Ambitious Green Plans
Environmental concerns and global warming are prevalent topics of discussion in many classrooms, with more and more school children becoming actively engaged in the conversation.
At the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, a co-educational state boarding school in Surrey, the conversation is going one step further, with the School aiming to be one of the greenest schools in the country by 2021.
The School, which was recently identified as the most sought-after secondary school in Surrey by Surrey Live, has been located in Gatton Park since the early 1950s and many of its energy infrastructures date back to that era, but this forward-thinking School is about change the way it does things to significantly reduce its carbon footprint.
Already the School acquires all its electricity from renewable sources, and now it is taking steps to reduce the use of heating oil, as well as decreasing its overall energy consumption. And they are planning to go about it in an unusual way - using ground source heat pumps, which converts low level heat from the ground into environmentally-friendly energy. This energy source generates less CO2 than traditional heating systems. If the project is completed, the School will become one of the largest sites in the UK using ground source heat.
Mark Dixon, Headmaster at the School, explained: “The energy saving project we are planning is one that will revolutionise the way we source energy, whilst being sensitive to the 260 acres of historic parkland in which the School is located. By 2021, we hope to be one of the greenest schools in country. The next few years may see some disruption on site, but we believe it is our responsibility to listen to the concerns of our pupils and staff and take positive steps to reduce the carbon footprint of our School.”
This isn’t the first time the School has changed one of its policies for the environment. In 2014, pupils raised the issue of single-use plastics, and since then the School has given each new pupil a reusable water bottle to cut down on overall plastic use, both on site and on the many trips pupils participate in as part of the School’s extensive Trips Programme.
Raising awareness of environmental concerns is also a part of the School’s co-curricular programme. Pupils are engaged with the environment outside of lessons by taking part in the wide range of after school co-curricular activities on offer, such as learning how to grow pesticide-free vegetables in Allotment Club, or helping look after free-range chickens in Gatton Farm club. The School also has two Eco societies, one for Senior pupils and one for Junior pupils.
Miss Jennifer Ball, a Science teacher at the School who leads the Senior Eco Society said, “Recent media coverage and popular documentaries have incentivised our pupils to become more and more interested in the environment, and try to find ways that they can make a positive impact, however small. We have very passionate pupils who want to do more, and it will be very important to them that their School is taking this seriously and finding innovative and long-term solutions to help the environment.”
20 September 2019