Bamburgh School leads the way with South Shields' first climate change teacher
A South Shields school teacher is leading the way to tackle climate change with her pupils.
Karen Fairbairn, who teaches humanities at Bamburgh School, has become the first United Nations (UN) accredited climate change teacher in South Shields.
The free initiative which is run by Educate Global, the UK-based climate change teacher training academy and backed by the UN, is calling on teachers to help make an impact in their schools.
Bamburgh, which teaches pupils aged four to 16 with special needs, has become the first school in South Shields to sign up to the scheme.
Ms Fairbairn completed a series of online modules which looked at the worldwide effects of climate change ‘beyond the polar bears’.
She will now begin to share this knowledge with pupils through her Geography lessons as well as educating other teachers.
“I want it to become a part of the school and part of the kids’ everyday knowledge,” she said.
“We’re teaching the next generation, we have got to prepare them for the fact that the world isn’t perfect.
Since she started teaching at Bamburgh, Ms Fairbairn has been working to improve the school’s environmental footprint.
Students now have recycling boxes in every classroom, which her Year 9 form are responsible for looking after.
“We’ve tried to create a really environmentally friendly school,” she explained.
“My form were in Year 7 when Blue Planet came out and that’s what inspired us. It started with with bottles and now it’s everything. It has exceeded our expectations.”
She added: “I’m really proud of my kids, and it’s good for them to feel that they are doing something for the world. It gives them self-confidence and a sense of identity that they don’t always get.”
Ms Fairbairn was in the first wave of teachers in the UK to complete the training programme.
She hopes it will give her students a wider understanding of the world and allow other schools to share knowledge and ideas on how to tackle climate change.