‘Love your caretaker’ – the key to a greener school
7 June 2010
CABE is calling for primary and secondary schools across the country to ‘love your caretaker’.
The call is being made at the launch of Green Day 2010, organised by CABE. Britain’s biggest education initiative helping teachers and pupils understand and tackle climate change. A record 1,000 schools in England are taking part this year.
Caretakers don’t often get much credit or attention in a school. But they are crucial when it comes to tackling climate change. It’s the caretaker who has responsibility for climate actions like labelling light switches and powering down the school at the end of the day. And who else is going to create an allotment, choose the most eco hand-dryers or install bike racks?
So CABE wants every school in Britain to ‘love their caretaker’. This could start with headteachers offering them a chance to get some training on sustainability and a crash course in architecture, so that they appreciate how to adapt the building. And then give them some power and responsibility to reduce the use of water, gas and electricity.
Alan Giddings is a caretaker at the Henry Moore Primary School in Harlow, Essex, one of the schools taking part in Green Day. He said: ‘It’s my job to manage the day to day running of the school site and keep a close eye on the amount of energy used. I think the children enjoy learning the nuts and bolts about how the school works and saving energy.’
Schools in England generate roughly the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as all the energy and transport of Birmingham and Manchester put together. Changing this is now the law.
This is the third year of Green Day. It teaches environmental issues through the curriculum and inspires schools to make their buildings and the grounds sustainable. A typical Green Day could see the day begin with an assembly explaining what Green Day is and why the school is taking part. In maths they might calculate the class’s carbon footprint; in English they could create an advert to persuade people to change their behavior; in science they could race solar cars; and in art they could depict climate change using an abstract picture.