Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell has welcomed the Government launching a new Natural History GCSE following her campaign and parliamentary debate pushing for the initiative to happen.
Caroline held the debate urging ministers to consider the new exam in December last year.
She said to do so was feasible and it would help children connect with their concerns about the state of the environment, adding: “one cannot protect what one does not love.”
“I receive emails and letters from schoolchildren and young activists concerned about the future of our planet—from climate change and plastic pollution to deforestation and species decline,” she told MPs.
“The natural history GCSE would reflect progression within the existing curriculum. It builds on nature observation content in key stages 1 to 3, providing a good capstone assessment at 16 that brings together those threads in a way that existing courses in geography and biology cannot.”
She added: “One of the most exciting and potentially dynamic elements of the new GCSE is that it goes beyond a purely scientific approach where it might rest on biology or even geography and extends to our understanding of the natural world as manifested in art, music and literature.”
Speaking following the Announcement by the Education Secretary, Caroline said: “I really welcome this new GCSE.
“I think it reflects the changing nature of our educational priorities and the changing emphasis we must place in our society if we are to educate future generations on how we can tackle climate change and help our natural world.
“The interest from young people for this subject is huge and, as a former teacher, I really see the benefits and this is why I pushed the Department for Education to look at it.
“I would also like to thank all those other people both inside and outside parliament who have campaigned for this to happen for many years.”
The new GCSE will start in September 2025. Students taking the qualification will study organisms, climate change and other environmental and sustainability challenges.
It has been designed by exam board OCR.