Education for Sustainable Development

UNESCO Decade for sustainable development 2005-2014


A Glossary item on Education for Sustainable Development which provides a definition, commentary and links to resources.


“Sustainable development provides a framework for redefining progress and redirecting our economies to enable all people to meet their basic needs and improve their quality of life, while ensuring that the natural systems, resources and diversity upon which they depend are maintained and enhanced for their benefit and that of future generations.”
Sustainable Development Commission

“Education for sustainable development enables people to develop the knowledge, values and skills to participate in decisions about the ways we do things, individually and collectively, both locally and globally, that will improve the quality of life now without damaging the planet for the future.”
Sustainable Development Education Panel



"The meanings of nature, the environment, development and sustainability are central to the human sense of identity or being in the world. All are the bearers of multiple meanings and much academic and everyday knowledge. While the search for a single body of professional knowledge that will equip teachers to deliver ESD is unrealistic,… (it can be argued that)… all trainees should be exposed to sustainability as a frame of mind underpinned by values that support the development of both human and non-human nature. Trainees themselves should decide what discourses and politics of the environment, development and education best give expression to these values after critically considering a wide range of alternatives. ESD has close affinities with citizenship education but also requires contributions from the sciences, arts and humanities."
TTA ESD Briefing p. 3

The following two papers provide and introduction to the theory and practice of education for sustainable development and seek to prompt discussion of related values, knowledge and skills that should be developed through programmes of initial teacher training:

Huckle, J. (2005) TTA Think Piece on Education for Sustainable Development  
This is a brief introduction.

Huckle, J. (2005)  Education for Sustainable Development : A briefing paper for the Teacher Training Agency
This is a much more extensive paper with many useful links.


Further Information: 

The sections of the TTA supported Subject Induction Programme sites on ESD.
(This will be updated as new resources are produced)

Art & Design
National Society for education in Art & Design ITT support
No resources on ESD as yet

citizED Tutor Induction: Citizenship education for sustainable development in initial teacher training

Tutor Induction: Community Action for Sustainable Development

Design and Technology
Materials avialable after login at 

There is also
Sustainability in Design and Technology
A CD resource for teacher education from Practical Action : The Schumacher Centre for Technology and Development

Economics, Business and Enterprise Association
A book review of Webster, K. (2004) “Rethink Refuse Reuse, Education for Sustainable Development Field Studies Council Publications reviewed by Nancy Wall 2005
Initial Teacher Education : English
No resources on ESD as yet

Think Piece – Education for Sustainable Development
Think Piece - Education for Sustainable Development in the KS1/2 Curriculum

History Initial Teacher Education
No resources on ESD as yet

An article on ESD by Steve Kennewell

Article 29 on this site. The above URL, is on ESD generally. It makes no reference to the contribution of maths to ESD.

No resources on ESD as yet

Modern Foreign Languages
No resources on ESD as yet

NALDIC (National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum)
ITT Support for English as an Additional Language :
No resources on ESD as yet

Physical Education
ESD is within the third section of this paper on 'Knowledge and Understanding; Broad NC and Cross- Curricula areas'.

Religious Education
No resources on ESD as yet

Association for Science Education


ESD, Education for Sustainable Development

Find out more