The Nature Premium
Government research shows that 83% of children have stated that being in nature makes them ‘very happy’1. Connecting with nature improves mental and physical wellbeing and delivers important benefits for recreation, social wellbeing, and employment. It is also a great place to learn.
What is the Nature Premium?
The Nature Premium is a proposal to guarantee regular time in nature for all children and young people with additional funding and support to level up those with least access to nature.
The Nature Premium would:
- Improve children and young people’s mental and physical wellbeing.
- Give children and young people agency to deal with the climate and biodiversity emergencies providing opportunities to address these in practical ways.
- Encourage healthier alternative habits to time spent on electronic devices.
- Develop skills in support of the green economy and a sustainable future.
- Help to achieve the objectives of the Government’s Sustainability and Climate Change strategy.
The impact of COVID-19 on mental health, the demands of young people in response to COP26, and the climate and biodiversity crises mean we urgently need the Nature Premium to help our children grow up greener.
In November, the Department for Education published a Sustainability and Climate Change draft strategy2 (SCC) and is now consulting with key stakeholders. To influence and embed the Nature Premium within this strategy, we must act fast and generate widespread support.
The Nature Premium is in line with government policy,3 commissioned reports,4 strategic aims, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.5 It especially presents an opportunity for a transformative legacy and to manifest the Government’s Levelling Up Agenda6.
Not all children, especially those in urban or deprived areas, are able to benefit from regular time in nature. For a fraction (1%) of the DfE’s annual budget, The Nature Premiumwould ensure that all children, especially those that need it most, have regular access to nature7. The Nature Premium will address this by:
- Providing funding and resources for schools to guarantee regular opportunities for children to learn in nature, wherever possible in their own locality.
- Facilitating autonomy and encouraging innovation in schools to deliver a programme of outdoor learning.
- Ensuring that early-years settings, schools, and colleges have the financial capacity and professional support from the Outdoor Education Industry to implement the Nature Premium.
- Ensuring all education establishments include nature-based experiences across the curriculum.
" The Nature Premium campaign seeks...to improve children’s mental and physical health, and to nurture the innate love of nature that all young people have within them. I think it's a marvellous initiative, with the potential to both transform children’s lives and to lay the foundations for a society that will care for our environment in the future”.
Professor Sir John Lawton CBE FRS, biologist
“I believe that the Nature Premium will deliver such a transformation to the benefit of our children and their future development.”
Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta FRS FBA, author of The Economics of Biodiversity
“We’ve been urban for only a hair’s breadth of human evolution. Bringing nature into the lives of our children as the Norwegians do, is one of the greatest and most fundamental gifts any education can give.”
Isabella Tree, author
"If I had one wish for humankind before I die, it would be that we all learn natural History and go out in nature every day from the beginning of our education. This is why I support the Nature Premium and believe, if enacted, it could mark a turning point in education.”
Tim Smit, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, the Eden Project,
See the website
1 The People and Nature Survey for England: Children’s survey (Experimental Statistics), 2020
2 Sustainability & Climate Change: A draft strategy for the education & children’s services systems, 2021
3 A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment, 2018
4 The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review, 2021
5 Berlin Declaration on Education for Sustainable Development, 2021
6 Levelling Up the United Kingdom, 2022 Page 2