Awards Winner - Outstanding Sustainable School

27th November 2009 at 00:00
Turners Hill Primary School in Crawley, West Sussex

Each week we profile one of this year's winners. For more details on entering the 2010 TES Schools Awards visit

What they did

This school had an environmental education programme long before most others: it began 18 years ago. It has two wind turbines, photovoltaic panels and has planted 1,750 trees on a three-acre site by the school. Pupils are taught about switching off appliances in their citizenship lessons and an eco committee monitors this. Wind turbine and solar panel monitors take regular readings of the energy created and put it on display. Every class has a blue recycling box.

The sustainability theme runs across the curriculum. For example, in literacy lessons, teachers ask children to explain the turbines and panels to a visiting alien. The junior children use the data in maths.

The pupils grow and eat vegetables and fruit and rear chickens. The school has planted hazel trees to use for bean poles, holly trees for Christmas decorations and willow for weaving. Each class looks after a fruit tree. Pupils also manage a pond on a nearby farm and are building a database of the local flora and fauna.

Turners Hill is spreading its enthusiasm for sustainability to other schools. It ran a renewable energy course and worked with West Sussex sustainability officers. As a result, four local primary schools are talking to energy consultants and the school hopes to run more courses, including some for homeowners.


The judges praised the school for its consistent support for environment education over many years and its excellent teaching, in and outside the classroom. "This is a good initiative that seems achievable for all. The school wants to share its ideas in an altruistic way." They said Turners Hill was "not glitzy, but outstanding" and an example of good practice in embedding sustainability in the curriculum.


Many of the schools in this category chose to embrace their immediate surroundings in sustainability projects. Some used a rebuild as an opportunity to introduce environmentally friendly facilities, or have used recycled materials for play and communal areas. Eco-committees were a recurring feature, and one school developed international links with Rwanda and a partnership with rural enterprises.


The TES Schools Awards, or TESSAs, celebrate and reward the professionalism and flair of teams making an outstanding contribution to primary and secondary schools in the maintained and independent sectors. This year's event attracted hundreds of entries and the panel of judges was impressed by their range and quality. Next year's TESSAs will be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on June 17, 2010, and are open for entries at

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