Let’s Go Zero school action:Hitherfield Primary School, London, England
Hitherfield Primary School has made great strides in becoming more sustainable, and hopes to be an example to other schools to do the same. Some of the actions staff and students have taken include:
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“Climate change is something that’s high on the students’ radar. They’re very excited to think about what they could be doing and playing their part as well as being scared about the future.”
Chris Ashley-Jones , Headteacher
The school has taken part in the Transport for London Stars Program for sustainable travel for a number of years. They also offer scooter and cycle training along with free repairs run by the school’s Eco-Council. Pre-pandemic, the school was the only school in the area to have a walking bus.
There is a nature area and pond on the school site along with a chicken coop and a pavilion that staff hope to develop into an eco-hub. School grounds are open to families and community members to ensure nature-access to those who might not have outdoor space. In the edible playground, every student is given the chance to grow their own fruit and vegetables and learn about seasonality.
To tackle food waste, food recycling bins have been set up outside classrooms and the school is in the process of developing its own composting area. Students have been given specific roles to monitor the compost and ensure that food waste is being thrown away correctly, and staff have noticed a positive behaviour shift.
The school’s infrastructure has undergone a lot of sustainable development. They were funded by their local authority, Lambeth, to install solar panels and air source heat pumps, and also use LED lights and motion sensors to conserve energy and costs. Staff have started plans to improve energy-saving behaviours and will work with the Eco-Council to monitor energy use more effectively.
There has been a conscious effort to try and embed sustainability into the curriculum, and students are encouraged to think about the school in a wider environmental context.
Staff are also keen for the students to take responsibility for the edible garden, with outdoor growing lessons embedded into each half term for all students.