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Five ways to go green

Sustainability special: how to make small changes in school for better green credentials

Posted by Stephanie Broad | May 26, 2016 | Sustainability

With the autonomy that being an academy brings, there’s never been a better time to put sustainability matters on the curriculum, whether it’s using apps to save paper or promoting a Walk to School week. 


Did you know that Britain throws away £10 billion of food every year? Recycling is an easy way to make your school more ‘green’ and teach children about sustainability. You can make it fun, too – by encouraging competition between classes or even incentivising the fullest recycling containers. 

To help you get started, recycling company Leafield have produced a free recycling resource pack for schools. Just download the pack for posters, stickers and communication materials. Coca-Cola’s ‘recyclometer’ can also help make the issue easy for pupils to understand. 

On your bike 

The environmental impact of the daily school run can be reduced by taking to two wheels. Sustrans’ The Big Pedal campaign is the UK’s largest inter-school cycling and scootering challenge. It inspires pupils, staff and parents to choose two wheels for their journey to school. 

On each day of the challenge schools compete to see who can record the greatest number of pupils, staff and parents cycling or scootering to school. Schools log their journeys on the Big Pedal website and are given a daily score to help mark their progress.  

Find out more about how your school can get involved at on the Sustrans website. 

Hit the pavements 

May is also Living Streets’ National Walking Month. All month, the walking charity has been sharing fun tips to get people walking more, under the #Try20 hashtag.


Energy efficiency 

It’s not just about switching lights off when you leave the room. Reducing energy is socially responsible and helps the younger generation understand the fight against climate change. According to the Carbon Trust, the two biggest uses of energy are heating and hot water. While these are essentials all year round, consider installing more energy-efficient systems. If you are planning school refurbishment, make energy saving part of your negotiations with suppliers. 

Find out more about energy saving in this helpful Carbon Trust guide. 

Go paper-free 

With ever-tighter budgets in UK schools, a significant amount is still being spent on printing and photocopying. There are a number of ways to cut out the paper and still provide engaging classroom resources, keep track of admin and communicate with parents. 

  • Use iPads? Apple’s iBooks allows you to access textbooks on an app, while iTunes U provides lesson planning, marking tools and even the opportunity to create your own textbooks
  • For easy sharing and collaboration of documents, Google Apps for Education is completely free, compatible with all devices and all your resources are stored in the cloud: not in a filing cabinet
  • Need to reach parents? Consider harnessing the incredible power and convenience of social media, rather than sending out paper letters (which can inevitably get lost or forgotten. Many schools now use their Twitter and Facebook feeds to communicate information quickly, and LinkedIn groups can also be helpful for making announcements. Tools such as ParentMail are specifically designed to reach parents in a meaningful but convenient way 

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