There’s a slogan I’ve seen pasted across posters advertising holidays in Las Vegas. It reads ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.’ Working for Oxfam’s Education & Youth Team I frequently feel the same way when I think about how the school curriculum is taught. Only this time the saying would read ‘what happens in the classroom stays in the classroom’.

Here’s why. Our students do some fantastic curriculum work that addresses a wide range of social and environmental issues. Their subjects ask them to engage with the wider society and promote the social value of learning. For example the aims of the Science National Curriculum include the requirement that learners should ‘understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future’. However despite this real life purpose of Science, my impression is that students often don’t have the opportunity to take their learning outside the classroom. The most striking example I encountered recently was a drawer in a teacher’s desk was packed full with carefully filed and graded letters to the students’ MP. They hadn’t even begun their journey to Parliament and looked like they weren’t going anywhere particularly fast. A fantastic opportunity to teach real-life Citizenship had been missed. The letters stayed in the classroom.

Close-up on Climate is the schools and youth project organised by the Climate Coalition, the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change. We’re asking young people to draw upon their learning to make a short film about climate change and upload it on the Close-Up on Climate website. Equally important, we want the message to get out of the classroom and be seen by real decision makers. So during June and July we’re asking young film makers to show their films to their MPs, MSPs and Welsh AMs. School students are the generation who’ll be affected most by the decisions adults are currently making about the climate. We want to recognise their right to be heard and have their say, especially as world leaders meet later this year to discuss the future of the climate at the United Nations ‘COP’ conference in Paris.

We hope Close-up on Climate will capture a rich breadth of learning and young people’s voices. For example films could reflect learning in Science or Geography, or report on an Eco-Schools or similar project. Close-up would be a really exciting project for young people doing a CREST Award. Film making is also a great collaborative activity in its own right, although we’re just as happy to receive a simple clip filmed on a student’s phone ‘selfie-style’. It’s the idea that’s more important than the medium.

We’re holding a schools event in Westminster just before world leaders meet in Paris and all schools that submit films will be invited to attend. We’ll be sharing the best films with influential MPs and key decision makers. People across the UK are beginning to speak up about climate change and Close-up on Climate is an opportunity for young people to join this vital debate.

Learn more and upload films at the Close-up on Climate website or email

Deadline to submit films is July 24 2015.