Why did you decide to undertake this project (i.e. Particular issue in school or part of a larger campaign) and what aims did you have starting out?
We have had a Curriculum Partnership with Buhumba Primary School, Uganda since 2006. We wanted to explore the theme of the Environment and Sustainable development with them and to share our learning during the teacher Reciprocal visits in November 2009 and April 2010. Our aim was to embed this project in the work we were doing as an Eco School
How was the project delivered and was it integrated into the curriculum?
The project was fully integrated into our cross curricular thematic curriculum. It was a whole school project throughout the year including a range of visits, visitors and of course the work with Buhumba School when our teachers visited and worked with them in April.
The visits have included a trip to a recycling plant In the UK (with the Ugandan teachers) and in Uganda a visit to a local trading post and to a visitor centre which was promoting the use of composting toilets and reducing waste. Within school the pupils worked on an awareness of materials and the time they take to decay, ways to recycle clean waste (as demonstrated so well by our Ugandan colleagues and the use of compost in the school gardens in both schools.
In the UK we purchased recycling bags and compost bins for each class and held work shops to demonstrate how to be creative with ‘rubbish’.
Did you have to overcome any challenges to make the project succeed?
Communication has improved through the use of video conferencing with Buhumba at an Internet café in their nearest town Kabale. In England the challenges were to make everyone aware of the issues and importance of recycling. The Eco team members have been instrumental in this.
How did you get the children involved? How did they have ownership?
The children lead the curriculum at our school with input into planning and evaluation. The Eco team members have led class meetings and assemblies and have worked hard to promote the actions and to encourage everyone to participate. They have also been involved in the video conferencing with pupils from Buhumba School Uganda to lead the joint project
How have the children benefitted from the project and any other benefits for the school (reduced costs, cleaner school etc)? Please include any figures and analysis if appropriate.
We are recycling more of our rubbish and composting food waste. In Uganda the compost pits are being used.
Did you use any educational resources such as The Pod (If yes, indicate which activities), receive any support from parents, staff and outside agencies? Did you have to source funding for the project?
We had funding from the British Council for our Global Curriculum Partnership. Parents at both schools have been supportive.
What advice would you give to schools that want to follow in your footsteps?
To develop a joint curriculum project that can be seen to have tangible results in both communities. In the UK we have been able to promote more recycling in school. In Uganda the pupils were involved in digging compost pits around the school and in the local community which has had a lasting impact
Has this project driven other Eco-Schools ideas and what is the school working on next?
We are now working on a joint project on Food and nutrition. 2 teachers from East Bergholt Primary will be visiting Buhumba in October 2010 to begin work on this project. Again, it will be a whole school, cross curricular project.
School at Green Flag Level since September 2010