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This project worked with students to co-create an authentic, practice-led and inclusive set of quality principles that support the implementation of Education for Sustainability (EfS) and drive curriculum quality for sustainability across the higher education sector – whilst calling out the growing potential for ‘curriculum greenwash’.


The project had a strong focus on developing graduates who can lead change for sustainability, not just reproduce knowledge. It aimed to push the sector to move sustainability education out of the margins and beyond simply badging course content with ‘single-issue’ UN Global Sustainable Development Goals.


Working with students in all three partner institutions, the project drew on best practice and an assessment approach developed at University of Gloucestershire. Students tested and refined the principles in different university settings and courses, aiming to close gaps between current learning experiences, and judging whether they aligned with what students most value for their development and future lives and careers.

Project outputs

Taking a student co-creation approach, the project produced two key outputs:


Report: Students Driving Curriculum Quality for Sustainability

Publication date: 13 Jul 2023

We are excited to be working on this critical issue with our students and partners at University of the Arts, London, and King’s College London, both known for their sustainability innovations. Our University has been a disruptor in pushing to mainstream transformational course experiences that can help to move the needle for sustainability in society. But our sector needs to do more than just experiment now – we need to grasp what matters most to students and what counts as powerful sustainability education – and to partner with our students to drive quality forward.

Dr Alex Ryan
Director of Sustainability, University of Gloucestershire

In this overview video, the project team, including the students from the three partner institutions, discuss the project's foundations, activities, findings and outputs.

We invited colleagues working on this project to share with us what meaningful ESD looks like from their perspective and how their work will better enable ESD.

Project lead:

University of Gloucestershire

Project partners:

University of the Arts, London and Kings College London

Other Collaborative Enhancement Projects

QAA supports a number of projects every year, covering a range of topics and interest areas. Each is led by a QAA Member, working in collaboration with other members institutions. You can find more information on all projects, and access resources and outputs, on our website.