Learning for Sustainability during lockdown

In his Prizegiving speech, Mr Fairclough mentioned Dollar Academy’s sustainability conference and his excitement about how the school might take environmental initiatives forward in the ‘new normal’ when we return to campus in August. This idea of ‘building back better’ has been at the forefront of the Eco Schools coordinators’ minds in recent weeks, and the focus of pupil discussions as well as Geography course work for S1 and the new S5.

Aimed at school leaders, staff and pupils, plus policy makers, politicians and local and UK-wide business leaders, the Disrupting Education for a Sustainable Future two-day online conference hosted by Dollar Academy in May updated delegates on current climate science and explored ways of embedding Learning for Sustainability in schools. Four staff and five pupils (S1-S3 and S6) attended from George Heriot’s School. After the event, staff and pupils met online to discuss how to take things forward at Heriot’s and have submitted a report to the management team. Esther (S6) reflected that:

“Ultimately, it is the next generation who will have to deal with the detrimental impacts of Climate Change, and so the least we can do is equip them for the challenges this may entail, and there is only one way to do this, using the most powerful tool at our disposal: education”.

On 14th May, Lucy (S3), who attended Dollar Academy’s conference, took part in the Climate and Activism Virtual Film Night, organised by Scottish Youth Climate Strike (SYCS) and Highland One World (HOW) and you can read her report, and view her film recommendations here.

S1 pupils finished their online block of Geography by studying the causes and possible impacts of Climate Change. They also looked at ways to mitigate Climate Change at individual, organisational, national and international scales, and sent a letter either to Nicola Sturgeon, their own MSP, or to Mr Fairclough to suggest what more could be done to reduce our environmental impacts. Mrs Hughes, Ms Hay, Mr Watson and Mr Ross were very impressed by both the level of understanding, and passion to make a positive difference, which came across in their letters. A few extracts from Cameron, Hugo, Jamie, Eilidh, Ben and Joe are included below. We hope that S1 pupils have learned that their voice really matters, and that they continue to be active citizens who seek to make a positive difference. The new S5 started their Higher Geography course by looking in detail at natural and human causes of Climate Change, local and global effects, and evaluation of management strategies. Staff were very impressed with the high level of engagement and detailed work that was uploaded to Firefly.

Eco Club in the Junior School and The Environmental Action Research Team at Heriot’s (EARTH) in the Senior School will continue to work hard on environmental initiatives in the school next session. There will also be an EARTH Interest Class option running for S6 to run initiatives and develop their leadership and presentation skills. Parents, pupils and staff are welcome to email any questions or ideas  at any time to enquiries, or directly to EARTH (earthghs123@gmail.com).

Best wishes for a lovely, relaxing and environmentally-friendly summer!

Rachel Hay, Geography Teacher