical date.
Say simultaneously that Climate Emergency Manchester, having got the four thousand signatures of people who live, work or study in Manchester on the petition, having encouraged people to become active supporters, having got the debate in full Council and – by some miracle – convinces councillors to back the call for a 2030 zero carbon target, complete with a proportionate share of the Airport’s emissions in the budget.


Just words. Just more words.

And words that demobilise activists, who, exhausted by their trips hither and thither, their extremely long meetings, their burny-outy cultures, will be desperate to take a break. They’ll say “we’ve done our bit. We’ve got it onto the agenda/statute books. Now the bureaucrats and politicians have to do what they’re paid to do.”

Great. Because, we’ve been here before. More than once. We have seen this movie. We know – if we have the courage to admit it – how this movie ends. The good guys don’t actually win.

Look, this.

January 4th 2023 is a Wednesday. There’s probably going to be a scrutiny committee meeting or two of Manchester City Council on that day. Back-bench councillors will gather to hear presentations from officers and Executive Members, and pick over reports. (In a perfect world Manchester City Council will have by then been convinced and forced to create a dedicated Environment Scrutiny Committee, but that is by-the-by) [continues here]

If your group is not now, or in the very near future – planning – and acting – about how it can be a radical, unco-optable and unignorable force for sustained pressure ATSD – After The Shiny Declaration – then your group is at best useless, and in all probability worse than useless.

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Leading UK city declares #climate emergency with 2030 target. #Manchester? Nope, #Birmingham…

“Birmingham City Council passed a declaration of this evening by 83-0, aspiration to net zero by 2030, climate change now one of the council’s six priority action areas. Great speech from : ‘We have to build a common purpose, a new civic agency for this city'”  (source)

Manchester City Council has not declared an emergency yet. If you live, work or study within its boundaries, you can sign the petition to get it to do so here, and get involved in the campaign to get the necessary 4000 people to sign it by filling in this form.  If you live in South Manchester, there’s a meeting in Northenden this Saturday, 15th June, from 11.30 to discuss local action.


And that motion (a cross-party effort)?  It said the following:


To consider the following Motion of which notice has been given.
Councillors Robert Alden, Roger Harmer, Julien Pritchard and Lisa Trickett
as proposers and Councillors Jon Hunt, Suzanne Webb and Waseem Zaffar
as seconders have given notice of the following Notice of Motion:-

“This Council notes that
• The Climate Crisis is an existential threat that requires us to change the
way we invest in, grow and sustain our cities and regions.
• The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report
published in October 2018 set out the devastating consequences for
the planet if it warmed more than 1.5C – with increased extreme
weather with heatwaves and floods driving mass migration and global
insecurity; the catastrophic social and ecological impacts worsening for
every degree of warming.
• The impact of climate change will not just be felt in far-away lands or
coastal areas, the impact on Birmingham residents of increased
extreme weather events, including flooding, droughts and heatwave is
likely to be profound, with increasing risks to both life and property.
Given our global footprint and the diversity of the city the climate crisis
will hit at the heart of families and communities within the city.
• Given the planet is currently heading for 3-4C warming, keeping to
1.5C requires a radical shift across energy, land, industrial, urban and
other systems to reduce emissions, unprecedented in history for the
breadth, depth and speed of change required.
• All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to limit the
negative impacts of Climate Breakdown and in recognising this local
government should not wait for national government to change their
polices. It is important for the residents of Birmingham, the Region and
the UK that cities commit to zero carbon as quickly as possible.
• Birmingham and the West Midlands, as the birthplace of the Industrial
Revolution and a global player in the development of green technology,
is ideally placed –- and has a moral responsibility to lead a new Green
Industrial Revolution that delivers clean and inclusive growth.
• Birmingham City Council has already made progress in addressing the
issue of Climate Change, having adopted a target to cut Carbon
Dioxide emissions by 60% by 2027 from a 1990 baseline and has
already cut emissions by 33% (as of 2015).
• Unfortunately, current plans and actions are not enough. Transition in
time requires a system change that drives decarbonisation whilst
delivering justice and jobs.

This Council resolves:
• To declare a climate emergency.
• To aspire for the City to be net zero carbon by 2030 or as soon after as
a just transition permits – making sure we take communities with us,
protecting employment and without impoverishing deprived
• To work with the WMCA and seek from the UK Government the powers
and resources to help Birmingham deliver the 2030 net zero carbon
ambition for a just transition.
• That the Council will lead by example and seek to be net zero carbon
by 2030 – again ensuring that this is just – taking communities with us,
protecting employment and without impoverishing deprived
• To constitute a Climate Emergency Task Force to support the Council
move from declaration to delivery drawing in cross sector, expertise,
capacity and capability to capture the investment and economic
opportunity arising from a low carbon future.
• To quickly set in place a process of engagement and collaborative
action that enables the Task Force to bring forward to Full Council in
January 2020 a plan that sets out how the aspiration for the City and
the ambition of the Council to be net zero carbon by 2030 can be best
• As a matter of urgency to review planned Transport, Housing, Waste
and Energy Investment plans and policies to ensure they are fit to
support a transition to a zero-carbon future with Sustainability and
Transport Overview and Scrutiny monitoring progress and to provide
an update to Council in November 2019 and annually thereafter.”

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Upcoming Event: Joint Union Working towards Training for Green Jobs. #Manchester Tues 2nd July.

This meeting below is aimed at Trade Unionists active within key sectors who are interested in working together to advance this agenda,

2019 07 02 flyer seraJoint Union Working towards Training for Green Jobs

Tuesday July 2nd  – 18.00 – 20.00  Council Chamber, Floor B, Sackville Street Building. University of Manchester (5 minutes from Piccadilly Station) Hosted by UCU

Key Trades Unionists committed to a just transition to Green Jobs and to effective training,  re-skilling and apprenticeships are invited to attend this Working Group event.

Aims: *    To confirm the urgency of the Climate Emergency and the need for a skilled and      well informed workforce

  • To put pressure on employers across the North West to invest in comprehensive, cross-sector training
  • To press for dedicated funding from regional bodies and central government to ensure a plan without gaps

The Committee on Climate Change demands a new industrial strategy for a Zero Carbon Britain by 2050 (2.05.2019) .

Extinction Rebellion show the United Nations Report warns of need for much more rapid responses. We will be seeing advice on the use of Union Learn and the support of other training providers to ensure the whole UK workforce can make huge changes to reduce the polluting gases that cause climate change. We will have to deal with floods and drought. We will transform the way we work. However,  there are still people who don’t understand the science or how our current lifestyle effects the whole planet. There are workers who can be retrained, we need to have a coherent education and training strategy. The whole HR system needs an overhaul. Make the Green Industrial Revolution.

The North West can lead the way towards swift joined up training responses to the Climate Emergency.

For details contact

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Greater #Manchester Community Renewables – what, why, how etc

Greater Manchester Community Renewables answered some questions about what they do (and why), and the recent share offer.

Join the clean energy revolution

1. So, what’s this “share offer”? What is GMCR, how long has it been going, what is it trying to achieve?
Greater Manchester Community Renewables (GMCR) is a community energy project which was founded back in 2015 by a group of volunteers who wanted to do something positive to help reduce carbon emissions.
Most schools can’t afford solar panels themselves, so GMCR raises the money for them. This is done through community share offers. in which people invest in the project and in return become a member of GMCR and receive share interest of up to 4% each year.

2. What sorts of people have been participating? What’s the average donation/funding?
So far we’ve raised over £300,000 in our first two share offers – most of this has come from individuals, as well as a handful of businesses, with roughly half locally from Greater Manchester and half from further afield.

The minimum investment is £100 and the maximum is £20,000 – we’ve had some at both ends of the scale, and to date, the average investment per member has been around £1,300.

3. What schools have now got solar panels? What impact has that had on their operations?
Current sites - June 2019.PNGSince 2016, we’ve installed solar arrays at five primary schools in Salford – Broadoak, Fiddlers Lane, Irlam, Peel Hall and Primrose Hill – and a community centre called The Fuse in Partington (see photo).

So far the panels have generated over 300,000 kWh of electricity – enough to make 16 million cups of tea – and saved the partners over £7,000 on their energy bills.

And we’ve also worked with Manchester Environmental Education Network (MEEN) to support teachers to use the panels as a resource to help children (and parents) to learn about energy and climate change.

4. Shouldn’t our taxes pay for this sort of thing as a matter of course? It seems like a no-brainer. Are you lobbying central government, or Greater Manchester Combined Authority, or the various local authorities to support it?
Yes, that would make a lot of sense – but in the absence of this, we decided to take matters into our own hands and give people who have a bit of spare cash the chance to do something more positive with it and have a stake in the transition to clean energy.

We’re not a campaigning organisation, but we have engaged with local politicians and supported campaigns highlighting the damage that abrupt cuts to the Feed-in Tariff have caused, and calling for more support for renewable energy.

5. If someone wants to get involved beyond throwing money, what sorts of tasks do you have on offer? What sorts of skills and knowledge are you particularly looking out for?
Our volunteers help with a range of tasks – from social media and public engagement to project management and monitoring our solar arrays.

We’re also setting up a community fund, which is funded through project surpluses and donations of share interest, to support project in the communities around our sites.
So we’d love to hear from anyone who’s got experience with funds like this and in engaging with communities to encourage them to apply for funding.

6. Anything else you want to say (upcoming events, projects etc etc)
The main thing right now is our target to raise £100,000 by 5 July to fund solar panels on 3 more primary schools – so please do spread the word about the project to friends and colleagues (and wealthy relatives!).
For more information, check out our website at, or find us on Facebook and Twitter by searching for @WeAreGMCR.

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