Committee learns about development of school sustainability policy

Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee heard about the development of a sustainability policy.

A report considered by councillors on Thursday, October 8, said school staff and pupils had collaborated in the development of the policy.

The policy recommends energy budget management for schools with incentives for reduced energy use; encouragement for schools to recycle more generally as well as a specific focus on food waste; and aim to persuade schools to use sustainable resources more often.

The report also said there had been a significant reduction in energy consumption and paper use as well as a decrease in travel to and from work whilst teachers supported pupils through ‘blended learning’ during the lockdown earlier this year.

The report praised staff for remaining productive and the service for streamlining procedures. Examples include invoice processes being moved from all secondary schools to a central support team. Another sustainability success was HR&OD converting paper forms to electronic versions for processing, which has had a positive impact on support staff working in Education and Children’s Services.

Energy used by schools decreased during the lockdown too. Uryside Primary School saw a 57% reduction in kilowatts, whilst Kemnay Academy saw a decrease of 72% of kilowatts used from April to July.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “I am looking forward to seeing the sustainability policy implemented in our schools and witnessing the results that this policy will no doubt have on encouraging sustainability within our school estate.”

Committee vice chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce said: “If we are to teach pupils to be environmentally aware then we must do everything in our power to ensure that the schools themselves are run in a sustainable way as possible. It is therefore pleasing to see this policy which will encourage pupils and staff to think about the environment in a variety of ways.”

The report is available in full by visiting: https://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/committees.aspx?commid=494

You can also watch a webcast of the Education and Children’s Services Committee by visiting https://aberdeenshire.public-i.tv/core/portal/home