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What’s a climate action plan, and why do you need one?

14th June 2024

What is a Climate Action Plan?

The Department for Education defines a ‘climate action plan’ as ‘a detailed plan to enable your education setting, or trust, to progress or commence sustainability initiatives.’ ( Creating a climate action plan will help you structure all of your actions around sustainability and allow you to monitor your progress. They can also help to ensure that you are supporting young people in their climate education.


Why do I need one?

For many English organisations in the music education sector, a climate action plan will become mandatory over the next year. The Department for Education has made it a requirement for all education settings to have a climate action plan in place by 2025, so all schools in England will need to have one in place. Equally, following the Music Hub Investment Programme, new Hub Lead Organisations (HLOs) in England will also have to submit a draft climate action plan by 4th June 2025 – this is stated in the Music Hub Revenue Grant Additional Conditions 2024-25 document. It is also recommended in Arts Council England’s Local Plan for Music Education that hubs write a climate action plan as part of your sustainability journey and to demonstrate the actions you intend to take to become more environmentally sustainable. 

Guidance from government in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland also outlines ways in which education settings should demonstrate their commitment to sustainability: 

  • Scotland’s ‘Learning for Sustainability’ action plan for 2030 states that ‘Every setting should have a whole setting approach to learning for sustainability that is robust, demonstrable, evaluated, and supported by leadership at all levels.’ ( 
  • In 2022, Wales announced that all new schools and college buildings, major refurbishment and extension projects must meet Net Zero Carbon targets as part of the Welsh Government’s broader net zero carbon plans. ( 
  • In Northern Ireland, the 2021 report ‘A New Strategy and Action Plan for Education for Sustainability’ suggests that educational institutions should fully support environmental literacy, taking a holistic approach, focusing on the term ‘Education for Sustainability’. 

Whether a climate action plan is mandatory for your organisation or not, creating one will help you to establish your commitment to environmental sustainability, structure your actions, and monitor your progress. 


How to create your Climate Action Plan

Climate action plans should cover the following four areas: 

  1. Decarbonisation (plans to reduce your carbon emissions) 
  2. Adaptation and resilience (plans to reduce or adapt to risks resulting from climate change, such as flooding) 
  3. Biodiversity (engaging with outdoor projects) 
  4. Climate education and green careers (ensuring you are providing education about climate change and that teaching staff are supported to do so)

Within this, England’s Local Plan for Music Education suggests that you should include the following areas:

curriculum; buildings; operations (including the partners you work with); CPD (including carbon literacy training) and organisational culture; travel; governance; digital; procurement; resources and programming.

There may be other relevant areas you wish to include in your plan too. Whilst this guidance is tailored to Music Hubs in England, these areas are still useful parameters for other organisations and settings.

Sustainability Support for Education is providing a range of support in June to help you create your climate action plan, depending on your setting. The site also provides information on developing a delivery plan for climate education, involving learners in your biodiversity initiatives, and support for primary and secondary schools looking to get started on their sustainability journeys.

These websites also provide templates and tools to help you create your climate action plan: 

You can also join our Climate Conversations session on Wednesday 26th June, 3pm – 4pm, which will give you the opportunity to discuss climate action plans, share best practice, and get advice from others. We’ll also be discussing instrument sustainability and repairs. 

With many settings requiring a climate action plan by 2025, now is the time to start considering what actions your school or organisation will take to reduce its emissions and contribute to net zero.

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