Sustainable Hackney’s Education for Sustainability’s Working Group got off to a great start in 2019 with the opportunity to join the eight schools comprising the Primary Advantage Schools’ Federation in their In-Service Training Day. The event focused on the Sustainable Development Goals, which are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.
Our Working Group team was allotted goal 13 – Climate Change Action and delivered three workshops on mitigating climate change through Education for Sustainability throughout the day, attended by some of the teachers from these schools. We appreciated the positive feedback and it has inspired us to approach more schools in the coming year; to widen our reach and deliver more training sessions in local schools in our quest to make Hackney schools a beacon for Education for Sustainability. We also took the chance to network with other contributors on the day.
We ended 2018 with a gathering with LEEF (London Environmental Education Federation) at the Ecology Centre at in Tower Hamlets Cemetery where we took the chance to find out about training sessions in the upcoming year and spread our message a little further.
2019 is the year when we hope to continue expanding our influence and contacts in Hackney schools. We wish to continue encouraging a whole school approach while engaging pupils and parents as well as those in a wide range of positions in the schools including governors and ancillary staff.
We continue to offer support in delivering Education for Sustainability through pupil workshops, whole school assemblies, teacher advisory sessions and Eco-team support. We also continue to liaise with EcoActive, (https://ecoactive.org.uk/ who are our local Environmental Education deliverer and who can offer free sessions in local schools due to the support of Hackney Council.
Since our previous networking meeting at Millfields Community Primary School was attended by around six schools and focussed on Waste and Recycling, we have continued to appreciate the benefits of these meetings and will choose a different strand from the Eco-schools programme at each event.
At our latest meeting in the Town Hall in January, we took the opportunity to focus on the Global Citizenship strand of the programme and tie in with the forthcoming Fairtrade Fortnight that is coming up in February/March 2019. It was hosted by Councillor Gilbert Smyth who is Hackney Council’s Fair Trade Champion. We invited Adam Gardner from the national Fairtrade Foundation and he engaged us with the ethos and programmes that his organisation runs for schools. Gilbert Smyth continued by explaining the plans for encouraging the sale of Fairtrade goods locally and ideas for Fairtrade Fortnight. Our other guest Emily Pelter inspired us with the possibility of Connecting Classrooms, a programme run by the British Council and offering links between UK schools and other around the world as well as sponsored trips abroad for participating schools. We would like to extend our thanks to all of these contributors.
Our forthcoming plans are to work with as many schools as possible and accommodate their needs and expectations. We have also made links with Trees for Cities who offer an initiative called Edible Playgrounds,which can be found at https://www.treesforcities.org/our-work/edible-playgrounds. This initiative will tie in with the proposed theme of our next Networking Meeting in April, which will focus on school grounds development. We hope this might initiate some interest from some keen school gardeners and the chance to share ideas in improving and exploiting outdoor spaces and learning.
We would also like to congratulate St John and St James who are close to reaching the Silver Stage of the Eco-schools Programme and Millfields school who are planning their application for the prestigious Green Flag Award.
Other schools are also working on the Eco-school’s programme and we would like to remind all schools that we are available to support them at whichever stage they are, not only with our networking meetings, but to come in to schools to deliver INSET, workshops, assemblies and coordinator/Eco-team advice sessions.
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