WATCH: Five tips to help your school become more sustainable

Winner of Tes Schools award shares advice on how to make your school more sustainable

Eleanor Walker Victoria Park Primary School

Victoria Park Primary School in Bedminster was the winner of sustainable school of the year at the 2018 Tes Schools Awards.

Here, teacher and eco-schools lead Eleanor Walker shares five tips about how to make your school more sustainable.

1. Students are key

“Harness your young people,” Walker says. “Your students are key, they can be so engaged and so passionate and they will drive change in your school. It’s a great opportunity for them to take responsibility.”

2. Embed sustainability in your curriculum

“It’s really important to make it as easy as possible for staff, and not recreate new resources all the time to cover topics," she says.

"Add some lessons to existing topics, for example, if you’re covering chocolate, you could do a Fair Trade lesson.

“It’s really important to add it onto school wellbeing as well for children – the healthy schools award, the mindfulness, outdoor learning, getting children engaged with nature.”

3. Make local links in your community

“Find out what other schools do, because you can learn from them and borrow resources and ideas," Walker says. "Tap into your local expertise. There’s wildlife charities, friends of parks groups, your local council, particularly the waste department should be able to help with recycling and to help children understand a bit more what happens to their waste.”

“Make sure you send requests for help to local businesses, because they’re really happy to help with things like compost and plants and soil.”

4. Engage your school community

"Spread the message of sustainability via your school communications – your school newsletter, your website, perhaps on Twitter. Engage your parents – you might find some sustainable experts among them who can help you," she says.

5. Tap into your staff

Finally, Walker says: "Find the key people to follow their passions, tap into them. 

"Your subject leads like [those on] science and outdoor learning, healthy schools will be able to take on some of the topics in sustainability.

"Then just make it matter in your school, give it some status, discuss it in whole school assemblies, make it part of your school values and relate sustainability to everyday life."

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