“A Green Plan provided initial actions around sustainability and waste, combining staff and pupils in a joint environmental committee”
Warren James, Cheadle Hulme School
Cheadle Hulme School, in South Manchester, has set about Decarbonisation and Net Zero measures across a range of projects, turning ideas to action throughout 2021/22. ‘Living’ the key school values in a meaningful way, ‘Altruism, Resilience, Compassion and Contribution’, resonates within the School and local community, partner school’s, contractors and affiliated organisations.
A holistic approach (taking a broad view of the environment and human sustainability) has the aim of improving the outcomes, understanding, engagement and ownership by an increasingly broad swathe of the community. It is a journey, but seen as an essential adjunct to education, life skills, social cohesion and, yes, business resilience.
A Green Plan provided initial actions around sustainability and waste, combining staff and pupils in a joint environmental committee. Ideas are blended with the operations of the site. For example, the small estates/grounds team have combined preparation of revised spaces with supporting the teaching about gardening, the use of food, waste management and support to pupil projects.
The Green Plan narrative was extended to parents and shared with a number of stakeholders and partners, alongside a communications increase and developing coherent imagery. Through its actions and ambitions, the School hopes to influence the behaviour and expectations of its entire community as future global citizens and leaders and help them make a positive impact on society.
Lovely words but what does this mean in practice?
What’s next? ‘Persistence’!
It is clear that this cannot be a one-shot wonder, or based around a few individuals’ experience or enthusiasm; behavioural, cultural and actionable change takes time, repetition, engagement, flexibility and continuity. We have to be the change we need to see.
The School is moving towards a full Estate Decarbonisation Plan, deciding on a partner for measurement, data-analysis, accreditation and advice on next steps. We’re considering the potential to enable power generation to take the school ‘off-grid’, materially reducing its impact on society, providing example to others and controlling costs.
The School will start to host an annual ‘Eco Con’ with sustainability workshops and displays, supporting the journey of others. Recent solar panel surveys should lead to decisions on which buildings and what returns are worth immediate and medium-term investment.
Written by Warren James, Chief Operating Officer at Cheadle Hulme School
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