RCE Application Summary
Note: The application summary should synthesize the main application document
and include only the most important and relevant information. However, for each
answer please indicate the corresponding page number of the main application
document where more specific information can be found.
Candidate RCE’s Name: RCE Scotland
Date of Submission (day / month / year): 03/06/2012
1. General Information (please fill out the grey parts in the table)
1-1. Please provide information on the main contact person.
Name: Peter Higgins
Name of Institute: University of Edinburgh
Address: Moray House School of Education
University of Edinburgh
Phone number: 0131 651 6678 Fax number:
Alternate phone number (if any): 0131 650 9795
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Alternate e-mail:
1-2. Please provide information on the alternate contact person.
Name: Amy Woodgate
Name of Institute: University of Edinburgh
Address: Information Services
5 Buccleuch Place
Phone number: 0131 650 6548 Fax number:
Alternate phone number (if any): 07763918282
E-mail: email@example.com Alternate e-mail:
*The main contact person has authority and responsibility to communicate with UNU-
IAS regarding the RCE, for instance to designate your representative(s) at conference.
The alternate contact is a person to succeed the authority and responsibility when the
main contact person cannot communicate with us.
2. Geographical Scope of RCE and Major Characteristics of the
2-1. Please briefly describe the region including environmental, socio-cultural,
demographical, economic and educational characteristics.
Scotland is a country within the United Kingdom with a population of approximately
5.2 million. The natural environment of the region is diverse; from large urban areas to
uninhabitable, remote islands, and from highlands to lochs (lakes) and lowlands.
However, even in very urban areas, there is an appreciation for the region’s natural
beauty with the majority of inhabitants directly exposed to the natural environment
regularly, e.g. Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is bounded by the Firth of Forth and
the Pentland Hills, with numerous public green spaces. This exposure is likely to
contribute to a general appreciation for and desire to preserve natural resources,
embedded within the Scottish psyche.
In 2011, the rate of population growth was indicated at 0.54%, with net migration at 4.1
migrants per 1,000 population. Immigration from other UK countries to Scotland is the
highest migrant contribution, with 'White British Other' contributing to 7.34% of the
total population of Scotland, second highest ethnic group after 'Scottish' (88.09%). The
region also has a 99% literacy rate (2010 estimate).
Scotland has partial self-government within the UK with devolved legislative powers
over matters such as education, health and transport, as specified in the Scotland Acts
1998 and 2012. Through these devolved powers, Scotland launched a curriculum
reform on education for 3 to 18 year olds 'Curriculum for Excellence' in 2004, which
identifies four key purposes of education to help young people to become 'successful
learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.
Scotland’s educational landscape currently comprises 19 Higher Education Institutions,
41 Further Education Colleges, 371 Secondary schools, 2,095 Primary schools and 151
cf. 12 : corresponding page number of the main application document.
2-2. Please attach a separate sheet of two maps: (1) the map showing the location of the
region in the context of country or continent and (2) the map that delineates the
geographical scope of the RCE.
cf. 30-31 : corresponding page number of the main application document.
2-3. Please state the reason for this geographical scope selection for your RCE.
Since the beginning, ESD in a Scottish context has been framed as a Scotland-wide
approach. One contributing factor to this is the region's size - Scotland has a population
of approximately 5.2million, which is relatively small when compared to the
population of, for example, Greater London (7.8million). As a result, SD initiatives
undertaken often span the whole of Scotland or engage wider collaboration as the
region is relatively discrete and manageable. Community is important to Scotland, as
highlighted by the Scottish Government's commitments to improving and augmenting a
sense of community throughout Scotland, as a means to achieving a more sustainable
future. It would therefore be deemed counter-intuitive to establish an RCE which did
not embrace similar scope and values.
Despite being small, Scotland boasts a geographically diverse terrain, with highlands,
lowlands, lochs and islands, and a diverse population, with internationalisation seen as
a means of increasing economic growth and improving international relations. In 2011,
immigration to Scotland had reached a 33 year high, contributing to an overall growth
in population. All of these factors are significant for the RCE to deliver a service which
adds worth to the community - being informed by the widest possible scope and
providing a cohesive, comprehensive support network.
cf. : corresponding page number of the main application document.
2-4. Please describe the major sustainability challenges of the region.
Scotland recognises that education is the biggest challenge for sustainable
development. Scotland has demonstrated a formal commitment to addressing this issue,
most evidently since the 1992 Earth Summit, and has made efforts to move towards a
more sustainable way of living.
One potential uncertainty concerning SD at a local level is the 2014 referendum on
Scottish Independence. The challenge is the uncertainty of outcome for Scotland and
the potential pros/cons of a vote either way. The ambitious sustainability targets
outlined by the current Scottish Government could be strengthened as easily as
hindered by a formal move towards an independent Scotland, i.e. it is currently unclear
what the true cost would be of leaving the UK (if this happens). Although momentum
is currently high for SD in Scotland, it is important the RCE plays a significant role in
ensuring this momentum continues irrespective of outcome.
cf. 14-16 : corresponding page number of the main application document.
3. RCE Vision and Objectives
3-1. Please identify and briefly state the RCE vision which encompasses consideration
of the three pillars of sustainability – economy, society and environment.
Our vision is of a Scotland where sustainable and socially-just practices are the norm
throughout society. We aim to develop our skills in the practices and processes of
Education for Sustainable Development, and to work collaboratively with educators
and other stakeholders in both formal and non-formal education to ensure ESD reaches
its full transformative potential in society.
Here we use ‘Education for Sustainable Development’, to refer to the practice of
learning and teaching in its broadest sense that supports learners in understanding the
Earth as a closed and intimately interconnected system, the principles of global
citizenship and social responsibility , and the role of the economy in promoting or
hindering sustainable development.
In this context ‘social responsibility’ is seen as the fulfilment of an individual’s (or
organisation’s) responsibilities to society and indeed the planet for current and future
generations. This is a key concept as it recognises that our actions ‘here and now’ may
have an impact somewhere else and at some time in the future. This means that ESD is
not value-free, and that as an educational process it must foster a positive values
orientation towards sustainability, and encourage learners to take responsibility for
In our local context (Scotland), in both formal and non-formal education, ESD employs
means such as classroom and whole institutional/agency approaches, environmental
education and outdoor learning to empower learners and teachers to develop the
knowledge and values to live more sustainably.
cf. 1-2 : corresponding page number of the main application document.
3-2. What are the long and short-term objectives of the RCE?
By the close of the first year of operation we will have:
1. Applied for and gained Scotland UN RCE status.
2. Established Scotland UN RCE governance and administrative systems.
3. Established the Scotland UN RCE secretariat.
4. Established an effective communication network to exchange information,
learning and practice.
5. Develop links with Global RCE Network.
6. Identified funding for 1.5 x FTE members of staff.
7. Developed a forward work plan with key stakeholders.
By the close of the second year of operation we will have:
1. Initiated Scotland UN RCE partnership projects.
2. Brought stakeholders together for national collaborative SDE events.
3. Made contact with Scottish education agencies and organisations to
establish strategic partnerships.
4. Begun dissemination of research findings, knowledge, experience and good
cf. 23-24: corresponding page number of the main application document.
4. Governance and Management Structure
4-1. Please briefly explain how multiple stakeholders have been mobilized to develop
Meetings were initially held individually, then collectively, with stakeholders to discuss
the potential worth of establishing and RCE in Scotland and how it would benefit
stakeholders/organisations individually. Meetings and wider discussions held were
used to raise the issue of RCE establishment and currently established ESD community
networks were used to increase breadth of engagement. A larger stakeholder
conference was held (13 December 2011) and all representatives were asked to express
their views. Upon agreement that the conversation should be continued, a small writing
group was established and the application draft written in collaboration with, and ideas
sought from, the ESD community networks. The final draft was then circulated on
these channels for comment.
cf. 17-18 : corresponding page number of the main application document.
4-2. Please list the names of key institutions/organizations of the RCE and select the
type of institutions from the drop-down option. Please indicate (check ) whether they
have already committed to the RCE initiatives or are still considered potential
Name Type of institution Commitment
University of Edinburgh Higher Education Institution yes
University of Strathclyde Higher Education Institution yes
Environmental Association of NGO yes
Uniersities and Colleges potential
WWF Scotland NGO yes
Higher Education Academy Multi-stakeholder entity yes
Scotland's Colleges Multi-stakeholder entity yes
Sustainable Development Education NGO yes
4-3. How does the RCE secure and manage financial and personnel resources to
promote RCE activities?
Initial funding has been secured from the University of Edinburgh and the
Sustainable Development Education Network for two 0.5FTE posts. Human
resource has also been pledged through contracted arrangements by Scotland's
Colleges. The Scottish Funding Council have expressed interest in funding RCE
Scotland projects. There are also discussions being held regarding Scottish
cf. 29 : corresponding page number of the main application document.
4-4. Please briefly describe the management structure of the RCE with lines of
authority and responsibilities. Please also specify the secretariat of the RCE.
In the first instance, the following government and management structure will be
established for the RCE Scotland:
- A consultative group (representation from all member organisations)
- A general management group (smaller stakeholder group)
- Task groups - dependent on the priorities and projects identified by the
community and facilitated through the management group
- RCE coordinator(s)
The RCE secretariat is yet to be confirmed.
cf. 25 : corresponding page number of the main application document.
4-5. Please give a brief explanation of the monitoring and evaluation mechanism of the
The RCE Scotland aims to adopt structures agile to change based on the need of
the ESD community. All monitoring and evaluation systems for the RCE will
supplement the existing systems and mechanisms adopted by individual
stakeholders, i.e. project work undertaken by associated organisations. The RCE
is not a prescriptive entity and aims to support and augment activities. Monitoring
will be achieved through stakeholder, partner organisation, and the wider
community feedback. Evaluation will largely be conducted impartially through
the consultative and general management groups, with external input sought
where required. Our RCE vision is one of community collaboration.
cf. 28 : corresponding page number of the main application document.
How do the multiple stakeholders interact in various joint/collaborative activities?
The method by which stakeholders interact will depend largely on the activity
undertaken. Beyond formal interactions outlined in our “Government and Management
structure” section (cf. 25), the RCE will offer tools to support collaboration, e.g.
facilitating collaborative funding bids, linking up interested parties for research or
event potential, and improving transparency of what activities are currently in progress
and their lead contacts. The RCE should be agile to respond to the need of the
community and how best to support the activities they wish to undertake, often
discussed at a local/individual level.
cf. 25 and 28 : corresponding page number of the main application document.
6. Ongoing and Planned Activities
Please list the main ongoing and planned activities of the RCE: (1) activities specific to
individual organizations (your RCE stakeholders) and (2) collaborative and coordinated
joint activities of the RCE. Specify the organization in charge and describe the activity
with a few keywords (i.e. environmental education, capacity building, rural
development, research and development (R&D), transformative education, etc).
cf. 26, 40-41 : corresponding page number of the main application document.
6-1. Activities specific to individual organizations
Ongoing activities Keywords
Future Connections Conference St Andrews research
Green Dragon’s Den NUS capacity building
Natural Change WWF capacity building
Planned activities Keywords
ESD activites mapping University of R&D
Edinburgh capacity building
Development of online courses Member Universities environmental education
6-2. Collaborative and coordinated joint activities of the RCE
Ongoing activities Keywords
Liberating the Curriculum EAUC, NUS, People student engagement
& Planet, and transformative education
Common Cause: Values and Common Cause Core transformative education
Frameworks Group and SDEN
Planned activities Keywords
Annual Conference All national conference
Student engagement activities EAUC, NUS, People student engagement
& Planet, HEA, and capacity building