Current School Projects
We are currently working with three schools on climate change education projects.
At Loughborough Primary in Brixton we are teaching a lunchtime club of Year 4 students. They are a mixed ability group and most of the students come from marginalised backgrounds. They are not very involved in extra-curricular activities and had virtually no prior knowledge of climate change. We have taught them basic climate science and done carbon footprinting activities. We will also be conducting interviews with members of the public as part of a street outreach campaign. The headteacher at the school was enthusiastic about our work and would like us to do more activities such as inviting in a local politician for Q and A.
At Ravenstone Primary in Balham we have had an hour a week with a group of 12 Year 3-4 students. This school has a more middle class intake and several of the students are already quite well-informed about climate change. We also taught them about basic climate science and the students elected to do a letter-writing campaign to other local schools, inviting them to Ravenstone to teach them what they have learned. We are also planning street outreach and a session teaching parents about reducing their carbon footprints.
At Ernest Bevin College in Tooting we have taught a Year 8 geography lunchtime club. We have taught them climate science but been able to go into more depth about carbon footprinting. They will be undertaking a street campaign, interviewing local business-owners, and we hope more activities beyond.
For all these programmes of study we have been using a mixture of resources including videos from the Our Climate Our Future series (produced by the Alliance for Climate Education in the USA), activities from the Carbon Conversations programme (in which Ben is a facilitator) and also new activities designed by Climate Ed.
Future School Projects
After Christmas we will continue working with our current schools. The students have generated many ideas for awareness / campaigning activities and we hope to tackle as many as possible. These include: letter-writing, street campaigning, greenifying the school environment, protesting, writing letters to local newspapers, delivering assemblies at other schools and interviewing prominent local figures.
Beyond our current schools we will also start work with Chestnut Grove Academy and Ricards Lodge High School. At Chestnut Grove we will teach a lunchtime club with Year 8/9 students and at Ricards Lodge we will teach a Year 8 group during lesson time as part of their curriculum on climate and weather.
Future Strategic Plans – Key Points
We have been discussing how to develop our strategy in the future. At the moment there are just two of us so the number of classroom hours we can deliver is limited. Methods to boost our impact include recruiting volunteers whom we could train to deliver sessions and also training teachers in schools to deliver our workshops. We will review the possibility of each of these approaches as our work develops.
We are also considering running activist training courses for students who are particularly keen to get engaged with climate change. This could include training on issues like communication skills, lobbying, campaign-building, leadership, etc. We will need to consult with local schools about the best way to implement this.
Registering as a Charity
With the award of £5000 funding from Stephen Tindale Climate Answers we must formally register as a charity. We have recruited a third trustee and have written a constitution and will be submitting this to the Charity Commission in early December.
Activities of Board Members
Ben took part in a conference call with the Climate Reality Education Project, a group of professionals working on climate change in education, who have all trained as Climate Reality Leaders under Al Gore. He presented the work of Climate Ed and is working on building partnerships with two schools in the US, so that they can become sister schools for his students in the UK.
We are applying for further funding. Deadlines coming up include the Wandsworth Grant Fund. Ben has a meeting with a councillor for advice on the application on Dec 4th.
Once our pilot schemes are complete and we have evidence of students successfully communicating climate change to the wider public, we will contact prominent figures for endorsements, as this will be critical to raising the profile of the charity. Figures to approach include Al Gore, Nicholas Stern and Prince Charles.
We also intend to contact the following organisations about building strategic partnerships: The Green Schools Project, Climate Outreach, UK Youth Climate Coalition, London Citizens.