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Schools: Sustainable Development

Volume 473: debated on Monday 17 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what publicly funded sources of information are available to head teachers who want to (a) reduce the carbon footprint of their school and (b) promote environmentally friendly behaviour within their school and community; (193071)

(2) what sources of public funds are available to head teachers to take steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their school;

(3) what sources of public funds are available for head teachers who wish to spend money on the deployment of renewable energy technology within their school;

(4) what sources of public funds are available to support head teachers who wish to promote energy efficiency in their school;

(5) what plans he has to increase the amount of (a) information and (b) funding for head teachers who wish to (i) reduce the carbon footprint of their school and (ii) promote environmentally friendly behaviour in the school and community.

The National Framework for Sustainable Schools provides an overarching structure for schools to consider the impact of their curriculum, their campus and their place in the community on the environment and on sustainable development more widely. It supports schools to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours that young people will need to ensure their futures in a sustainable world.

The Department has funded the production of the following resources to support head teachers and other school stakeholders in reducing the carbon footprint of their schools and to promote environmentally friendly behaviour within schools and communities:

A Sustainable Schools website which is hosted on and provides links to sources of information and support from a range of public and third sector bodies.

A self-evaluation tool (s3) has been designed to help schools evaluate their current efforts to create a sustainable school and to inform their next steps.

Guidance for governors (including a training package) to help them understand the benefits of sustainable schools, and provide the leadership necessary to position sustainability at the heart of school life.

Guidance for bursars—a short handbook addressing energy, water, waste, travel and procurement issues in schools.

Guidance for teachers—curriculum resources and information about professional development.

Top tips guidance on the following “doorways” in the sustainable schools national framework: energy and water, sustainable travel, and waste.

The Carbon Detectives’ Kit for children and young people to help them measure their school’s carbon footprint and set targets to reduce it.

The National College for School Leadership (NCSL) are currently developing a resource for school leaders which will provide practical tips for developing sustainability.

In addition to the advice and materials already available to support the National Framework for Sustainable Schools, we will shortly publish new guidance called "Planning a Sustainable School" which will enable schools to develop strategic plans to drive school improvement through Sustainable development. The guidance will be available in March 2008.

The Department has no plans to list the sources of public funding available to head teachers for investment in energy efficiency, deployment of renewable energy or the reduction of a school’s carbon footprint. This service is already available from government agencies and other organisations, which provide information on funding available for these measures nationally and regionally, and which list both public and private sources of funding.

Under the New Relationship with Schools we are committed to high levels of delegated budget and fewer specific funding streams—so we are not inventing another pot of funding that schools would have to account for separately. A Sustainable school works smarter with its existing budget. “A Bursar’s guide to Sustainable school operation” outlines measures that can be taken to reduce a school’s environmental impact and make real cash savings while enhancing the teaching and learning element of Sustainable working practices within the school.