RESOURCES FOR TEACHING ABOUT SUSTAINABLE
This guide was compiled by CAT for the East Midlands Assembly
1. Introduction 3
Subject potential 4
The sustainable school 4
The Web 5
2. Resources 6
Sources of further resources 6
Creating the sustainable school (action to change the school itself) 6
Encompassing many areas 9
Climate change 10
Energy – energy saving and renewable energy 11
Development issues 19
Fair trade / trading issues 20
The Ecological Footprint 20
Food, farming, forestry 20
World summit on sustainable Development 23
Sources of data about the State of the World and info for teachers 24
3. Subject specific resources 26
Design and Technology 26
Business Studies & Economics 27
4. Appendix 29 Supplier and organisation details 29
Teaching resources now come in a great variety of forms: books, packs, CD roms, videos, the web, schemes with or without support, places to visit and also the environment in & around the school.
It is extremely difficult for teachers to get to know about all the resources and opportunities available. They need to search the web, contact organisations, look for resource lists, go through educational publishers catalogues, go to exhibitions and conferences, have access to what arrives on the desk of the Headteacher or head of department and be very well organised in collecting, collating and storing what they come across. In our contact with teachers through CAT, we find that even the most enthusiastic of teachers have not seen materials which they would find very useful. We show teachers things that we know have been sent free to every school and they have very rarely seen them. For teachers, finding resources is very time consuming and they do not have that time.
The cost of resources is frequently a problem, either because they don‟t control the budget or
it is too small. There is a further issue, which teachers frequently mention, which is the logistics of getting things paid for by the school and the difficulty of claiming money back if they spend their own. This is again a problem of time.
With all materials there is an issue of being able to judge which resources are “good”. In this context this means not only appropriate to the age range, written in appropriate language, easy to use and fit to curriculum / syllabus needs but also whether the resource is accurate in it‟s content and enhances pupils‟ understanding of sustainable development.
There is a need for resources that educate teachers about what Sustainable development is, what areas it encompasses and how one can prioritise issues. The QCA website attempts this but uses a list of key concepts which, in our experience, leave primary teachers confused and alienated. If they are supported with training sessions they can eventually find the key concepts a useful checklist to see how broad their delivery has been.
There is a very comprehensive CD rom available free from UNESCO Teaching and Learning
for a Sustainable Future. The November 2000 issue of the New Internationalist provided a useful perspective of Sustainability. Ofsted have recently produced a very readable account of work on sustainability happening in 26 schools that they have visited. Called Taking the
first step forward…towards an education for sustainable development, it is a very good way in
for teachers to get a sense of what it is all about and what is possible. It is available at www.ofsted.gov.uk/publications/index.cfm?fuseaction=pubs.summary&id=3389
Sustainable development embraces areas that used to be defined as Environmental education, Development Education, global education and energy education (and probably more). Some resources that were written under any of these headings in the past did deliver what we now call ESD. For example, they did so if they focussed on reducing our use of fossil fuels and particularly so, if they linked that to global impacts with specific reference to our impact on the rest of the world‟s population. There are some “old” materials that are still the best thing produced in particular areas.
Some resources deliver one bit of ESD without any reference to the big picture. Such resources can be very useful as long as the teacher has enough knowledge to be able to put them into a broader context. For example a resource that deals with threats to a particular animal species because of climate change could be valuably used if the teacher discusses with the students how this also relates to the needs of and threats to people. A resource that
looks at recycling a material could be valuably used if the teacher raises the issue of whether the product need ever have been made in the first place.
The content of educational resources is not always accurate. Sometimes there are actual inaccuracies but also misleading impressions are given by providing incomplete information. This seems to be a particular problem with general textbooks covering all aspects of a curriculum area, when the author cannot be an expert in everything and frequently appears to fall into using what one might read in the popular press. Many geography and science textbooks deal very superficially with issues of sustainable development. Some sections on climate do not refer to climate change or its causes. Sections on fossil fuels often include their relationship with acid rain but not with climate change. Sections on renewable sources of energy often include inaccuracies but also there are frequently lists of impacts of sources of energy with pros and cons, which lack rigour, rarely compare equivalent things and seem to be obsessed with producing lists of equal length.
Production of resources is funded in a variety of ways; on a “commercial” basis where the product has to be sold to cover the cost of production (writing, printing and promoting), with grants from government, public bodies and trusts but also from private companies. Increasingly the funding for resources is coming from private companies. If the funder has a lot of money then it is possible for them to distribute their resources for free, produce them in a very „glossy‟ form and publicise them much more effectively than a small organisation can. There can also be a question of bias in the way issues are presented. Some teachers draw their students‟ attention to who has funded a resource and this should always be done.
There are organisations which try to compile useful lists of resources and some have searchable databases on their websites. The Council for Environmental Education (CEE) do this with a very broad remit of sustainability, CREATE do it for energy resources and the Development Education Association (DEA) and Worldaware do it for development issues. There are organisations which sell publications from a variety of sources through mail order lists. This includes CAT and Oxfam.
Traditionally teachers have covered issues of environmental and development education particularly in Geography, frequently in Science and also in Design and Technology. PSE and Citizenship offer opportunities.
Sustainable development has such a broad remit that there is considerable potential for extending work into areas of the curriculum that are not traditionally seen as touching on it. This includes Maths, History, Drama, English and other languages.
However, most of the resources have been written to contribute to work in Geography, Science, PSE/Citizenship or Design and Technology.
The sustainable school
There is a strong argument that curriculum work will remain superficial in the minds of students if the school is not trying to make itself a more sustainable place. The key areas for action are those which lead to a reduction in fossil fuel use (heating and lighting the school, transport of students and teachers, consumption of materials) and those which produce a culture of care and responsibility for others (people in the South, other students, teachers, the local community) and for the physical environment of the school and its surroundings.
A key element is the empowerment of young people. They have to be involved in the process of decision making and action. Organisations with an interest in increasing the participation of young people include Save the Children UK (www.savethechildren.org.uk/) and the National
Children‟s Bureau (www.ncb.org.uk) and the Woodcraft Folk (www.woodcraft.org.uk). The
Eco-school approach involves pupils in the process. The materials produced by the Get Global project are particularly effective in this area.
Energy, waste production and water use can be significant as management issues when budgetting for the running of school premises.
Sources of support locally
Energy Efficiency Advice Centres operate on behalf of the Energy Saving Trust. EEACs provide impartial advice on energy matters to householders, small businesses and schools. They supply and process home energy survey forms. These can be used to reinforce the relevance of what pupils learn at school to energy-saving and comfort in their homes.
Most local authorities have an Agenda 21 officer or Sustainable Development Officer and also an Energy Agency.
Groundwork operates in many places and frequently works with schools, particularly on physical improvement to the local environment.
The range of material available on the web is rapidly increasing. A number of producers of resources are moving towards putting their resources on the web instead of producing them in paper form or CD-rom. The cost of printing resources can be prohibitive, particularly if the print run is small. The content can be updated more easily and teachers can use the materials more flexibly.
Defra's Sustainable Development Education Panel produced a final report in February 2003, with the title Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development in England. It is available on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/environment/sustainable/educpanel/index.htm.
The UK Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee has recently produced a report on ESD. It is available at
www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/environmental_audit_committee/reports_and_thpublications.cfm It is the 10 report, Learning the Sustainability Lesson.
The DfES has also very recently produced its Sustainable Development Action Plan, which is available at www.dfes.gov.uk/sd/docs/sdactionplan.pdf
There will be some repetition in this list due to the impossibility and undesirability of classifying everything in discrete categories.
KS 4+ means for KS and higher so probably not appropriate without adaptation for lower ability KS4 pupils. Such materials can be very useful for teacher information. The contact details of suppliers are at the end
Sources of further resources
Council for Environmental Education
The CEE is an umbrella organisation which provides a national focus in England for those committed to education for sustainable development. It provides information on a very wide range of sustainable development resources through its website but also a range of newsletters and publications.
The CEE website www.cee.org.uk is a gateway to education for sustainable development. Here, visitors can explore the links between education, environment and sustainable development. It provides information on national policies, professional practice, member organisations, educational resources, events and funding opportunities.' CEE produces CEEmail to save teachers time accessing information and resources. CEEmail is a resources and information newsletter, now available on LEA intranets on request. Hard copies are sent to CEE members and are available in small quantities at a cost. It can also be downloaded via the CEE website downloads section. Teachers can join CEE as associates and receive CEEmail as well as CEEview, news briefings etc. They can also choose to just subscribe to CEEmail.'
CEE has a reference library for visitors where they have access to copies of the listed resources and can be assitance from the information staff. Prior appointments must be made by telephone or email to CEE. Publications data are held on a database which is also accessible in the library
CREATE is the Centre for Research, Education and Training in Energy . It co-ordinates the Energy Education Forum (EEF) which includes the major statutory and non-statutory organisations active in energy education. It also produces EnergyWatch, a free termly newsletter to let teachers know of recent developments in all branches of energy education and school energy management.
Development Education Association
The DEA produces a series of guidance booklets for a number of subjects on Global
Perspectives in the National Curriculum. Some are currently out of date ands out of print.
Look out for new ones on their website.
For waste issues - www.wasteonline.org.uk
Creating the sustainable school (action to change the school itself)
Building Energy Efficiency in Schools - A guide to a Whole School Approach: Adult Book
This is the key publication in BRECSU's series for schools.
Energy meter 8 - adult Appts
Simple plug-in meter to record electricity consumption and cost.
Evaluating and Inspecting the Environmental Dimension of Schools: A Checklist for Schools;
Inspecting the Environmental Dimension of Schools: A Checklist for School Inspectors
Guidance to identify and report on the good environmental practices of schools within the statutory inspection framework. Energy is one of the aspects covered. The former was sent to all schools in June 1999.
Managing Energy 14 - Adult Book
(ISBN 0 86357 215 4) This book includes the basic sheets for recording consumption and subsequent data-processing. It could be useful for teachers and administrators involved in school energy management.
Managing school facilities: Guide 3 - Saving Energy Adult Book
(ISBN 0 11 270880 3) The Department for Education and Employment has compiled this short, straightforward general introduction to school energy management.
DfEE from The Stationery Office
Managing school facilities: Guide 5 – Purchasing Energy Adult Book
(ISBN 0 11 271036 0) A technical guide compiled by DfEE.
DfEE from The Stationery Office
Our world - our responsibility Adult Book
This is a guidebook showing how schools can involve pupils and the local community in putting environmental concern into action. It has been written by a consortium of leading environmental education organisations, led by the RSPB and CEE.
SchoolEnergy Programme (formerly Energy Cashback Scheme) Adult Pack
A fund for rebates to help schools upgrade their heating, lighting, hot water, ventilation and insulation systems, etc. Pupil involvement is a key component. Administered by CREATE on behalf of the Energy Saving Trust, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and British Gas.
SchoolEnergy Hotline: 0870 7000 457
Schools' Environmental Assessment Method Adult Book
Buildings Bulletin 83: (ISBN 0 11 270772 6): SEAM is designed so that managers and their architects can conduct assessments of their school's impact on the environment. It will help
them identify those aspects of the building, its systems and operation where action should be taken.
DfEE from The Stationery Office
Schools’ Financial Comparisons Adult website
This benchmarking website from the Audit Commission enables schools to prepare charts and compare their expenditure with similar schools
Schools Toolkit Adult Floppy
This software has been developed by the Building Research Establishment. It is a management tool that provides a means of assessing present environmental performance (including energy), setting priorities for action and monitoring progress towards targets. It was sent free to every school in the UK during September 1997. Further details from BREEAM Centre at the Building Research Establishment.
STEP seminar; STEP workshop Adult
These are two components of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Region‟s Schools Turnkey Energy Programme. The STEP seminar lasts half a day explains why energy should be an issue within schools and outline what can be done, while the STEP workshop lasts a day and guides school managers through some of the processes involved. Events are organised through local authority energy managers.
Turn On Budget Savings Adult Audio-tape
This audio-cassette contains a ten minute presentation for headteachers, governors and finance officers. School managers discuss the benefits of managing energy savings through a co-ordinated, integrated scheme with educational advantages.
Water in the School
Water conservation in the school – guidance background info for teachers, activity and info
sheets for pupils, school case studies and downloadable software for analysis of water meter readings.
www.waterintheschool.co.uk ks2& ks3
How to make your school water efficient:
A step-by-step guide produced by the Environment Agency
(free from EA on 0845 933 3111)
The Eco-Schools scheme provides a framework for involving the school community in making the school a more sustainable place. The Award is made to any school that meets certain criteria. Supported by Going for Green in the UK, Eco-Schools is managed by RNCAMS (formerly the Tidy Britain Group). The areas of activity vary from those which reduce our CO2 production, like saving energy, to those which make the school a pleasanter place, like collecting litter.
www.e4s.org.uk/ has some interesting things including a report on Greening Britain’s Schools
Healthy Schools Programme Scheme
This is part of the UK Governments‟s drive to improve standards of health and tackle health inequalities. Its aim is to make children, teachers, parents and communities more aware of the opportunities that exist in schools for improving health. There is a newslette and, a young people‟s network.
Safe Routes to School Scheme
Safe Routes to School is run by Transport 2000 and provides resources such as A Safer journey to School Book
A guide to school travel plans for parents, teachers and governors. Free copies from DfEE
Action at School Scheme
An environmental programme run by Global Action Plan, that helps the whole school community to go green and save money. It is curriculum linked for key stages 3 & 4. Schools can choose to tackle energy, transport, waste or water over 3 terms.
Developing the School Grounds
Learning through Landscapes produce a lot of resources, mainly for primary schools but they do have publications for staff in secondary schools (some is guidance for managers). Click on „schools‟ and then „secondary‟ on their website.
HTI and Severn Trent have produced a scheme for a whole school approach. You can carry out an environmental assessment of your school on their website -
Encompassing many areas
The QCA website contains guidance on teaching about sustainable development and examples of curriculum work in a variety of subjects
Portal for teachers with themed links to relevant agencies & support organisations. www.dfee.gov.uk/teachers/
A series of short videos produced by C4 schools. Lively and informative. Targetted up to KS3 but they are usable with older pupils.
Also website - www.channel4.com/planet
?19.99 for the 7 programmes, ?3.95 for Teachers Guide, 4Learning
Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future CD rom – teacher education
A teacher training programme on Sustainable Development, available on website or CD rom. Contains information, ideas, graphics and even a song.
Taking the first step forward…towards an education for sustainable development -everyone
Ofsted have recently produced a very readable account of work on sustainability happening in 26 schools that they have visited. This is a very good way in for teachers to get a sense of what it is all about and what is possible. It is available at
Understanding Global Issues Booklets KS 4+
A series of booklets on a wide range of topics, but aimed at “top of high school”.
New Internationalist magazine & website KS 4+
A magazine on global issues with a website where you can search the index for topics. The November 2000 issue was on Sustainability (No 329). It can be downloaded from the website. www.newint.org
Little Earth Book
This little book is not written for pupils or teachers but is a useful resource because it has short, clearly written, thought provoking pieces that could be used as starting points for discussion or to provide information.
?5.99 available from CAT
WWF website KS 3&4
There are downloadable resources for a range of levels as well as details of ones that can be bought. WWF also runs on-line discussions for pupils.
A Consumer Society Poverty and Equality Urban Sprawl
All books for KS 4+
Books in the Issues series which all contain short, illustrated articles by a number of different organisations, giving a broad perspective. Photocopiable.
?6.95 available from CAT
One Small Step – Understanding the Science of Environmental Issues book
Teaching sustainable Development in Primary Schools pack
These are for teachers but contains many ideas of how to teach clearly about issues. Produced for non-specialist (non Science) secondary and primary teachers by the Primary Science Education Research unit at Oxford.
book ?12, pack ?15 available from ASE and CAT
The Globe Programme
This is an international project through which pupils measure aspects of their local environment, producing data which is entered into a global database via the internet. Pupils then have access to the data entered all over the world. The scheme offers training for teachers and practical activities in Geography, Science, Maths and ICT.
In talking about Climate Change and Global Warming, many educational resources say that “Some scientists think that burning fossil fuels is causing an increase in temperature…and some scientists think that climate Change is not happening”. this is misleading. The vast