Lochside Academy pupils set UK first in the battle to tackle climate change

Senior pupils at Aberdeen’s Lochside Academy have become the first students in the UK to sign up in their entirety to a new online training programme on climate change it was announced today (Tuesday 25 May).

All of the Academy’s S5 and S6 pupils along with 25 members of staff have signed up to the Skills Development Scotland funded programme which will see them obtain a Climate Solutions Accelerator Certificate.

Using a completely online approach, the course is developed and accredited by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) in partnership with the Universities of Edinburgh and Stirling, The Institute of Directors and Jump Digital, who also deliver it. The course offers students a significant understanding of the crucial issue of climate change, the science and policies and prepares them for how the subject will transform their lives while also providing optimism in terms of solution and opportunities in tackling the problem.

Each pupil who successfully completes the programme will be awarded a certificate by the RSGS and their partners, and the pupil’s insights in the pilot course will be used to inform how it develops nationwide.

Councillor M Taqueer Malik, Aberdeen City Council’s Education Operational Delivery Convener, said: “Congratulations to Neil Hendry and all at Lochside Academy for their ground-breaking participation in this innovative and vitally important programme.

“We pride ourselves as an authority on our imaginative and stimulating curriculum to help give our young people the best starts in life and it is difficult to think of a study more relevant to young lives than the challenges presented by climate change.”

Lochside Academy Head Teacher, Neil Hendry, said: “We are immensely proud of being the first secondary school in the UK to take part in the programme.

“The Council’s Education team asked if we would work on a climate programme for our senior pupils and things really took off when we started working with Jump Digital Ltd who have been fantastic to work with.

“It’s an issue which has ramifications for all of us and none more so than the younger members of our society and by preparing our pupils to face up to the challenge we will be in a much better position to tackle current and future changes.”

Mike Robinson, CEO of RSGS said: “I am delighted Lochside have taken this opportunity – this issue will define the next decade, and it is vital we understand it better – not just the science, but importantly what we can do about it. By focusing on solutions and encouraging everyone to help deliver them we can all play a positive part in the changes that face us all.”

Robert Fleeting the Strategic Lead for Jump digital Ltd and the primary point of contact for the Lochside students, said: “Thank you to Lochside for embracing the opportunity, we are excited about getting feedback from not only the pupils, but also the teaching staff.”

Rob Orr, Sector Manager- Energy at Skills Development Scotland, said:

“A key aim of the recently published Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan is to inspire young people to understand and engage with the transition to net zero, and to embed those skills through climate education.

“Credit goes to the pupils and staff at Lochside Academy who have got fully behind this innovative Climate Solutions programme”

Photograph shows: Lochside students L-R Oluwole Orekoya (16 years old S5)- Cassie Shand (16 years old S5)- Ramsay McDonald (17 years old S5)