Past Projects – Warm Schools
The Warm Schools project is an innovative school education programme that provides schools and their local communities with an understanding of utility conservation and how simple changes can have positive impacts on the lives of their pupils, teachers and the wider community.
With our initial consultation highlighting the demand from schools for an energy focussed reduction programme Warm Wales responded with a ‘Warm Schools’ programme. The aim was to deliver a holistic solution to the environmental and financial challenges faced by schools and communities across Wales which would then act as a catalyst for wider community based social and economic improvements.
The project utilised the skills of Warm Wales staff to assist 10 schools from across South Wales to participate in activities that increased learning and understanding of energy conservation. The programme used interactive, fun and hands-on workshops to deliver the knowledge and skills required to cut energy consumption, leaving schools empowered to streamline and coordinate their environmental schemes.
In order to engage and involve the local community, schools organise community energy surgeries to disseminate their new skills and knowledge to wider community. Within these surgeries, pupils are the experts and provide the information to community members, giving schools the opportunity to forge new links with the local community.
Understanding the vital role of resources and their contribution to society is an important aspect of the education process and has links to National Curriculum key stages 1 and 2. These lessons were taken into the pupils’ homes and local communities to initiate a long-term behavioural change in terms of their attitude towards energy conservation.
Every school can make savings but to be really successful a ‘whole school approach’ was required. This encompassed everyone in the school community from pupils, teachers, auxiliary services, parents and households. All are utility users and were encouraged to play their part. The Warm Schools project worked with 10 schools, covering 1219 pupils and 18 adults and delivered a number of key outcomes:
- Pupils, teachers and community gained knowledge of energy conservation and gas safety
- Reduced costs for schools allowing for increased investment elsewhere
- Community reduce utility usage helping to alleviate fuel poverty
- New relationships formed between pupils and local community
- Schools and communities reduce impact on the environment
Volunteers assisted in developing the project during consultation and also supported the project when we ran energy surgeries. These activities also provided an opportunity for local community members to become involved in the programme and assist in its operation. Local School Committees participated in the programme as did Parent Teacher Association (PTA)’s in the delivery of events and activities.
The project was delivered as a long-term initiative for school and community engagement that can be replicated to bring support to local communities, not just for energy conservation but also for the creation of wider social, economic and environmental benefits. The long-term sustainability of the programme is was an element important of our work as it will allow the continuation of Warm Schools in the future.
All schools that the project worked with expressed further interest in adopting a scheme that provides pupils with fun and interactive ways of teaching about the environment whilst, also having a mechanism to curb the escalating utility costs that schools suffer.