A WOMAN has jumped at the opportunity of becoming one of the first UK climate change teachers.

Emily Defries is the first teacher in Brighton to be appointed in the United Nations accredited role.

Her job is to give up-to-date climate change lessons to pupils at Patcham Junior School in Ladies’ Mile Road, Brighton.

Ms Defries also plans to share ideas with other members of staff so they can understand the new position which is being introduced across the UK.

She said: “The unprecedented climate crisis we face, calls for us to take responsibility and urgent action.

“The UN climate change teacher course has empowered me with key climate facts and case studies which I am delighted to share with other teachers at my school so together we can inspire and prepare children with knowledge and skills that they need in order to become climate literate and take positive action.”

Alister Sutherland, headteacher at Patcham Junior School, said pupils are showing an interest in learning more about the environment.

He said: “‘The timing of Emily’s climate change training couldn’t be better as our pupils have increasingly been interested in finding ways in which they can lead on reducing our impact on the environment.

“I have enthusiastic and focused pupils who have petitioned me for a reduction in single-use plastic across the school, monitoring what we are throwing away and encouraging everyone to recycle what we do use. I fully endorse Emily’s plans for further action and we look forward to working with her on further initiatives.”

Eighty schools are being urged to sign up to take part in the programme which covers topics including climate change science, gender and the environment and children and climate change.

“The first lessons are due to start from the end of the month.

Angus Mackay, director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, said: “Anyone below the age of 20 is part of the ‘climate generation’ living all or most of their lives having to deal with climate change. The Climate Change Teacher Training Academy is an excellent idea because it will give children an intuitive understanding of the issues and it is solutions based.”

The UN Climate Change Teacher Academy is run by education specialist group Harwood Education in partnership with the One United Nations Climate Change Learning Partnership and sponsored by supply company YPO.

The programme is free for all primary and secondary school teachers.