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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 set to be announced by Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi on Thursday.
The Department for Education said that the qualification will 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 learn about environmental issues through study of urbanisation in geography and habitats in science already, but the Government said that the new course would “go further” in teaching them about the history and evolution of species and the impact of life on natural environments, as well as how they are changing and evolving.
Mr Zahawi, who is expected to announce the new GCSE on April 21 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 new GCSEs to be launched since the reform of GCSE qualifications 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”.