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Johnson Launches Sustainable Schools Consultation


15 May 2006

Education Secretary Alan Johnson today launched a framework for action for schools to become models of sustainable development in their communities.

The framework contains ideas for encouraging pupils to walk or ride to school, interesting ways of exploring sustainable development issues in the curriculum and incorporating environmental projects in their buildings and grounds.

Alan Johnson said: “Schools are at the heart of their communities and many are already leading the way by encouraging sustainability in different areas of school life by looking at things like efficient use of energy and water. I would like to see this replicated in all schools.

“Young people are keenly aware of, and highly motivated by, environmental issues. In many ways they are ahead of adults in their attitudes to recycling and conservation. Channelling this enthusiasm helps raise achievement and improve behaviour and could save money as well as addressing big issues such as climate change – it really is a win-win solution.

This is believed to be the first government consultation to be carbon neutral. The following key areas are covered:

1: Food and drink - considering how food for school meals can be ethically sourced

2: Energy and water – reducing the demand for energy and water thorough energy and water conservation

3: Travel and traffic- encouraging and supporting more eco-friendly journeys to schools for example walking and cycling.

4: Purchasing and waste - reducing costs and support markets for ethical goods and services at the same time.

5: Buildings and grounds – good design can translate into improved staff morale, pupil behaviour and achievement as well as nature conservation.

6: Inclusion and participation – providing an inclusive, welcoming atmosphere that values everyone’s participation and contribution

7: Local well-being – acting as a hub of learning and change in the local community

8: Global dimension – helping pupils to appreciate the impact of their personal values, choices and behaviours on the wider world.

Mr Johnson and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Parmjit Dhanda marked the launch of the consultation with a visit to Argyle Primary School in Camden, London. The school has developed several sustainable development projects, including a watering system powered by renewable energy, small world activities about minibeasts and a Parents Action and Development Group who work on issues such as healthy living, safe play and road safety. Staff as well as pupils are encouraged to travel to schools by eco-friendly way such as cycling and walking.

Deputy Headteacher Helen Adams said: “Today’s publication is a really clear document which I think will really help people engage with and understand sustainability in schools.”

Editor’s Notes
This press notice relates to ’England’
1 - The consultation will run until 1 September. For more details see

2 – The consultation will be followed by a launch of variety of tools including a sustainable development schools website, a clear framework of action and means of self-evaluation.

3 - The sustainable schools consultation is climate neutral. Working with Climate Care, we have offset the CO2 emissions arising from all printing and distribution, consultation events, and response routes. The money used to offset these will go towards sustainable energy projects, like the production of energy efficient cooking stoves for schools in India.


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