Sustainable Schools futures scenarios: Beyond BSF?

Beyond BSF: Notes from a recent Manchester Environment Education Network MEEN eventSmall groups looked at the Eight Sustainable Doorways (from theSustainable Schools Agenda) in a Standing in the Future type exercise. The doorway statements ‘had happened’, they were reality rather than ambition. The task was to outline what had taken place between way back in 2010 and now to make all this happen.

Our ‘doorways’ were Buildings & Grounds, and Energy & Water, with the scenario developed indicating what could be possible using the cancellation of the Buildings School for the Future programme as a driver for change

First, doorway statements extracts

  • The way school buildings are designed constructed and managed affects their ‘ability’ to teach pupils about sustainable living.
  • All schools, old and new manage and design buildings in a way that visibly demonstrate sustainable development to everyone who uses the school.
  • Through their grounds, pupils are closer to nature, capture their imaginations in outdoor play and help them learn about sustainable living.
  • All schools are models for efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation

A futures scenario looking back to  2010:2010
Building Schools for the Future programme axed for many schools.
Outcome:
Schools take ownership for developing sustainable schools. Previously they had relied on others (Government) to do it for them
Voice of pupils and teachers becomes more powerful influential in school development leading to 2012 when Sustainable school development is included in the new School Teaching Framework

2012
School Budgets cut further
Energy costs, especially oil costs soar

Carbon Reduction Commitments start to bite, within schools, public sector and large private organisations

Outcomes:
Real focus on energy saving measures in school
Joint ventures between industry and schools to use surplus heat from industrial / IT sector to heat schools, with pilots in 2012 and widespread use from 2014
New planning directives require any new schools to be sited near industry, but that clean and new industry to be sited near schools
Managing energy part of the School Teaching Framework

2013
Further cuts in education
Outcomes
Surge in local activism. parents and governors take hands on driving of sustainable school agenda
2014 Usable School Code introduced:  Requirement for new school and major school refurbishments to be approved by parents, teachers and pupils.

2013
Carbon Offsetting focus and Carbon Reduction Scheme allows industry to supply renewable technology into schools free of charge under section 106 type agreements
Feed in Tariffs revised to make it extremely attractive to supply energy to grid
Outcome:
Schools bristle with eco-technology, providing far more energy than they use.
Schools used as energy ‘provider’ during school closed periods
Schools piloted as smart grid pioneers
Schools become learning centres for sustainable living

2014
Building directives require only local labour and materials to be used. Transport costs make new build prohibitive. In anticipation of a ban on non essential new build, their is a rush to refurb existing stock
Outcome
New school construction ceased.
Reclaiming and recycling of existing buildings for school use becomes best practice.

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