Education for Sustainable Development

The FE Sussex partnership has made a clear commitment to sustainability as a collaborative endeavour with an ambition to be a leading college partnership in this area, progressing our journeys to NetZero and along the AOC Climate Roadmap.

Sustainability, skills development and collaborative partnership working are key priorities and strengths for the group.  Our sustainability and green skills work is award-winning, with awards for Sustainability, Education for Sustainable Development and Electric Vehicle facilities and provision in the last year.

We also have a moral purpose around supporting our students, empowering them with the tools to overcome climate anxiety by taking action and the skills to be successful in a word where every job is a green job.  Our students want us to continue this commitment in a visible, active and effective way and have a voice in that both in terms of their skills development and in terms of climate emergency awareness.

Growing Greener Sussex – A Day of Practice-Sharing, Training and Connections

4TH July 2023 at Plumpton College

This is work we continue to build on both in our own colleges and across the partnership, coming together as a community of practice on 4th July 2023 to This is work we continue to build on both in our own colleges and across the partnership.  We are coming together as a community of practice for a sustainability-themed symposium to share what we have been doing, learn together and make new connections.  The event comprises keynotes (including Steve Frampton MBE and DfE Sustainability and Climate Education Unit); a Panel on Green Skills with the LSIP and local employers; Workshops (including Carbon Literacy, Embedding into Curriculum, Biodiversity, NetZero and Decarbonisation) plus student action workshops and outdoor wellbeing activities.

AOC Beacon Award 2022/23

The FE Sussex Partnership won the prestigious Beacon Edge Award in The Nous Group Award for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) for 2022/23.

The judging panel met a range of staff, students and governors from colleges across the partnership committed to the sustainability ethos.  Collaborative practice, leadership and advocacy around sustainability, climate education and climate justice is strategically embedded into the partnership’s identity, ethos and practice; supporting staff and curriculum development and student voice as they progress their NetZero and Roadmap Action Plans. Alongside a strong moral purpose, the ESD work is collaborative, aspirational, innovative and strategic, benefitting from strong support from governing boards.

The Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year. The award supported by Nous Group seeks to recognise examples of practical teaching and learning that equips people with the skills that today’s global and digital economy demands, through a broad and balanced curriculum, high quality training, engaging real world learning and rich relationships between education and employers.

Jeremy Kerswell, Chair of FE Sussex and Principal of Plumpton College said; “FE Sussex colleges have a track record of successful collaboration but this project and our work since has been about so much more. In identifying sustainability and the green agenda as the common thread across everything we did, we effectively made a commitment- to each other, to our own colleges and most importantly to our learners. I’m delighted this has been recognised and even more so, that this work is very much continuing across Sussex.” 

William Baldwin, Principal of BHASVIC said: “We are delighted to have won Association of Colleges Education for Sustainable Development Beacon Award in partnership with FE Sussex. As with all sustainability and climate change initiatives, meaningful change is only possible where we work together to be more than the sum of our parts and this award is representative of seven college’s commitment to these issues. At BHASVIC the success of the Carbon Literacy course is mirrored in initiatives including our student-led Climate Action Group, green careers week, and embedding of climate issues into curriculum delivery. The front of our prospectus is emblazoned with the words ‘Working Together to Save the Planet’ and I’m proud of our college community and FE Sussex to be putting this vital work at the heart of their ethos, helping to create a better future for our students.”] 

Mark White, Interim Chair of AoC’s Charitable Trust said: “The AoC Beacon Awards showcase exactly why colleges are so important to every community and why people value them. This award recognises examples of excellent practical teaching and learning. The work of the winning college shows how important colleges are in providing students with the necessary skills for the real world.” 

Greener Sussex

Over 2021/22, FE Sussex partners collaborated on a DfE Skills Accelerator project to improve Green industry, technology and skills locally.  This was a response to BEIS, a complement to our Local Skills Improvement Partnership and an opportunity to enrich collaboration and develop new and interesting practice.  Overall, the project invested more than £7M in new learning resources, staff training, employer updating and student awareness-raising across the county and comprised five workstrands: Carbon Literacy, Electric Vehicles, Decarbonisation, ZeroCarbon Land Management and Hydrogen Technologies.

Greener Sussex was a great opportunity for Sussex colleges to develop new and interesting practice around skills for the Green Economy, to enrich collaboration and develop wider-ranging relationships between us.  The FE Sussex Trailblazer and the Carbon Literacy strand in particular, is generating a lot of interest both locally and nationally and was the only activity to involve all the colleges.  The workstrand developed a community of practice to introduce the Carbon Literacy Award, embedding into curriculum, training and employer-led Masterclasses. Some exciting and varied practice emerged across the colleges and there is a long-term commitment to this work across the group.

Please contact 

Jane Dickson

Education for Sustainable Development Manager