This time last year I had the very strange feeling of not going back to school for the first time in my career. For the first time I didn’t have that feeling of nervous excitement that signals a new academic year, and dread of an early alarm call after 6 weeks of leisurely mornings. Instead I had a different feeling of anticipation of the possibilities ahead, starting a new venture that has become Green Schools Project. A year ago it was merely an idea that a social enterprise could be created by helping schools to set up and run an environmental programme, helping their students to build important skills and saving the school money on energy bills. A year later and a lot has happened! Here’s a quick outline of what has been achieved so far:

1.   Website and Resources Developed

All the Green Schools Project resources required to run the programme have been developed, using the experience of Kingsmead School in Enfield which gained an Eco-Schools Green Flag award due to the success of the campaigns led by the Eco-Team. These can be downloaded from the Green Schools Project website www.greenschoolsproject.org.uk .

2.   Pilot Schools

Three pilot schIMG_0237ools have been working on projects and trialling the resources since last September: Bishop Thomas Grant School in Lambeth, Ark John Keats in Enfield and Skinners Academy in Hackney. All assembled Eco-Teams from a variety of Year groups and they all decided to start by tackling the issue of recycling. They approached it in different ways, all seeing a big increase in the amount of recycling that happened and raising awareness. Bishop Thomas Grant and Ark John Keats also grew vegetables such as peas, beans, potatoes, while Bishop Thomas Grant also raised money for endangered animal conservation.

3.   12 New Schools On Board

The first n4ew school to join Green Schools Project was Northumberland Park in Haringey. They launched a recycling campaign, and cleared an area to grow vegetables in the summer term. Follow their work on twitter: @NPCS_Sustain . The summer term was a busy period for schools joining to start the programme in September, with a total of 15 schools set to get to work on a variety of projects including energy saving and reducing litter.

4.   Awards Won

In June last year, Green Schools Project won an UnLtd Do It Award, this helps social entrepreneurs to put ideas into practice. Funding was provided, and help with legal issues, accounting, marketing and peer group support was invaluable in guiding me through the first year. Earlier this year I secured an RSA Catalyst award, providing funding and networking opportunities, and in the coming year I will be part of the School of Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme.

It’s been a busy year, and has been a big change for me adapting to life outside the classroom, but I remain as committed as ever to ensuring that more schools provide students with the opportunity to get involved in environmental projects. Climate change will be the defining global issue of their generation, so building the skills to help change behaviour in their communities could not be more important!

If you’re interested in getting involved, please get in touch: henry@greenschoolsproject.org.uk

Green Schools Project – One Year Old!

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