Inspiring learning for a fairer future

Global Citizenship and Learning for Sustainability

Globally we are not ‘living within our means’. At present we are living like we have one and a half planets, with a disproportionate amount of resources being used by industrialised countries. This is happening at a huge environmental and social cost.

Global Citizenship is a way of living that recognises our world is an increasingly complex web of connections and interdependencies. One in which our choices and actions may have repercussions for people and communities locally, nationally or internationally. It nurtures personal respect and respect for others, wherever they live, and encourages individuals to think deeply and critically about what is equitable and just and what will minimise harm to our planet. Global Citizenship is a core part of Learning for Sustainability and both the GTCS and the Scottish Government have made a commitment to it.

Learning for Sustainability (LfS)  is ‘learning to live within the environmental limits of our planet and to build a just, equitable and peaceful society. It is essential  for the well-being of all and is an international priority. It is concerned with every level and type of learning and the provision of quality education’ (UNESCO 2013).

What does this mean...

for a pupil?

Young people are naturally passionate about topics that connect to real life as it is happening now. a world challenged by conflict, inequality and environmental harm, and crying out for positive change.

Global citizenship education as a core part of Learning for Sustainability, actively engages learners with the social, environmental, economic and political forces which shape our increasingly globalised world. It enables learners to develop the necessary knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes to be able to engage confidently, responsibly and successfully with the world in which they live.

a teacher?

Learning for Sustainability has been embedded within the GTCS Professional Standards to support teachers in actively embracing and promoting principles and practices of sustainability in all aspects of their work
GTCS 2012, The Standards for Registration

The professional actions, values, skills and knowledge of Learning for Sustainability are embedded within the Standards for Registration/Career-Long Professional Learning/Leadership and Management, recognising that all teachers should be confident in their knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing society locally and globally. GTCS 2012

Whatever is being taught, from art to mathematics, from science to sports, global citizenship can connect to every subject, creating lessons with stimulating, and contemporary content that learners feel is relevant to their lives. In this way global citizenship motivates learners and contributes to raising achievement.

for a school?

Learning for Sustainability is a ' whole school approach' that enables the school and its wider community to build the values, attitudes, knowledge, skills and confidence needed to develop practices and make decisions which are compatible with a sustainable and equitable world’ LfS One Planet Report 2012

As a core part of Learning for Sustainability, a coherent and holistic whole school approach to global citizenship is necessary. This means  carrying out work in different spaces including across the Curriculum for Excellence, extra-curricular activities, teacher training and engaging the community.

at a national Level?

Learning for Sustainability is a priority for the Scottish Government and Scotland’s education professionals. The Government’s Action Plans for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2014-15) set out actions for all sectors of education.

In schools, sustainable development education, global citizenship, outdoor learning and health and well-being are firmly embedded within the Curriculum for Excellence. Learning for Sustainability weaves together and builds upon these themes. The Scottish Government has accepted that the Learning for Sustainability (2012) report’s recommendations that:

  • all learners should have an entitlement to Learning for Sustainability
  • every practitioner, school and education leader should demonstrate Learning for Sustainability in their practice
  • every school should have a whole school approach to Learning for Sustainability that is robust, demonstrable, evaluated and supported by leadership at all levels
  • school buildings, grounds and policies should support Learning for Sustainability
  • a strategic national approach to supporting Learning for Sustainability should be established




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Stride Magazine

Scotland's online magazine for Global Citizenship in schools

Signposts for Global Citizenship

Scotland's online directory of global citizenship resources.

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This website has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this website are the sole responsibility of Highland One World (HOW) and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.