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Eco-Schools Essex

Page last updated: 27/02/2017

The international Eco-Schools programme provides a framework for learning about sustainable development issues and embedding sustainable practices into everyday school life. To help your school achieve accreditation through the Eco-Schools programme, click on the topics below for guidance on where you can gain more information and support within Essex:

Waste

Waste or rubbish is what people throw away because they no longer need it or want it. Almost everything we do creates waste and as a society we are currently producing more waste than ever before. In 2013/14 Essex landfilled over 320,000 tonnes of waste and had a recycling rate of 52.09%


Waste Education Resources and Schools Visits

Composting Activities - Schools can requests a maximum of 2 free compost bins which can be used to educate pupils about how home composting works. For more information, please contact waste.management@essex.gov.uk

School Visits - Please use the details below to contact your district council to arrange a school/group visit or to request more information on recycling. Please note that visits are subject to availability:
What more can we do in Schools?
There is so much you can do to help reduce, reuse and recycle in school. It doesn't have to be hard work and can save your school money. There are lots of websites with useful information, recycling/reuse ideas and resources:
Reduce Reuse Recycle
The Waste Hierarchy​ specifies the best options for the disposal of waste and ranks them in order of their increasing environment impact. The options towards the top of the hierarchy are more preferable than those towards the bottom. 

Most Preferred Option
Prevent Waste
Reduce amount of waste
Repair or reuse items
Recycling items
Energy recovery e.g. incineration
Waste disposal e.g. landfill
Least Preferred Option

Waste Collection and Disposal
​​​School waste collections - For more information about waste and recycling collections from your school, please contact the District, Borough or City Council that your school is in. For the contact details, please visit their website​

Biodiversity

Biodiversity can be defined as the variability among organisms on earth and within an ecosystem.  Biodiversity is all around us, from wildflowers and insects to mammals and birds. It includes woodlands, meadows, wetlands and other natural habitats as well as man-made places such as plantations, fields, canals and gardens, even ‘wasteland’ can be valuable for wildlife.

For further information and additional resources:
  • Essex Out​doors’​ Environmental Education Team believes passionately in the importance of hands-on learning in the natural environment – in arts, science, adventure or practical skills.  Whether pre-school or adult, discovering your local surroundings or visiting ours, we will work with you to tailor a programme that meets your needs.
  • Essex Country Parks'​ aim is for every visitor on a school trip, regardless of age, to experience learning in a natural environment. Whether that is learning about our amazing local green spaces or taking away a whole load of activities to do with your class back as school. We never stop learning.​​
  • Chattham Green Project -  at the Wilderness Foundation UK provides interactive, hands-on outdoor environmental learning designed to support both the national curriculum and ECO-schools. Delivering on a wide range of topics such as Animals, Plants, Habitats, Field to Fork, Biodiversity and much more, all of your environmental education needs are met in one place at our 400 acre farm site just outside Chelmsford. Our purpose built Education centre means we are open all seasons, muddy boots welcome!​

Energy

This is a compulsory Eco-Schools topic. Any school applying for their Eco-Schools Green Flag award must demonstrate how they have tackled energy as part of their Eco-Schools project work.

Essex County Council’s Environment Team is keen to support schools through their sustainability journey.  Using energy in a more sustainable manner can help schools reduce fuel bills, cut carbon emissions and build a strong sense of community.  Sustainable energy management can also enrich many curriculum areas. Our Guide to Energy at Schools is available to help run energy related activities with pupils. The guide contains links to resources include teaching activities supported by downloadable teacher notes, PowerPoint presentations and films. If your school has a story to tell about how you have been working to reduce your energy bills and engage pupils please get in touch with the Environmental Technology Officer: luciana.almeida@essex.gov.uk

  • ​The Museum of Power gives your class a unique cross-curricular learning experience.  There are opportunities to explore many different subjects in a safe and intriguing environment.  A visit to the museum opens up am opens up a range of teaching resources not available in the classroom, based around the Museums’ wide range of interesting and engaging themes.
  • Barleylands Farm Park not only brings the curriculum to life but it is an excellent venue for school and group visits. We believe we are experts in our field at teaching people of all ages about food farming and the countryside. Barleylands proudly received the award for 'Best in Education 2013' at the annual National Farm Attractions Network Conference.​​​

Global Perspectives

Global Citizenship

Young people need to be taught the skills, values, attitudes and knowledge that will allow them to participate in a truly global society.  Topics such as global warming, migration, the arms trade and the Fairtrade movement should all be understood. Young people need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities in this world and how their decisions can make life difficult or easy for others in different parts of the world.

Resources:

  • ​British Council Schools Online has everything you need to bring the world into your classroom and encourage your students to develop as global citizens. This includes resources that you can use in the classroom, information on funding and interaction with like-minded teaching professionals.​​​​

Healthy Living

The current generation of children are the first predicted in history to have a lower life expectancy than their parents. Children spend a vast amount of their time at school and so need to be schooled in a healthy environment to promote their own health and wellbeing. The state of our health is not only related to our diet but a healthy child also has a higher chance of long-term physical wellbeing. A good sense of physical wellbeing can give a child confidence, general happiness and a positive outlook on life.

For further information and additional resources:​

  • Healthy Schools Essex The Essex Healthy Schools programme is continuing to thrive and a range of tools and support is available for school communities to develop a ‘needs led’, outcome focused model to influence health improvement in children and young people across Essex.  A two stage process is offered to help schools identify and develop the approaches that will assist them with health improvement. This process is based on the national framework but has been streamlined in light of feedback from schools.
  • Essex Wildlife Trust provides outstanding education facilities where you can bring your school, college or university.  Our education programmes develop knowledge and understanding of the connections, cycles and needs of life.  We provide high-quality indoor and outdoor resources, including varied teaching spaces, specialist science equipment and a diversity of habitats. Sessions cover a wide range of curriculum topics and are enjoyable, inspiring, exciting and fun.
  • ​Barleylands Farm Park not only brings the curriculum to life but it is an excellent venue for school and group visits. We believe we are experts in our field at teaching people of all ages about food, farming and the countryside. Barleylands proudly received the award for 'Best in Education 2013' at the annual National Farm Attractions Network Conference.
  • The Daws Hall Centre is an outdoor centre, situated in the Stour Valley. The teaching centre is open to school and youth groups and is set on a 30 acre nature reserve owned and managed by the Daws Hall Trust.  The reserve has a diverse range of habitats including woodland, wetland, ponds, wildflower meadow and an ancient river cliff from the last ice age. Facilities on site include a well-equipped classroom, small Bee Room which hosts an observational beehive during the summer, a bird nesting box with infra-red video camera and a purpose built dipping platform.​
  • The Chatham Green Project at the Wilderness Foundation UK provide interactive, hands-on outdoor environmental learning designed to support both the national curriculum and ECO-schools. Delivering on a wide range of topics such as Animals, Plants, Habitats, Field to Fork, Biodiversity and much more, all of your environmental education needs are met in one place at our 400 acre farm site just outside Chelmsford. Our purpose built Education centre means we are open all seasons, muddy boots welcome!

Litter

Many Eco-Schools choose to tackle litter in their school as one of their first priorities following their Environmental Review. It is a highly visible issue and one that is easily understood by all ages. A litter-free school is very noticeable and can enhance your school’s image in the local community.

Resources:
  • ​Litter Action supports the growing number of individuals and community groups tackling litter problems across the UK. Register your local action group, find other groups near you, read our blog or use the information pages for help on running a litter group and organising clean-ups.  LitterAction demonstrates the brilliant contribution volunteers are making all over the country.
  • Essex District, Borough and City Councils are responsible for the collection of your household waste and kerbside recycling. They also deal with issues such as street cleaning, fly tipping and abandoned vehicles.​​

School Grounds

The way school grounds are developed, used and managed can have a significant impact on pupils’ attitudes and behaviour towards school, each other, the wider environment and society. Pupils can spend as much as 25% of their time in your school grounds – that’s more than one day a week, so it’s important that the experiences they have there are the best and as positive as they can be. The appearance of school grounds can have a dramatic affect on how a child feels about the school and how they interact with their environment, other children and adults.

  • The RSPCA teacher website has a wide range of School Grounds lesson plans & resources (Award-winning CLOtC Resource provider).  We have created free lesson plans for teachers linked to the English and Welsh curricula, to help you teach animal related topics in class. Many of the lessons overlap in subject area including English, Science and Maths. There are also some great ideas for Assemblies and School councils.  Our Education Training Development Advisers (ETDAs) can give initial Teacher Training to universities offering teaching qualifications and INSET to groups of teachers in a twilight session in either a half or full-day workshop.
  • Essex Wildlife Trust provides outstanding education facilities where you can bring your school, college or university.  Our education programmes develop knowledge and understanding of the connections, cycles and needs of life.  We provide high-quality indoor and outdoor resources, including varied teaching spaces, specialist science equipment and a diversity of habitats. Sessions cover a wide range of curriculum topics and are enjoyable, inspiring, exciting and fun.
  • Essex Country Parks​ aim is for every visitor on a school trip, regardless of age, to experience learning in a natural environment. Whether that is learning about our amazing local green spaces or taking away a whole load of activities to do with your class back at school. We never stop learning.​​

Transport

Today there are more cars on the road than ever and in our world of convenience shopping we are becoming more and more reliant on transport.  Our growing reliance on motorised transport is causing detrimental effects on the environment and on our physical and social health. Transport releases many chemicals into the air and some, like carbon dioxide, are contributing to global warming and therefore climate change.

Schools Travel Plans Team

Essex County Council's Sustainable Travel Planning Team can help schools of all types across the county to improve the transport options available to their pupils, parents and staff, making journeys to and from school greener, cleaner, healthier, safer and above all more enjoyable. 

Schools can be provided with the free framework and tools to develop a School Travel Plan, a living document aiming to achieve all this, owned by the whole school community, and able to evolve and improve as the school changes. In addition the Sustainable Travel Planning Team are always available to advise, support and assist, providing examples of what's worked well at other similar schools. Schools are also rewarded for their achievements by earning national accreditations, at bronze, silver and gold level, receiving a plaque to mark this.

  • ​Get Cycling Safely; make sure your school has the opportunity to get Bikeability training free from the Safer Essex Roads PartnershipCycling is a cheap, effective and environmentally friendly way to stay fit. It’s also hassle-free way to get to school so you spend less time sitting in traffic jams and arrive on time. They also provide safety training for pedestrians, including those walking with very young children. Please email them for further information: roadsafety@essexhighways.org 
  • Essex County Council Transport Services is responsible for the provision of transport for approximately 23,000 pupils to schools and colleges and provides additional transportation on behalf of Social Care.  The pages provide information you need as an operator working with passenger transport.
  • Sustrans is the leading charity enabling people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys. The charity has over 30 years' experience of developing and delivering practical, cost-effective initiatives that enable many more people to travel by foot, bike or public transport. They also run the hugely successful Eco Race, where schools across Essex compete against one another each term to see who can travel to school most by active modes; walking, cycling or scooting. 
  • Living Streets WOW reaches over 13 million people, making it one of the UK's leading behavioural change campaigns for young people. We work directly with over 750,000 children in 2,000 schools and every year thousands more take part in the national schemes and events that we run. 

​For full information on all of this and many other transport opportunities available to schools, please contact travelplanteam@essex.gov.uk​ and we will be happy to work with you. ​​​​

Water

Water is a hugely important part of life – we use it for washing and drinking and without it we wouldn’t be able to grow crops or make products.

Anglian Water provide a free of charge education programme to schools and community groups in the Anglian Water region. There are three main strands to the programme.
1.   Visits to Chelmsford Water Recycling Centre for Key stage 2, A-level and community groups. This can be from an hour and half to whole day visits which include a tour of the Water Recycling Centre in Chelmer Village to see how we clean sewage into water clean enough to return to the environment. Sessions include a range of fun interactive activities. Please contact eHenderson@anglianwater.co.uk for more information and to book.
2.   Outreach programme for all ages with sessions about sewage, drinking water, water efficiency and sustainability. Plus STEM and careers activities designed to suit all ages. More details of possible programmes are on the Anglian Water website.
3.   Online resources free to download and support your curriculum. These are constantly be written and updated. These are all available on the Anglian Water website. There are some further resources on the Captain Splosh website.
The Museum of Power gives your class a unique cross-curricular learning experience.  There are opportunities to explore many different subjects in a safe and intriguing environment.  A visit to the museum opens up a range of teaching resources not available in the classroom, based around the Museums’ wide range of interesting and engaging themes.
Barleylands Farm Park not only brings the curriculum to life but it is an excellent venue for school and group visits.  We believe we are experts in our field at teaching people of all ages about food farming and the countryside.  Barleylands proudly received the award for 'Best in Education 2013' at the annual National Farm Attractions Network Conference.​​

Additional Resources

Details of organisations and initiatives that provide additional resources and information which may help your school as you progress through the Eco-Schools programme.

Other Essex County Council Education Programmes

  • Trading Standards – The Trading Standards Team provide information for schools through the online Consumer Education Resource and Information Centre (CEdRIC). The ‘ Ask​ CEdRIC ’ website aims to provide teachers and consumer educators with all they need to teach the consumer education-related aspects of the Citizenship curriculum.

The Resources for schools​ section of the site provides:

  • Teaching plans for Key Stages 1 to 4
  • Details of links to the Citizenship curriculum
  • Student worksheets
  • Ideas for practical class activities and whole school projects
  • Links to resources and sources of further information

The site has been developed by Trading Standards Officers with guidance from teachers and PSHE / Citizenship Co-ordinators to ensure that the resources are suitable for use in the classroom. 

External Resources 

  • Forest Schools 
    Originally a Scandinavian initiative, Forest Schools aims to encourage and inspire individuals through engagement in positive outdoor experiences, usually in a local woodland setting.  For more information, visit the Forest Education  website.
  • Essex Learning Outside the Classroom Providers 
    Essex County Council is a member of the Essex Learning Outside the classroom Providers (ELOtCP) which brings together groups and individuals from across Essex that offer programmes of environmental education to schools. Members offer a wide range of services delivered at their own centres and sites and through outreach and school based work. Visit the Essex Learning Outside the Classroom Providers​ website to find out more.​

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