Ashley C of E School
This 300 pupil primary school in Surrey is a great example of what can be achieved with vision and determination. Under the inspirational leadership of head teacher Richard Dunne the school has reduced its electricity use by 75% over two years as well as making a raft of other changes which have improved its performance across the eight sustainable schools ‘doorways’, including a project this summer to get every pupil to grow food in the school grounds. The achievements of the school were recognised in 2009 when it was one of only two schools nationally to be awarded the Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy.
Head teacher Richard Dunne is clear in his advice to other schools wanting to improve their sustainability. He recommends that it all has to start with measuring: knowing how much energy the school consumes and where and when it is consumed is vital. The ‘ecoDriver’ energy monitoring system in Ashley School means that all staff and pupils can see exactly how energy use changes during the day and this has allowed them to identify and reduce waste. Clear targets to reduce usage have been set with the school’s 100 club challenging pupils and staff to stay below 100kwh of electricity use per day. If they succeed for a whole week then the pupils are rewarded with £10 per week that the school’s energy team spends on pupil chosen projects.
Wider school community engagement
The school has used its sustainability work to inspire pupils’ learning both inside and outside the classroom. The ‘real life’ aspect of the subject matter has really engaged pupils, and many have started to use their skills at home as well as sharing them with other schools in this country and abroad. Carbon Free Fridays are just one of the ways that Ashley School has started to engage its wider community including parents in its sustainability drive. On these days the school tries to get its energy use as low as it can – teachers try to take learning outside the classroom and everyone (included invited visitors) enjoys a cold picnic on the field at lunchtime.
More detail about the school’s sustainable work is available on the Ashden Awards website.