This edition of Extended Schools Update looks at some of the resources available and events coming up this term to help schools promote Every Child Matters and extended services outcomes, through environmental learning initiatives and activities
Green Day – 4th June to 2nd July
By 2020 the aim is for every school to be a sustainable school, meeting the challenges of the eight Sustainable Schools’ ‘Doorways’ to achieve a carbon neutral footprint. The doorways are:
- Food and drink
- Buildings and grounds
- Energy and water
- Inclusion and participation
- Travel and traffic
- Local wellbeing
- Purchasing and waste
- Global dimension.
The national schools’ Green Day, taking place between 4 June and 2 July, is an annual national event organised by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) to promote understanding of the link between climate change and the places where children and young people live and learn. For example, St Cleopas Primary School in Liverpool found it saved £79 by turning off the electricity for an hour per day, while Ashley Primary School in Walton on Thames replaced its laptops with 15 watt models, saving £440 per year on electricity costs, per machine. Over the course of two years, they have managed to reduce their energy costs by 75%. These are a part of a raft of changes which have improved their performance across the ‘doorways’ which also include a project this summer to get every pupil to grow food in the school grounds. Clear targets to reduce usage have been set with the school’s 100 club - challenging pupils and staff to stay below 100kwh of electricity use per day.
In a more low-tech approach, Priestlands Secondary School, a large comprehensive with over 1200 students in Hampshire, runs Freecycle Fridays, which involve staff and students swapping items which they no longer want. The amount of paper which the school uses has been cut by 50%, while the school has reduced its electricity use by 75% over two years.
CABE has published an activity kit to help schools run the event on a day between 4 June and 2 July and the launch date of 4 June has been timed as the day before World Environment Day. To make the day memorable and fun, pupils are being encouraged to wear something green to school – from green hoodies to green hair.
The Hackney Toolkit to promote Sustainable Schools
For a whole-school approach to the eight doorways of sustainability, a definitive toolkit guide has been compiled by The Learning Trust, the organisation responsible for education in Hackney, as part of its sustainable schools programme. The toolkit provides information on organisations that fund schools’ work on sustainability, as well as providing detailed case studies of how primary and secondary schools have tackled each of the eight doorway themes.
The Hackney Environmental Education Network (HEEN) brings together 16 local and national organisations, such as Groundwork UK and Hackney Recycling, which channels profits made from the local council’s recycling programme back into grants for schools and other local groups. Through HEEN’s involvement, Hackney schools are now acknowledged as some of the greenest in London and the Hackney Sustainable Schools Toolkit explains how schools can tap into additional funding and resources, as well as how to work with external partners, parents and volunteers.
Hackney Sustainable Schools Toolkit
Parents and summer event fundraising
Many PTFAs run social and fundraising events in the summer term and a popular idea is ‘International Evening’ which celebrates the nationalities represented by the families of pupils attending the school, for example, food and snacks, traditional dress and performances of music and dance from around the world. SuaveSalsa.com, an adults’ salsa school, is offering to organise a salsa evening for schools in the south west London area, providing an hour’s tuition at cost price, as a PTFA social event with profits on ticket sales, going to the school fund. For schools in other parts of the country interested in contacting their local dance tutors, the Imperial Society for the Teaching of Dance manages a national online register of dance teachers covering every genre, including the Latin styles of Strictly Come Dancing, at www.dance-teachers.org.
Community Access – income-generating initiatives
School PTFAs have often been the driving force for an innovative approach to opening up the school’s facilities through the establishment of local farmers’ markets. For example, London Farmers Markets is an organisation that runs 19 weekly markets across London, many of them located in school playgrounds, such as William Ellis Secondary School, Islington every Saturday morning, and Bonneville Primary School in Clapham every Sunday morning. See www.lfm.org.uk for details of how to set up a farmers’ market, through LFM members who are producers living within 100 miles of the M25.
To qualify for FARMA accreditation (the national Farmers’ Retail and Markets Association, based in Winchester) basic criteria must be met such as only trading in goods that have been reared, grown or produced within a given area, usually 100 miles, and stalls should be staffed by those actually involved in the growing or making of produce so shoppers can ask questions and learn more about food production. By providing 20 pitches at a rent of £25, a school can generate £500, while providing an outlet for fruit and vegetables grown by pupils and parents in the school’s gardening club.
Car boot sales
A simple way of organising a much-valued local community activity on school premises, is to host a Sunday morning car boot sale, as this can generate significant sums of money for the school. Tiffin School in Kingston upon Thames runs 24 fortnightly sales per year, each one raising £1,400 – over £30,000 per year. Subject departments and sports clubs such as rugby and rowing, are offered the proceeds from a particular sale provided that they can recruit staff, pupils and parents to supervise that day’s event. Tiffin School charges cars £8, vans £8 and entrance before 9:00 to dealers, £10 with entrance after 9:00 am to the general public charged at 20p. Extra cash is generated by parents providing refreshments in the canteen and a barbecue stall selling burgers.
Finally – end of term Pupil fund raisers
Paddington Bear’s birthday on 25th June is the focus of one of Action Medical Research’s most successful fundraisers. Around 100,000 children each year bring their teddy bear to school or nursery for the day in exchange for £1 and help fund raise for the Touching Tiny Lives Appeal for sick and vulnerable babies. All donations go to research to find answers to help reduce premature birth and pregnancy complications. For activity ideas from making cookies in the nursery to a school art competition to paint a portrait of the child’s bear or soft toy, see www.action.org.uk/get_involved/bring_your_bear
Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Foundation is a national charity that raises money for sick children in hospitals and hospices throughout the UK and Wear your Pyjamas with Pride day on Friday 25th June will see thousands of pupils wearing their Pyjamas for charity and donating £1 for the right to look wrong. To receive a free fundraising pack to use on the day with a host of Pyjama party games and activities see: www.wallaceandgromitfoundation.org
This e-bulletin issue was first published in May 2010
About the author: Nick Holt is an education consultant and set up Studyscool.co.uk to make extended services easier for schools and local authorities. Previously he has been a teacher, a local authority commissioning officer and most recently the Extended Services co-ordinator for an inner London Borough.