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Bio-domes, Solar And Recycling – Why Becoming A Green School Can Help The Planet And Your Pupils

September 25, 2017, 10:59 GMT+1
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  • Adopting green technologies and policies in your school isn’t just good for the planet – it can be a great learning tool, too...
Bio-domes, Solar And Recycling – Why Becoming A Green School Can Help The Planet And Your Pupils

We’ve installed double glazing, solar panels, motion sensor-controlled lighting and push-stop taps, and have many other eco-friendly measures in place, including a recycling scheme and a staff cycling initiative. The decision to put these in place and become a green school was supported by the school’s SLT, parents and the school council, and driven by our headteacher, who is passionate about the environment and sustainability.

So far we’ve made savings on our energy and water costs, but with some of the building work still fairly new, it’s too early to say what the long-term financial benefits will be. Our advice to schools planning something similar would be to visit other schools, invite agencies in to discuss how you can work together and keep relevant data, so that you can measure the impact over the coming years.

We’d been talking for a while about adding a greenhouse to grow additional food for our kitchen, before receiving approval to go for something ‘more extravagant’ from SLT, so we recently had a bio-dome constructed.

It’s essentially a large greenhouse with a solar-powered irrigation system and a temperature sensor that automatically opens the windows when the interior gets too hot. They’re worth around £20,000, which we couldn’t afford, but we were able to get half of it funded through Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme for local projects. The dome’s interior can accommodate 30 children, so we’re now able to have a whole class involved in gardening at the same time.

Environmental issues have long been part of the school’s teaching philosophy. Each class its own representative on our Eco Council, which is run by two teachers and looks at various things around the school, from maintaining the gardening area to identifying opportunities for energy saving.

We’ve made sizeable investments into some things, but there’s lots that can be done by simply being creative and having staff work together. We’re lucky to have a garden area, but then we also have planters that some of the younger children use to grow strawberries and other fruit – it’s possible to do things in a smaller amount of space – it just depends on how you use it.