National Energy Topic Award Winners:
St Cuthbert’s RCVA Primary School
“The children have pledged to continue their mission.”
Having recently joined the Eco-Schools family, St Cuthbert’s discovered (through their Environmental Review) that their school’s energy use and energy bills were increasing. This had to be one of the first issues their Eco-Committee decided to tackle! After discussing how to raise awareness of energy use, children on the Eco-Committee decided to go big: they wanted a full school day without electricity. An Action Plan was put into place and a date arranged.
The whole school and it’s local community were involved. A letter was sent to parents recommending warm clothing and layers be worn as the electric heating would not be in use. The school canteen staff were advised they would not be able to use electrical equipment on the day. Finally, the press were informed with Look North, Tyne Tees News, Made in Tyne & Wear and the Sunderland Echo all covering the story. Even the local mayor asked to attend to find out more.
A whole school assembly kicked off their no electricity day, explaining climate change, technological changes and giving pupils questions to think about: how did children entertain themselves before electricity? How did people see at night without electrical lighting? How was food stored before fridges? Pupils and staff then moved on to electricity-free lessons and workshops that had been planned for all year groups, including: churning apples to make tasty apple juice and roasting marshmallows over a fire pit. Even the lunch time staff rose to the occasion, providing sandwiches, salads and fruit for the hungry troops. Throughout the day, six pupils monitored energy use in the school, calculating that their day of action had saved the school £40!
Since the Big Switch Off, the whole school has been more mindful about wasting energy, turning off electrical devices left on unnecessarily and becoming more reliable global citizens. The Eco-Committee have pledged to continue their eco-mission and are now thinking about the next environmental issue they want to address on their journey to their first Eco-Schools Green Flag.