The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has urged schools to ditch single-use plastic and primary pupils to try a range of activities including climbing trees as he made a series of post-Christmas announcements.

Mr Hinds called on all schools to eliminate the use of single-use plastics by 2022, saying schools had the opportunity to lead ‘by example’ and pointing to the work done by Georgeham Primary School in Devon, believed to be the first in the UK to have completely stopped using single-use plastic. The education secretary’s suggestion to schools was not accompanied by any additional funding to help tackle the issue, instead he said the Department for Education (DfE) would ‘increase communication with the school supply chain regarding the plastic packaging of milk cartons and other day to day supplies for schools’.

In another announcement during the Christmas break Mr Hinds gave details of the new activity ‘passport’ which will be sent to primary schools this month. The ‘My Activity Passport’ provides a list of suggested activities for children in each primary year group and has been endorsed by organisations including the Scouts, the National Trust and the charity Action for Children. Among the 20 activities for each year group are flying a kite for reception pupils, climbing a tree for Year 3 pupils, and learning to knit for children in Year 6. Participation by schools will not be compulsory. Commenting on the initiative the education secretary said ‘As the New Year approaches, we inevitably think about our resolutions for the year ahead – getting fit, spending more time with our families, or taking up a new hobby. Within this list of activities children may find something they want to come back to again and again, but I hope that, whatever they do, they will enjoy and learn from them.’

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