How to... get a green school
What's this - an invasion?
Yes Ma'am. We are the DfES energy police, checking your green credentials.
Journey to work?
Hatchback, 30 minutes, 50 if there's a jam. What's your problem?
The DfES recommends public transport, bike or walk. If you must drive, use low revs, drive smoothly, avoid sharp acceleration and heavy braking, aim for 55 to 65mph, avoid short journeys and congestion, check tyre pressures regularly and if you're stuck in a stationary jam, switch the engine off.
No gas-guzzlers allowed.
Fine. May I go now?
No Ma'am. Curriculum and policies check. Do you teach awareness of global issues of water and energy availability and try to get pupils involved? Do you have a sustainability and recycling policy? Do you use your grounds as a learning environment?
Well, we have a litter picking rota...
Not good enough. The DfES National Framework on Sustainable Schools aims to cut carbon emissions, reduce pollution and upgrade heating controls. Please improve insulation, conserve water and check no unnecessary devices are left on. Operating wind turbines, geothermal exchange heat pumps and shredded document and print cartridge recycling schemes will win you extra points.
All worthy I'm sure, but what about teaching and learning?
A school must be a living, learning place in which to explore what a sustainable lifestyle means. That includes food and drink, energy and water, travel and traffic, consumerism and waste, buildings and grounds, inclusion and participation, wellbeing both locally and globally.
And how can I do all this?
Organise site walks by pupils and staff to assess energy. Integrate this into lesson planning. Take meter readings at the end of one day and the start of the next. What energy does the empty building use? Identify equipment left on, such as computer monitors, and try energy-saving modes.
Check thermostat settings and timing. Put that light out
Duncan Grey is author of Getting the Buggers to Learn and 100+ Essential Lists for Teachers (Continuum)See p46, Pack it in