"As governors of the school we observe first hand the outcomes of encouraging the children to be environmentally friendly. It's important to recognise that by reducing energy use in the school we are not only empowering children to care about the environment we are also creating a sense of social responsibility which manifests itself in saving water, heating, lighting, reducing waste and keeping the school clean and tidy and litter free. The added benefit is a reduced expenditure on utilities which can be put to better use for education"
Chair of Governors Eastchurch Primary School
Using energy more sustainably can bring educational, environmental, financial and social benefits to a school, the local community and the wider world. But how can your school start making a difference in this way? If you are a school manager, governor or parent, what can you do to support change? The suggestions below all have links to examples of best practice or additional guidance.
Do you have updated policies on energy use?
Develop a systematic approach to the wise use of energy through policy guidance. You might want to write a separate energy policy or include energy as an aspect of a wider policy. It is important to involve and inform everyone through a whole school commitment. Have a look at a primary school policy document, covering both energy and other aspects of environmental policy. Environmental education policy – Briary Primary School (pdf file).
How can you use Ashden films for training and staff CPD?
The Ashden films, available on the film resources page, are short (five minutes each) and focussed. They can be used to stimulate discussion and action, in a variety of ways. If you don't use this website for anything else, at least spend five minutes watching one of the films!
- The introductory film gives a short, visual introduction to climate change, and shows how UK schools and communities in developing countries are changing energy use and reducing environmental impact.
- The schools films show a range of practical energy solutions in real schools, and can be used to prompt thinking about energy solutions for your school. This may be particularly relevant for members of the premises committee, the school management team or members of the school council.
- The international films focus on appropriate energy solutions in different parts of the developing world. They show how sustainable energy can bring huge social benefits, for instance better health from improved cooking stoves, and educational benefits from improved light for studying. The films could be integrated in specific staff development programmes, or used for general awareness-raising.
Is energy a key part of the School Improvement Plan?
Are you planning changes to improve the ways in which your school obtains and uses energy? Are there action plans that feed into the School Improvement Plan? Do your pupils have a part in this, for example, making presentations to the governors about the work of the school's Energy Team? Does everyone in your school have the chance to be involved in suggestions and actions for best energy practice? See how one school has included sustainable energy in its School Improvement Plan. Sustainability in SIP – Eastchurch Primary School (pdf file).
Are children involved in energy monitoring?
Are you 'walking the walk' as well as 'talking the talk'? Look at some of the benefits which other schools have found from having an energy team. Benefits of an energy team (pdf file).
How well are your achievements shared with the community?
How well does your school communicate its good practice and plans? The link below gives a number of ideas for communicating to parents, local residents and the wider community – how many of these do you already use? Sharing achievements (pdf file).
I know that my school must soon display an energy rating certificate – what is this and how do I get it?
Under the new EU 'Energy Performance of Buildings Directive', all state schools in England will soon be required to display a certificate which rates their energy use on a scale of A to G. To assist your school with obtaining its rating, register with the Sustainable Learning programme at www.sustainablelearning.info