Update: Education Climate Change Action Plan 2022-24
- Meeting of Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 21st June, 2023 10.00 am (Item 25.)
Report of Strategic Director of Children and Education Services
This report provides an update on work done by the Council to support the Education sector with decarbonisation since the publication of the Education Climate Change Action Plan in October 2022. It also outlines the plans for this work moving forwards, with the action plan refreshed bi-annually following on from several review points within the two years.
The Committee considered the report of the Strategic Director of Children and Education Services whichprovided an update on work done by the Council to support the Education sector with decarbonisation since the publication of the Education Climate Change Action Plan in October 2022. It also outlined the plans for this work moving forwards, with the action plan refreshed bi-annually following on from several review points within the two years.
Key points and themes in the report included:
- Background information;
- Progress to date in relation to:
- Community; and
- Curriculum; and
- Future opportunities and intentions.
The Committee also received a presentation from Luke Prosser and
Helen Green from Loreto College about the College’s sustainability journey.
Key points and themes in the presentation included:
- The College’s Sustainability Strategy;
- The reasons for introducing it; and
- How it was being achieved.
Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:
- To thank the representatives from Loreto College for their presentation and to welcome the work being done by the College;
- The environmental impact of journeys to school and what more could be done to promote behaviour change, particularly in relation to promoting active travel;
- Sharing good practice with other schools; and
- Decarbonisation of the schools’ estate and the bid for funding for this work.
In response to a question from the Chair about twinning with schools in other countries, Helen Green from Loreto College reported that the College had international schools in countries such as India which the College engaged with and that they would be looking at what work they could do with them from an environmental perspective. She advised that Loreto also had other English schools, including one in Chorlton, and that the College, and Luke Prosser, in his role as Sustainability Manager, were leading on work with those schools on climate change. Luke Prosser explained that the Principal had given him freedom to work with anybody to tackle climate change and that he was open to any ways that he could help and share best practice. In response to a Member’s question, he outlined the College’s in-house carbon literacy training.
In response to a question from the Chair on allotments, the Project Manager (Educational Climate Change) informed Members that, from September, the National Education Nature Park would be rolled out across all Manchester schools to teach pupils about biodiversity and that biodiversity could be found in school grounds, and that the Department for Education would be providing some funding to improve biodiversity on school grounds. He explained how best practice was being shared through the green schools networks and a dedicated page on the Schools Hub. In response to questions about journeys to school, he informed Members about the Green Bee Relay, which encouraged active travel, the Governance Review Board which was being established and would be look at strategic issues like active travel on a wider scale, and the impact of the introduction of Our Pass, which provided free travel for 16 to 18-year-olds.
The Director of Education advised that ideally children should go to a local school and that most Manchester children did go to a local school; however, she advised that, if they could not, they were entitled to a free travel pass. She reported that a lot of secondary school pupils travelled to school by bus but that, at primary, even if the school was local, a lot of pupils were taken by car and that a culture change was needed, using a range of methods such as challenges, competitions and pilot schemes.
The Chair expressed concern that the current allocation of school buses was unfair. She stated that she and the Chair of the Environment, Climate Change and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee had been raising this issue but that, with the introduction of bus franchising, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) did not want to significantly change the bus network at present; however, she advised that they would continue to raise this. She also expressed concern that there would be a shortage of secondary school places in 2024, resulting in some children having to travel further. She highlighted the issue of homeless families being placed in temporary accommodation further away from their children’s schools, while recognising the improvements being made in relation to homeless families.
The Project Manager (Educational Climate Change) reported that the five schools chosen for funding bids had been chosen on the basis of having the oldest boilers that were most in need of replacement and he explained how there would be an initial bid for low carbon skills funding which, if successful, would help with the design of the boilers and support the application for the public sector decarbonisation funding. In response to a question from the Chair of the Environment, Climate Change and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee about the levels of engagement from schools with climate change initiatives, he stated that schools had a number of competing demands on them and the networks were quite new so he was relatively happy with the initial uptake but was committed to continuing to work to build on this. He stated that the audit taking place in September to gauge the number of schools with a climate action plan would be useful for providing targeted support.
The Director of Education reported that the Council only had a small building maintenance budget for local authority-maintained schools but was linking in with the wider Council to access additional funding in order to do more. She stated that this had included doing condition surveys of schools which meant that, when new funding became available for school buildings, the Council already had information on which schools most needed this.
1. To support the approach outlined within the Campus workstream, with the establishment of locality green school networks in North, Central and South Manchester to engage more schools in this work.
2. To recommend that consideration be given to partnering schools with allotments and parks.
3. To note that the Chair, along with the Chair of the Environment, Climate Change and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee, will continue to engage with TfGM on the allocation of school buses.
- Education Climate Change Action Plan, item 25. PDF 104 KB
- Appendix - Loreto’s Sustainability Journey presentation, item 25. PDF 559 KB