Skip to main content Accessibility Statement
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – support and guidance

This consultation by QAA and Advance HE invites comments on the revised guidance for UK higher education providers on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

To respond to the consultation, complete our online survey.

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Guidance - Consultation

Publication Date: 04 Dec 2020

About the consultation

What is the revised guidance?


The Education for Sustainable Development Guidance, originally developed and published in 2014, has undergone a major review in 2020.

This guidance is intended to serve as a reference point for use in curriculum design, delivery and review. Readers may find it helpful to consider the guidance alongside and in conjunction with the appropriate QAA Subject Benchmark Statements and the 12 Quality Code Advice and Guidance Themes. It may also be useful as an advocacy document for those wishing to support or progress an ESD agenda in their institution.

Following significant developments within the higher education sector and set against the backdrop of the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030), the substantially refreshed guidance reflects changes in understanding about and priorities in sustainable development, and the increased urgency for everybody in society to take positive actions in addressing sustainable development.

How has the revised guidance been developed?


QAA has worked with the sector and Advance HE in revising this guidance. An expert group comprising individuals drawn from the higher education, student and business community advised on its content.

What does the revised guidance cover?


The revised guidance identifies a process and offers a toolkit for designing education for sustainable development into curricula. The guidance is not intended to be used prescriptively and recognises that education for sustainable development can be delivered in different ways according to institutional and disciplinary context.

Why are we consulting?


QAA and Advance HE worked with an expert advisory group in revising the guidance. We now wish to gather wider views from the higher education community and stakeholders in order to further shape the draft prior to final publication in spring 2021. QAA operates in a consultative and transparent manner which is intended to ensure that the final outcome is representative of as wide a pool of views as possible.

Who should respond to the consultation?


We welcome contributions to this consultation from anyone with an interest in student academic experiences. That may include staff within higher education institutions who work on aspects of course design and delivery, and have responsibility for academic quality or particular expertise in sustainability and sustainability education. We would also like to hear from students and employers or their representatives, as well as those working in higher education support organisations.

How should I respond?


You are invited to comment on any aspect of the revised guidance by completing a short online survey. The document below includes a copy of the survey questions to help you prepare your responses in advance.

Consultation on Revised Education for Sustainable Development Guidance - Online Survey Questions

Publication Date: 04 Dec 2020


When are responses required by?


Please submit your response by Friday 22 January 2021.


Further information


If you would like any further information, or wish to discuss the process of revising the guidance in more detail, please email Dr Kate Mori.