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Responsible Futures Support Afternoon I: Partnership working for progressing Education for Sustainable Development

December 22, 2022

Responsible Futures is a supported change programme and accreditation, partnering institutions and their students to collaborate on incorporating sustainability into all student learning. Throughout the year, participating partnerships (students and their institutions) come together to exchange learning, discuss challenges and successes and share resources and opportunities to ensure students leave their place of learning able to contribute to a more sustainable world.

This network learning takes place through informal cohort catch upcalls, host partnership webinars and support afternoons and prepares partnerships undergo a student-led audit to become a Responsible Futures accredited institution.

Webinar Slide 'Responsible Futures Support Afternoon I: Partnership working for progressing ESD'

The first support afternoon of the 2022-23 academic year took place on 6th December .The 3-hour session explored partnership working for education for sustainable development(ESD). Partnership working was the focus on this support afternoon due to its many benefits in progressing ESD, including:

· Sharing capacity, resources and responsibility for ESD across staff and students

· Creating more fit for purpose education that is relevant and engaging to all stakeholders

· Getting buy-in from senior leaders

· Ensuring momentum and ongoing progress amidst staff turnover and student graduation

The session started by firstly exploring how to set up ESD working groups that can lead on progressing embedding sustainability in learning, and the benefits of ESD working groups plus the challenges that could potentially occur.

Slido activity exploring the meaning of 'democratising education'

The second topic was about the importance of student voice in partnership working and how it can look in practice.

Participants discussed ‘democratising education’ and how it links to  engaging and involving both staff and students to develop and shape their learning environments. Student and staff collaboration creates an interactive learning environment where we can both manage our teaching and listen to the student voice to enhance learning. Participants were asked how would they define ‘democratising education’? Answers included ‘Empowering student voice’ and ‘Drawing in students as equal and active partners in their learning’.  

During the second half of the support afternoon, 2022-23 Responsible Futures host partnerships, University of the West of England and Students Union and University of Derby and Students’ Union presented their experiences with partnership working for ESD and through Responsible Futures. Both partnerships provided thoughtful reflections on their journey engaging with Responsible Futures and how their partnership working has evolved over the years, leading to useful discussions amongst participants.

Thank you to our host partnerships and to all students and staff that attended the session and contributed to the insightful discussions.

Our next support afternoon will take place on Thursday 23rd March 2023 and will explore employability and education for sustainable development.

For more information on Responsible Futures, please visit our website.