Written by Krishna, Abeshaa and Gopi
The Government would like every school to be a sustainable school by 2020. A sustainable school prepares young people for a lifetime of sustainable living, through its teaching, its fabric and its day-to-day practices. It is guided ‘by a commitment to care for oneself, for each other and for the environment itself.’
Initially in the UK, education for sustainability was seen as a cross-curricular theme to which all subjects could contribute; it received a significant boost when the focus was widened to the notion of 'sustainable schools'. This moved issues of sustainability from an optional element in the curriculum, to affecting every aspect of school life.
The original strategy on Sustainable Schools identified eight 'doorways' to education for sustainability. These are: food and drink, energy and water, travel and traffic, purchasing and waste, buildings and grounds, inclusion and participation, local wellbeing and global citizenship.
Detailed ways in which such themes can be creatively explored in the classroom can be found in Sustainable Schools. Education for sustainability has been subjected to Ofsted (2009) inspections and one survey encouragingly reported that ‘in the most successful schools, education for sustainability was an integral element of the curriculum and all pupils and staff contributed to improving the sustainability of the institution.’
Most of the head teachers found that education for sustainability had been an important factor in improving teaching and learning more generally. This was confirmed through lesson observation across the sample of schools visited.
A common characteristic of the lessons observed, across the full range of National Curriculum subjects seen was the high level of engagement of the pupils in the work they perceived as relevant to their own lives and future well-being.
So how is Park High a sustainable school? Firstly, the companies that supply the resources the school uses such as heat are sustainable sources because they use renewable energy. The school raises attention to sustainability and environmental issues by forming ‘the Eco Committee’ and having our school rules accommodate sustainability and the school’s belief in helping the environment. However the infrastructure of the school must come into light. Insulation in the school is still poor. This could be put down to parts of the school being very old. The school has been improving the situation by replacing the windows and insulation most recently in the Park Block.
Miss Chamberlain said, “Energy monitors have been placed in Park High and all teachers have been reminded that computers should be switched off and windows should be shut. However, there are no solar panels in this school - they are expensive to obtain. There is no double glazing in some windows in Park High. In the quadrangle the doors and windows are always open which wastes valuable energy and heat. “
Why become sustainable? A sustainable school can:
save energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions
Park High School, Thistlecroft Gardens, Stanmore, Middlesex HA7 1PL
Mr Emlyn Lumley
0208 952 2803