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Climate change & energy workshops for primary schools

Hands of school children drawing on a map of their neighbourhood

Young people are concerned about climate change and want to be a part of the solution. Our workshops show them the way.

Just about everyone needs to change what they do so we can create a greener, smarter and fairer energy system. This includes local authorities, businesses, public bodies, policymakers – and even primary school children! We all need to adjust our priorities, make different choices, change our habits, and work with others in new ways.

Since 2017, the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) have found that the primary school children of South Gloucestershire are incredible at doing exactly that!

Starting in September, and throughout the academic year to March 2024, the team at CSE will be delivering free climate change and energy workshops to 15 primary schools in South Gloucestershire. We will also be offering more in-depth support to five of these schools, working with them to develop comprehensive plans towards their climate goals. This is in partnership with the local council which declared a climate emergency in 2019.

Inspiring and empowering

“We know young people are concerned about climate change and that they want to be a part of the solution,” says CSE’s Tess Rushton who will be running the workshops. “Our workshops show them the way. And teachers tell us that their students find the workshops inspiring and empowering, giving them ways to respond to the challenges of climate change with positive action, even at their young age.”

The workshops, designed to support the key-stage 2 curriculum, start with an assembly session – an overview on climate change and how it affects people and communities worldwide. The presentation also includes how climate change relates to energy use and what actions help drive change. We look at ways the children can save energy in their home and school and have an engaging exercise exploring how much energy different appliances and gadgets use.

To empower children and inspire them to find local solutions, we then move on to a practical session that teaches the students how their own community can adapt. We discuss what key local issues need to be tackled – generating energy, making it easier to walk or cycle to school, helping wildlife. The children do this in groups and mark these improvements with cut-out images on large-scale maps of their neighbourhood that we provide. This is what they’re doing in the photo above.

If schools want to explore climate and energy more deeply, they can sign up for further support. We work with schools individually to provide tailored and bespoke workshops and classroom resources that follow the interests of children and help the school achieve its climate goals.

Transforming our communities

“This is a fantastic opportunity for schools and pupils to work with CSE who are experts in these subjects,” said Lucy Rees, Senior Environmental Policy & Climate Change Officer at South Gloucestershire Council. “These sessions give pupils a good understanding and experience of applying their own thinking to the challenges and opportunities that are involved in transforming our communities and society in response to the Climate and Nature Emergency.”

And the response from teachers has also been extremely positive, as this feedback from the workshops in previous years demonstrates:

“The workshop sparked the children’s interest in their local area and improving it. It made them think about their futures and building a better environment for this.”

“Both presenters came across really well, knowledgeable and motivating.”

“The children really enjoyed the locality of it and finding out new things about renewable energy that they didn’t know before.”

Since 2017, CSE’s climate change and energy workshops have reached over 1,000 primary school students in South Gloucestershire

Find out more

If you are interested in our online workshops please email Assisting Tess in delivering the workshops are Kate Elliott-Rudder and Lydia Havill.

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