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, take a look at the topics below for guidance on where you can gain more information and support within Essex.
WasteIn Essex, there are about 1.5 million residents and 635,000 households (2020). Each household generates around 1 tonne of waste and recycyling paper every year. People get rid of waste at the kerbside or recycling centres. 55% is recycling and 45% is general rubbish.
Reduce Reuse Recycle
We should all try to follow the 'waste hierarchy'. The best environmental opions are reducing and reusing waste. Landfill is the last resort. In reality, reducing and reusing waste is the least common option. They are difficult to track though.
Recycling is great, but there's more we can do to stop creating waste in the first place.
The waste heirarchy is:
Repair or Reuse Items
Energy Recovery (e.g. Incineration)
Waste Disposal (e.g. Landfill)
Schools getting involved and reducing waste
There is so much schools can do to help pupils learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle. The easiest way is often to lead by example. It may even help save your school some money. There are lots of resources you can use:
Waste and recycling collection at your school
It may be worth finding out if it's possible to arrange a recycling collection for your school. A good place to start is to contact your local council in Essex
The air you breathe and the food you eat all rely on biodiversity. Biodiversity is the sum of all living things and the places they live on our planet. It is all around us and it includes animals, birds, plants, and insects. It also includes places like woodlands, fields, ponds and gardens. Even a 'wasteland' can be important for wildlife. Biodiversity is about the range of different living things and systems in an area. The more plants, insects and animals there are in an area the greater the biodiversity ansd the healthier the ecosystem. An ecosystem is a group of living things that live together in a stable community. Biodiversity is important for our environment and for us to live healthy lives.
There are many ways your school can help look after our biodiversity. You can:
- create a wildlife garden
- create a gardening club
- take part in Forest School
- walk and cycle to school
- organise a wildlife trail that explores the school grounds or at a nearby site
- build bird and bat boxes
- create a poster to put up in your school to inform people about wildlife and how you can look after it
For more information and resources visit the following websites:
ECC can help you with your energy, we have partnered with
Ashden Less CO2
Ashden welcomes schools to take part in the LESS CO2 sustainable schools programme. This is a free energy efficiency programme available to any school in Essex. This involves a series of half day workshops spread through the year. This will include peer mentoring, expert advice and resource availability. This is a unique opportunity to enable schools work together and learn from each other. These workshops will teach school's representatives the following:
- energy savings
- how to engage with fellow staff and students about energy
- the link between sustainability and energy use and efficiency.
Find out more information on the Less Co2 website.
Testimonials from Essex schools last year are below:
Cherry Tree Primary School, Louise Maynard, School Business Manager - 27 June 2019
Thought provoking - raised awareness of eco issues
We would recommend to other schools
Eco council + gardening club has developed further within the school
ECC can provide advice on accessing interest free loans for energy efficiency projects. The loan is repaid from energy savings. The loan will cover the cost of the equipment and any related installation fees. Projects which may qualify are :
- low energy or LED lighting replacement
- intelligent lighting controls
- draught proofing
- upgrading boiler controls and
- Solar PV technology
ECC can provide help for the delivery of the technologies.
This funding is available to all maintained schools. Academies would have to access the funding through a separate route.
Local authority maintained schools can find out more about Salix on the Salix Finance - Maintained Schools and Sixth Form website.
Academies can find out more about Salix by accessing the Academies section of the Salix Finance website.
If you would like to know more about the funding available, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund
Schools are able to apply for grants to make their buildings more energy-efficient. This funding is available under a new public sector decarbonisation grant.
Interested schools can find out more about the fund by contacting us at email@example.com.
Global PerspectivesYoung 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 east for others in different parts of the world.
The British Council Schools Online
has information on bringing the world into your classroom, and information on encouraging students to develop as global citizens.
Healthy LivingThe 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 time at school, 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.
Find more information and resources on the following websites:
LitterMany 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 noticable and can enhance the school image in the local community. Find more resources on the following websites:
School GroundsThe 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 on school grounds so it's important that the experiences they have are the best and as positive as they can be. The following websites provide useful resources:
TravelEssex County Council's Sustainable Travel Planning Team can help schools 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.m
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.
The Sustainable Travel Planning Team are 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.
The following websites offer information, resources and training:
Water is a huge important part of life and we use it every day. The following websites offer information and resources:
- Essex Learning Outside the Classroom Providers - 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.