Vol. 13 No. 4 (2022):
Research Article

Planting a seed: Sustainable education for students with Additional Support Needs

Don MacKeen
City of Glasgow College, Scotland, UK

Published 2022-09-08


  • Learning for Sustainability,
  • Curriculum for Excellence,
  • Additional Support Needs,
  • Capabilites Approach

How to Cite

MacKeen, Don. 2022. “Planting a Seed: Sustainable Education for Students With Additional Support Needs”. European Journal of Geography 13 (4):098-119. https://doi.org/10.48088/ejg.d.mac.


Realities of climate change make meeting Sustainable Development Goals even more urgent,
not least in terms of education. In Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) these goals are
promoted in the Learning for Sustainability initiative which aims to embed sustainability in
education. While inclusion is claimed to be a non-negotiable aspect of CfE, the reality is that
for many students with Additional Support Needs (ASN) (in Scottish education this term has
superseded Special Educational Needs), access to a high-quality education is limited. This
paper looks at a case study where urban gardening is used as a teaching tool for students
with ASN. The City Works programme has grown out of nearly twenty years of work with ASN
students, using urban gardening as a vehicle for developing citizenship, groupwork skills and
a greater understanding of sustainability. Staff, students, and community gardeners were
interviewed to ascertain their experience of the project and the value of a sustainable and
inclusive education are discussed. Finally, it is argued that this educational approach should
be developed further, in coordination with other educational professionals.


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