NextGen: HN - Learning for Sustainability

Learning for Sustainability (LfS) includes global citizenship, sustainable development, social justice, human rights, climate change, biodiversity loss, and equality. LfS is an approach that builds learners' capacity to deal with the unpredictable social, economic and environmental challenges facing our rapidly changing world.

What's different about NextGen: HN?

Learning for Sustainability is a core component of all NextGen: HN qualifications.

LfS is an approach that helps learners question, analyse and think critically while working with others. Embedding LfS in NextGen: HN qualifications will help to prepare learners for the increasing demand for green skills, jobs, and careers, as Scotland transitions to a net-zero economy.

The expectation is that all NextGen: HN learners will exit their studies with:

  • a general understanding of sustainability
  • a good grounding in subject-specific sustainability and;
  • the confidence to apply the knowledge, skills, and values developed through their learning in the next stage of their lives.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

All learners have an entitlement to learning for sustainability which is underpinned by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Scottish and UK governments have signed up to this global call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.

The Scottish Government's National Performance Framework was refreshed in 2018 to incorporate all of the UN SDGs. Therefore, all Scottish Government policy and resource decisions are underpinned by the SDGs.

Scotland's Learning for Sustainability Action Plan

NextGen: HN Qualifications use the Scottish Government Target 2030: A movement for people, planet and prosperity, Scotland’s Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 2023-2030, for definitions and guidance.

Making LfS a key driver in the future of Scottish education will not only enable us to heed the call to action from learners but will allow us to achieve much more besides.All of our policy ambitions in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, climate and net zero, biodiversity, circular economy, and economic and social transformation can only be delivered with the commitment of Scotland’s people, supported throughout their education.

Target 2030 A movement for people, planet and prosperity: Scotland's Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 2023-2030

The LfS Action Plan (2023) was developed through extensive consultation with children and young people, along with educators across a range of early years to university learning settings. Underlying research, feeding into the plan, provided strong evidence that the learner voice is strong on LfS and young people want it to be part of their everyday learning.

We should have Learning for Sustainability because if people learn about it, they will act, and it’s true that just a few people can make a change, and more children can have their voices heard.

Member of Children’s Parliament as part of consultation research

SQA Academy LfS resources

We have developed an SQA Academy module to support learners and practitioners in developing their understanding of Learning for Sustainability.

Module 1, An Introduction to the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals and Learning for Sustainability, provides learners and practitioners with an introduction to LfS. This module aims to develop a basic understanding of some of the key social, economic, and environmental challenges we face alongside the role of the UN SDGs and Scotland’s approach to LfS.


Case studies

Resources for learners and practitioners