Shropshire outdoor education charity welcomes progress on Natural History GCSE

A leading environmental education charity has welcomed progress towards the development of a new GCSE which would encourage students to spend more time outdoors studying the natural world. 

The Field Studies Council, which has its headquarters located at Preston Montford near Shrewsbury, is supporting proposals for the new Natural History GCSE which have recently been submitted to the Department for Education (DfE). 

If accepted by education ministers, the new subject could be taught in school as early as September 2023 and would be the first new GCSE subject to be introduced in schools since computer science in 2014. 

Mark Castle, Chief Executive of the FSC, which welcomes more than 150,000 learners each year to its network of field study centres across the UK, said: “It’s essential that we encourage young people to spend time outdoors learning about the natural world so they can develop the skills and passion needed to care and protect the environment now and, in the future, and this is the exact thinking behind the new GCSE qualification. 

“Not only this, giving young people time and opportunity to step outside the classroom to study natural history will undoubtedly improve health and wellbeing of future generations. 

“We’re very pleased to see the proposals are progressing and the campaign to get this subject on the curriculum is continuing to move forward in a positive way.” 

Proposals for the new GCSE subject have been drawn up by leading awarding body Oxford Cambridge and RSA with the support of broadcaster and nature writer Mary Colwell, Eden Project founder Tim Smit and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. 

FSC have been involved since the early days of the campaign by helping to make the case for this much needed qualification. The charity also provided input into a consultation conducted over the summer months and FSC representatives from the charity now sit on an advisory board for the qualification.  

For more information about the Field Studies Council, its courses and work visit the website