Leicester City Council: Carbon Awareness in Leicester City Schools

In order to raise awareness through the community of Leicester, the city council intend to use the Carbon Literacy Project as a way of accrediting university students and school staff to become carbon literate trainers who will deliver training to school students within the city. The project aims to reach 2000 students, primarily Year 5 and Year 8.

The challenge

On 1 February 2019 Leicester City Council declared a Climate Emergency. In its declaration, the council committed to developing a new action plan to address the emergency through our own services and projects with the aim of the city becoming zero carbon.

Carbon emissions from schools account for approximately 41 per cent of the council’s carbon emissions therefore inspiring schools, both student, staff and governors to act was a specific target for the Environmental Education Team.

The solution

Developing an accredited carbon awareness course for school-aged students delivered by carbon literate university students ambassadors. This raises the profile of the climate emergency using the Carbon Literacy Project as a suite of tools to develop scientific understanding and campaigning which will impact on the wider citizens of Leicester.

The project aims to reach 2000 students, primarily Year 5 and Year 8. Funding has been provided but the National Association of Environmental Education (NAEE) for the scheme to be put in place.

The impact

The impact of this work we hope will be wide ranging and long lasting. We see the younger generation as a conduit to disseminate the issues of sustainability and the climate emergency to the wider community and in addition to this, educating the future generation now is essential for future career prospects as 1 in 6 jobs that next generation have not been invented yet.

To date 71 students from De Montfort University and the University of Leicester, and 59 school staff from 42 schools in the city, have been accredited.

How is the new approach being sustained?

This model can cascade indefinitely through each school year as there are no cost associated with training school students. Schools can choose to pay for accreditation of students at £10 a head if they wish. Each year we expect to train a new cohort of ambassadors from the two universities in Leicester and at least 40 school staff.

Lessons learned

Partnership working / virtual course.


Lee Jowett, Sustainable Schools Coordinator

[email protected]

Amy Peace, Project Officer in Environmental Education

[email protected]