Sustainability Curriculum

I have been involved with the consultation and initial implementation phases of the new Australian Curriculum over the past few years. Sustainability is one of 3 cross curricular priorities in the new curriculum. The cross curriculum priorities are embedded in the curriculum and will have a strong but varying presence depending on their relevance to each of the learning areas.


Three main areas of relevance are:

Sustainable patterns of living

Education for sustainability

Ecosystems and biosphere sustainability


Teachers have been teaching sustainability in a number of guises over many years to varying levels. In a previous career I taught high school science, where anything remotely environmental seemed to lay with you, provided you had the time to fit it in an often overcrowded curriculum. Depending on the teacher and their background and expertise and their own opinions the matter could often go untouched.


I don’t believe the new curriculum documents are the answer to all of our problems (far from it). I do believe however that it’s a positive move including sustainability as a priority area that is the responsibility of teachers of all areas of the curriculum.


The curriculum is yet to be trialed, but starting next year we’ll begin to get an idea of how this area is incorporated in a more formal way. There are huge amounts of resources out there for educators which is fantastic as I believe this is exactly where we need to be putting our resources, into education.


How is sustainability incorporated into your education system?


Tagged with:
Posted in government policy, sustainable development, sustainable living
2 comments on “Sustainability Curriculum
  1. jeremy says:

    It’s all about conviction Erin. In Germany, before any new government policy is passed, there has to be thorough disclosure of the impact of that policy on sustainability. My view — which some people would no doubt consider extreme in Australia — is that if sustainability is to be cross-curricular then that is precisely what it should be, and ‘varying presence’ is not an option. Given the scale of the emergency we face, it is imperative that sustainability issues be part of popular consciousness.

  2. erinaulich says:

    I agree, the term ‘varying presence’ appears throughout the documents. I guess I’m used to this kind of terminology in curriculum documents and from experiencing the consultation sessions where a room full of subject associations and stakeholders discuss single words and debate them for extended periods of time, I am forming a picture of where ‘varying presence’ came from. The fact that sustainability is one of the 3 priority areas (weight is being given to these) is a move in the right direction and I am hopeful that it will be incorporated fully accross all learning areas.

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