Experiences of Education for Sustainable Development in the FE and Training Sector

The ETF believes that the Further Education (FE) and skills sector has a critical role to play in combatting climate change and achieving broader sustainability goals. It is uniquely placed to bring about transition and transformation in our society. 

This report provides the results and an analytical narrative of findings from a survey carried out among the FE sector about their experiences of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). We wanted to understand the current landscape, and particularly the experiences and needs of those who work in the sector.  

With the support of the Society for Education and Training (SET), and other partners, we surveyed 830 people who work in the FE sector. Our data showed that whilst there was almost widespread recognition of the potential and importance of this field, the extent to which it is being practiced at an individual and organisational level varies greatly. There are a range of barriers which we also explored, alongside solutions to these challenges.  


Experiences of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in FEThe most significant statistics are presented as an infographic. Our findings broadly fall under one of five headlines: 

  1. Sustainability as a concept is broadly well understood 
  2. There’s widespread belief that the sector is well placed to lead on sustainability solutions 
  3. Diverse subject specialisms all have a role to play 
  4. Different FE providers are at different stages of their ESD journey 
  5. The FE workforce have had very little training on how to deliver quality, impactful ESD. 

Experiences of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in FE

Findings from the survey will enable the ETF to develop our strategy and initiatives to help support the sector’s adoption of ESD to enhance teaching, learning, assessment and leadership. This will inform our strategy, benchmark current ESD practice across the FE workforce, and give FE sector practitioners, providers and stakeholders data with which to plan their own ESD approaches.  

Read the full report ‘Experiences of Education for Sustainable Development in the Further Education and Training Sector’.

To enable FE practitioners and providers best utilize the data, we’ve also produced the following resources:

Watch the webinar recording ‘Experiences of Education for Sustainable Development ESD in the FE and Training sector’