Schoolchildren Present Ideas on Sustainability to University

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Gifted and Talented pupils from Dines Green Primary School have been carrying out a sustainability survey of the University of Worcester, as part of a widening participation programme.

school sustainability projectThe children visited the University to interview staff and come up with ways to make improvements.

They then presented their ideas at the University, which ranged from recycling to changing attitudes.

The project was run by Stephen Pickering, senior lecturer in primary education at the University of Worcester, with support from Worcestershire County Council.

Mr Pickering said: “Pupils were invited to answer the question: Does the University care, for people and places, now and in the future, near and far? The question was chosen as a way of introducing a more complex understanding of sustainability through a simple word.

“Most children equate sustainability with recycling and saving energy. We used the word ‘care’ to develop a deeper understanding of sustainability that included people and places in a more personally active manner.”

The schoolchildren were first encouraged to explore how the University cares for people and places through their own observations and by interviewing staff and students. They learned how the canteen uses Fair Trade and locally sourced food policies, how the Motion Analysis Centre supports people learning to walk again after injury or accident and for athletes training for the Olympics.
They learned about how students are encouraged to look after their environment and how international students are supported. They learned about equal opportunities and supporting students with particular needs or disabilities. They discussed how this shows how the University cares for people and places near and far.

Mr Pickering said: “This has been a great way of engaging schoolchildren in the University and getting them to look at sustainability and think how they could make improvements. Our trainee teachers at the University of Worcester have also been involved in the project, by visiting schools and helping them to compile the survey, which has been very good practice for them.”

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