Kings College Operates a Good Example of an Environmentally Sustainable School? Essay

The environment is a key factor and is something we should take into consideration more and more now as we edge closer to global warming. Global warming is having a great effect on us now without us really knowing much about it. For example the factors that are playing a role are the amount of gas in the air that is being produced by humans. This is being done to produce electricity, heating and to drive our cars. It is vitally important that we start to do something about this as around the world; everyone will have to play their part to use less non renewable resources on a global scale. Therefore educating the younger generation to start to help look after and protect their environment becomes more and more important.

The responsibility for this will predominantly come from influencing them in their school environment, where they spend the majority of their time up to the age of 18. However this will only be possible if the school takes it upon itself to introduce new measures to become a more environmentally sustainable. This exposure in the school environment will hopefully encourage more renewable resources to be used outside of school at home by recycling. This will help people get used to this way for later in life when there maybe a shortage of non renewable resources such as oil, gas and coal. The way in which the school could become more environmentally friendly is by encouraging people to for example try not to waste paper and use both sides and promoting these ideas widely and visually around the school. Also recycling, reduce the food wastage and the amount of energy used by the school.

Kings college is a secondary school with students aged 11- 18, it is located in the south east of England in Guildford, surrey. It is located in the centre of a big council estate of Park Barn. It location is approximately 30 miles from the capital London.

It is located about 10 minute walk to Guildford train station directly on the main line to waterloo.

Aim: ‘Kings College promotes a culture of environmental sustainability and as such can be described as a sustainable school’.

To do this successfully I will be using sub aims these include:

> What is meant by an environmentally sustainable school?

> Also a questionnaire to find out whether students parents (stakeholders in the school) think this is an important issue – whether there is any difference based on age and socio economic group.

From this I am going to investigate what the school is already doing to be sustainable and what still could be improved throughout the school. The way in which I am going to try to obtain this information is by doing a questionnaire to a certain amount of students around school to find out how environmentally aware they are and also if they care about the effect of global warming and the sustainability of the school. Also this questionnaire will involve a question on the way in which students travel to school. Depending on the response in which I get I will then ask the people who say that they are environmentally friendly in what ways do they prove this.

Also a factor that could influence the feedback I get from the students could be difference in age and also difference in socio economic group. For example a year 7 student maybe doesn’t have as much knowledge as say a year 11 student on the matter and therefore I cannot make this too one sided towards either of the factors concerned so I will use a technique called random sampling where I will obtain all of the peoples names in a database which I will get from the schools records and use a function on there that randomly picks a selection of people from this.

After that I will then turn my attention to the school and how much energy is used? Are they wasting energy? They will lose energy due to the fact that most of the windows throughout the school are not double glazed. The new improvements throughout the school have double glazing, so if the school could invest into getting most if not all the school double glazed in the long run it will be cheaper and the initial cost will pay for itself. They will be wasting money and energy so the things they could do to limit this are that they could turn all the computers off when not in use (including school holidays), also the heating can be spared in the school holidays when the school is closed. Also they could bring in more renewable resources and energy if they can afford the initial cost as in the long term it is a very cheap and worthwhile initiative. Also the new toilets that were built in the summer are installed with sensors on the lights to save energy. The two classrooms that were built in 2005 have light tubes, which save money on lighting; also they have large roof ventilation to provide free cooling in the summer. Another thing that the new rooms have is radiator thermostats, so they are not being wasted when not needed.

Renewable energy is something that comes from natural resources and can be used over and over again; examples of these are things such as sunlight, wind, rain, which then help to produce solar power, wind power, hydroelectric power and biomass or bio fuels. I think the only realistic one that the school could possibly invest into is solar power as this is expensive but would be easy to install and wouldn’t be unpleasing to the eye either, also this would be good for the easy access to hot water. Whereas having a wind turbine in the school field would not be too popular amongst local residents. It is very large and doesn’t look to good unless it is off shore or in the countryside where it is out of the way.

Here are just a few of the initiatives already in place. The school are looking to introduce in the not to distant future and have begun slowly doing is to build more bike sheds to encourage cycling to school. Just recently the school have been obtaining a large quantity of second hand furniture rather than buying new. This came from three nearby organisations who were closing down there offices and were going to throw them away. This was done to prevent an unnecessary increase in deforestation. This year a survey was done on energy conservation recommending improvements to be made to existing initiatives. Regular water surveys to monitor the amount used and see how they can improve this and they have already fitted water waste reduction products in toilets.

Improvements have been made to the controlling systems regarding the heating. Reduction in the average temperature of the heating around school will help with money but not for the comfort of the students to work in. recently some of the doors leading outside have been replaced by automatic doors to prevent the loss of heat and causing money to go to waste. When the lights fail to work instead of replacing them with the same type, now the idea is that they spend a little more money on replacing the light fitting with a lower energy fitting and bulb. Instead of throwing away old books that are no longer needed can be transported and re-used in less economically developed countries such as Kenya. Rather than just throw equipment and furniture away that is damaged try to repair the damage instead of wasting it. Save making new uniform you could re-sell old uniform from previous students and save money by doing so, also their will be just hand downs for a while until they become worn out after they have been used to the limit. So we have started to make steps in the right direction to achieving the status of environmentally sustainable.

On the other hand we can’t let this be the end improvements need to be ongoing. Here are some of the things that still need to be improved throughout the school. If the school try to incorporate an energy policy to try to make students and staff more aware and save money not just at school but wherever they are. Also you could invite an energy expert to run a environmentally sustainable awareness workshop where the students could have different stations and suggest what could be done on each to reduce energy usage and make them aware of what can be done about that. Also you could continue recycling plastic but students need to improve this for this to become worth while and successful. Renewable energy is always an option to save money in the long term. Improving local metering so we know where we are using the most of our energy and how we can reduce this to be beneficial to the environment. Install point of use water heaters instead of using hot water from boilers a long distance from sinks.

Keep replacing more light fittings with more energy efficient light fittings, these use less power and last about the same amount of time if not longer but cost a little bit more, yet the prices probably level themselves out. Increasing insulation of pipes to prevent any energy being wasted. So maintenance has to be reviewed regularly to see if money and energy is being wasted. Each classroom throughout school should have radiator thermostatic control valves to adjust the temperature level to stop rooms getting needlessly overheated. Also with transport to school if you really live a way away maybe car share but if you live in the local community do not needlessly waste petrol and release harmful emissions, instead walk, this is not just good for the environment it is also good for children to get exercise to keep them healthy. Investigate on site composting to see if it is good enough to grow flowers or food. Lastly turn off equipment such as computers when not in use but also the heating can be switched off during holidays and in the summer term when the weather has got better. Add an environment lesson to the school curriculum to encourage change.

If the school introduced an environment lesson then not just in lesson would people do things but just in general wherever they are they will notice things that could save money and energy and will do something about this. This will not affect everyone but if the lesson was introduced in school for all years from 7-11’s then they may possibly be an increase in energy saved in the local area.

To do a carbon footprint of the school would be a very good indicator of how environmentally sustainable it is, from that you will be able to see where the school needs improving and what new methods could be introduced to achieve an all round better school

2This is a birds-eye view of Kings College School for the arts and technology in Guildford

Also what the school have started to introduce recently is recycling bins throughout the classrooms for all paper to be separated from ordinary rubbish but if the school are recycling that, a big issue is the amount of food wasted each day which just gets put in to the bin and chucked away and ends up filling up landfill sites. For example some of the sandwiches as soon as they have past there sell by date they are unable to sell them but they are still consumable if they are handed to people at charities such as ‘Fare Share’ who redistribute food.

When the school first open their were two main buildings and around an attendance of 300 with 450 bicycle racks so back then the means in which they travelled to school were a lot different with bicycle and walking the only choices available at the time, whereas the majority of students travel to school alone in cars which in unfriendly to the environment.

These two original buildings are still there today and have been the bases in which the schools newer buildings have been placed; this has eventually leaded to the main buildings originally now joined together with corridors and classrooms allowing these to connect.

3Kings College is located on the council estate of Park Barn; in Guildford this is also the name that the school originally had (Park Barn School). Until the school was becoming a failing school so they decided to rename the school to Kings Manor wear things picked up for a year and then the same thing happened the school was starting to go downhill. At this time the buildings were outdated having been originally built in the 1960’s. At this time no thought would have been made as to whether the school was environmentally sustainable, without knowing that today it would benefit to have more bike slots. Back when the school was built there were 400 bike slots, with the schools’ attendance not even reaching this so it just shows the change in transport on how people get to school? I will be accumulating a set of results from the survey asking on how people travel to school. From this I will see the amount of students that travel by car individually (not share lifts) and see how by travelling in a car is causing damage to the environment.

Then in 2000, the school reopened with an entirely new set of staff brought in, in addition to this the school was modernised with new science labs, 200 computers placed around the school with 2 new classrooms built along with an arts centre which cost around the �1.3million mark, which contained 2 music rooms, a dance studio, a drama studio and a recording studio. From this the school has just gone from strength to strength and not looked back with an Ofsted report of good which is an exceptional achievement considering where it has come from. With all of this new building and technology, I will investigate as to whether any thought about environmental sustainability went in to the redesign.

To have such a school in the predominantly and perceived negative area of Park Barn is brilliant. Below are some of the statistics of the school’s surrounding areas.

The rate of total deprivation is 11437 out of 32482, which means that just over one in three people living in the schools surrounding area are being deprived of something this tends to be higher on council estates as they are cheaper to maintain and rent is paid not a mortgage. Usually for first time buyers or people who are in financial trouble, if this is the case then the council can help them out by offering a thing called benefits which is a sum of money that helps them maintain there standard of living.

The methods that I will be exploring to find out more information will be by doing surveys and also comparing this school to a newly built environmentally sustainable school. To show how far off being an environmentally friendly school this school is and if it can be associated to and called environmentally sustainable.

An example of this is Williamstown high school that is in Australia an environmentally sustainable school which it was awarded in 2003. They focused on waste, biodiversity, water and energy. The current school buildings are scheduled to be demolished and a new sustainable school building, consistent with environmentally sound principles, will be built as a model environmental school. As a result of their involvement in Sustainable Schools, staff have identified and prioritised their requirements for their new school buildings to make the best use both financially and educationally of their resources. Since joining the sustainable schools:

> Sustainable programs are embedded in the curriculum

> Increased student and staff awareness of energy consumption and recycling

> Students have monthly environment group meetings

> Increased awareness of environmental problems in the local school community

> Willingness of the school community

> Partnerships have been developed

> Costs have been reduced

The school received a grant of $8,500 through the EPA/Sustainable Schools Stormwater Action Project to install retention tanks and water treatment systems designed to reduce runoff from the school site. Benefits have included reduced environmental damage to the sensitive adjacent Jawbone Marine Sanctuary and reduced water consumption within the school.

To date a wetlands area has been created and drainage, channelling and connection of stromwater from the horticulture complex and garages has been completed. Rainwater tanks will be placed in position and will be connected when the stage 1 school building is built. A long term aim is to recycle both grey and black water on the school site.

“sustainable schools provided focus and scaffold to what the school was already doing- but it embedded sustainability into the curriculum across campus teaching and learning.” So a sustainable schools co-ordinator said.

This school has had many positives to take from this including factors from leadership, economic benefits, social benefits, educational benefits and environmental benefits

The key to the success of sustainable schools have included:

> Interested staff with environmental interests and expertise

> The school leadership team

> The importance of the environment in the school- teachers, students and the community

> The creation of partnerships and linkage

> The student focus has provided opportunities for students to develop leadership and communication skills

> Students have seen the difference they are making

Leadership:

> School representatives for the environment

> Different activities are being presented to students to show what can be done

Economic:

> Save money on water consumption

Social:

> Students, staff, community and experts have helped build connections between organisations

> Learn things from the community experts

Educational:

> The use of infrastructure as an educational incentive, and resource for the teaching of sustainable principals

> Learning has been introduced practically for teacher and student benefit

> Students have recorded data, analysis and testing techniques

> Students have the awareness of the environment and be happy and proud of their surroundings

> By doing this they will see the difference they are making and have a feel good factor and want to make improvements to their community

Environmental:

> Water quality has been improved due to the planting of plants

> Observing the coastal developments and managing them

> Decrease in water consumption

> The school have hired environmentally minded gardeners

> School also introduced printer ink cartridge recycling program

This school has a lot of initiatives in place to help them become a better environmentally sustainable school. They are still installing more measures to keep this improving happening, due to the fact they do not want people to ignore the changes after a while, as they will appreciate the environment more if the changes are ongoing throughout their school career.

King college as a green school are still a long way off to reaching their goal as can be noticed when compared to Williamstown high school in Australia who are a great example of an environmentally sustainable school. Around the area of surrey I think that Kings College must be one of the most environmentally sustainable schools but still have a long way to go to become like Williamstown school in Australia who won an award on becoming environmentally sustainable. This school achieved this by working all the way throughout the school staff and pupils. Kings College if they got the same teamwork and commitment that they got then it would speed up this process and the goal would become closer, quicker and more achievable.

The school is not a good example of an environmentally sustainable school at the moment but is improving with every amendment that is being made. With the support of parents, students and staff I think with a combined effort they will reach their goal. In the not too distant future this school will have more than half of the school buildings environmentally friendly. Kings College is doing very well in becoming an environmentally sustainable school in an area of decline.

References:

1 http://www.sustainableschools.com.au/sustainableschools/studies/williamstown.html

2 http://www.google.com/maps/kingscollegeschool

3 http://www.wikipedia.co.uk/kingscollegeguildford