I read Mary Colwell’s article on introducing a natural history GCSE (Life lessons, March 2019) and I looked fondly at the illustration by Harry Tennant that segues from children in the classroom to children exploring nature. And I wondered, where does this place exist?
The reality is that people in this country have no interest in nature, or have an interest but feel distant from it, because we don’t have any access to nature.
This distancing from the countryside is a substantial part of the reason why people have not stood up in arms and complained about the destruction of wildlife habitats in this country. David Bennett, Cambridge
Natural history could certainly be introduced into the curriculum from primary school up to GCSE, with an option at A level. Modern syllabi are restrictive and framed around the relevant exam, denying teachers the freedom to exercise professional judgement.
As a biology graduate who taught the topic for many years, I always thought it incongruous that it is perfectly possible to study the subject without any experience of the world around one. The problem now is that we not only lack the teachers to deliver this subject, but also the trainers to train them. Jim Pearson, via email
I urge Mary Colwell and BBC Wildlife Magazine readers to press for this GCSE to be set up for the benefit of future generations and the preservation of our wildlife.
I have long believed that this vital subject should be taught to schoolchildren of all ages. Our world is under threat; we have to teach our children to care for it. If we don’t do this through the school system, how else are we going to ensure that young people are at least aware of what they are going to lose? Caroline Amphlett, via email
Could a GSCE open children’s eyes to the joys and challenges of the natural world around them?