Published on: Fri 12th June 2009
Currie Community High School and Ashley CofE Primary School were tonight awarded joint top place in the Ashden Schools Awards, for their pioneering work on sustainable energy. HRH The Prince of Wales announced the winners at a ceremony in London.
“These two schools have shown that right across the age range, committed schools with imaginative teaching can engage pupils and the wider community to reduce energy use.”
Joint First Prize: Currie Community High School – young people take giant strides to reduce energy use
Currie is a 900-pupil secondary school near Edinburgh that has taken giant strides in reducing energy use over the past 10 years. The first school in Edinburgh to install a wind turbine, and the first Scottish school to win an Ashden Award, it also has a solar thermal system, and pupils enjoy cross-curricular learning on sustainable energy. Sustainable energy issues are core to the school’s day-to-day practice: pupils have patrolled the classrooms, switching off lights and appliances; use energy monitors to track energy use; and make pledges to save energy at home. Their Energy Group has reduced lighting wastage alone by 5%. 2,000 lights have been upgraded to low-energy designs; windows have been sealed and doors replaced to reduce heat loss, and the boiler is switched off for several months of the year. Solar thermal panels heat the school swimming pool. (£15,000 prize awarded)
Joint First Prize: Ashley CofE Primary School – primary school energy plan inspired by penguins in a pickle
After witnessing climate change first-hand in 2007 when leading an education team to learn about its impact on the Antarctic, Richard Dunne, head teacher of Ashley School in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, (3) returned home determined to embark on an ambitious carbon-cutting programme at his school. Pupils have risen to the challenge, working alongside governors and staff to make the school an inspiring success story: the school has adopted a range of renewable technologies and energy efficiency measures: a solar photovoltaic array, energy efficient lighting and behavioural activities have resulted in a 51% reduction in annual electricity consumption at the school, leading to 11 tonnes of CO2 saved per year. Excess electricity generated is exported to the grid and earns the school 10p per kWh. The installation of a biomass boiler has reduced the use of gas and thus further lowered the school’s carbon emissions. (£15,000 prize awarded)
The Ashden Awards judges commented:
“What Currie has achieved is not just installation of technology, it also has the pupil-led encouragement of sustainable energy behaviour. The way that Currie has embedded energy education throughout its curriculum is one of its main strengths and can be shared with other schools.”
The judges continued:
“Ashley School demonstrates what can be achieved when a governing body, head teacher, staff and parents work together to make a school more sustainable.”
The Ashden Schools Awards are supported by WWF. David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF said:
"WWF is honoured to be sponsoring the Ashden Schools Award in 2009. Schools have an important role to play in championing action on climate change. Young people can take real action in their homes and schools today. But they are also tomorrow’s citizens and decision-makers: we need to ensure they have the skills, knowledge and practical experience to make wise choices about the future of our planet."
For more information on the Ashden Awards, click here.