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TES Schools Awards 2009 - Outstanding sustainable school

Winner - Turners Hill Primary, Crawley, West Sussex

Turners Hill had an environmental education programme 18 years ago, long before most others recognised its importance. The school has two wind turbines, photovoltaic panels and has planted 1,750 trees on a three-acre site by the school. In citizenship lessons, pupils are taught about switching off appliances, and an eco committee monitors this. Wind turbine and solar panel monitors take regular readings of the energy created and display them. Every class has a blue recycling box.

The sustainability theme runs across the curriculum. For example, in literacy lessons teachers ask pupils 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 soft fruit and rear chickens. The school has planted hazel trees to use for pear sticks and 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 up a database of the local flora and fauna.

Turners Hill Primary 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 primaries are in talks with energy consultants. The school hopes to run more courses, including some for homeowners.

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

TES Schools Awards 2009:

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