Nadhim Zahawi to announce course from 2o25 that will give pupils ‘deeper understanding’ of environment
A new natural history GCSE will be launched next week, focusing on how pupils can protect the planet.
The qualification will be available from September 2025 and is expected to be announced by the education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, on Thursday.
The Department for Education said the qualification would allow pupils to learn about organisms and their environments, as well as environmental and sustainability issues, “to gain a deeper knowledge of the natural world around them”.
Pupils will also develop skills for future careers in conservation, “from understanding how to conserve local wildlife to conducting the fieldwork needed to identify species”, the DfE said.
Pupils already learn about environmental issues through the study of urbanisation in geography and habitats in science, but the government said the new course would “go further” in teaching them about the history and evolution of species and the impact of human activity on natural environments.
Zahawi, who is expected to announce the new GCSE on 21 April as he launches the DfE’s sustainability and climate change strategy, said: “Sustainability and climate change are the biggest challenges facing mankind.”
“None of us can be in any doubt just how critical they have become. The new natural history GCSE will offer young people a chance to develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of this amazing planet, its environment and how to conserve it.”
The new GCSE is one of the first to be launched since the reform of the qualification in 2017.
“The government will work closely with independent experts and a range of stakeholder organisations, exam boards including Cambridge OCR, and Ofqual to develop the detailed content for the GCSE,” the DfE said.
The DfE added that the sustainability and climate change strategy will set out to help “young people develop excellent knowledge of Stem and practical opportunities to improve biodiversity and climate resilience”.
For non UK visitors, GCSE’s are a national exam qualification in the UK.