At the beginning of March, Oundle School and Laxton Junior School (LJS) participated in Climate Week, the country’s biggest climate change campaign designed to inspire action to create a sustainable future. Geography teacher and event organiser Philip Pitcher said: “The school’s aim was to raise awareness of climate change, its history and the impact faced now and that may be faced in the future. We also asked pupils to think about energy efficiency and the role they can play.”
There was a series of workshops and assemblies at LJS. At Oundle, pupils across all year groups received cross-curricular lessons in geography, PSHE and chemistry, including practical experiments to demonstrate the effects of climate change. There were displays around the school as well as an energy-conservation challenge and low-carbon meals in the boarding and day houses
Pupil Lawrence Ward-Lilley (17) said: “It has been a very interesting week and the competition has really helped get people on board. I have appreciated the enthusiasm with which people in house have approached the challenges. People are naturally wary of climate change and the consequences of feigning ignorance of its effects. Perpetual darkness is probably the best way to describe our house this week as people are turning off lights where they find them on unnecessarily. I hope people will continue to turn off lights out of a developing habit, which is always good news, and I think we might all think twice before leaving the radiator on and the windows open! I am sure our consumption and emissions will go back up, but I am hopeful that we will see some long-term improvement. A few more years and it might be significantly lower, and I guess that is the aim.”
Pupil Ed Wilson (16) added: “The week has been very effective in getting everyone to do their own little bit. People have become more aware of the impact that a lot of people doing what takes very little effort can have. The serious issues have been addressed, but if anything is going to change, it will take significantly more than one week.”
Pupil Sam Stocks (18) said: “This week we have learnt a lot about how and why we should be more energy efficient. Everyone has got involved and gone beyond the call of duty to make a difference. The incentive for the house is a large fillet steak on the BBQ this summer if we win, and it seems to be a powerful source of motivation as switches are being turned off all over the building. Climate Week in Oundle will leave a long-lasting legacy, making everyone more aware of what needs to be done to make the environment they live in greener.”
Culminating in a week of activities, Climate Week showcases practical solutions from every sector of society. Each year, half a million people attend 3,000 events run by schools, businesses, charities, councils and many others. Climate Week has support from the Prime Minister, Paul McCartney, the NHS, the Met Office, Girl Guiding UK, the CBI, the Big Lottery Fund and the National Association of Head Teachers, amongst others.
Philip Pitcher concluded: “This was a great opportunity to get pupils and staff alike talking about climate change as well as looking at what the school is doing to mitigate, adapt and better its energy efficiency. Next year we hope to embed more events such as links with the sixth-form lecture series and visiting speakers from places such as the Meteorology Department at the University of Reading. Alongside this we hope to nurture links with other local schools and have a series of interactive sessions on climate change.”