Merton Energy Matters
It’s clear that how people use energy contributes to the climate crisis. On top of this, the UK is currently in a cost-of-living crisis, facing escalating energy prices that make it harder for households and schools to manage.
More families are pushed into fuel poverty – which disproportionately affects already deprived areas as there are fewer resources to spare – and schools are struggling to manage running costs and provide a warm space for learning.
The Energy Matters programme, supported by London Borough of Merton Council and Merton Climate Action Group, aims for educators and children to become climate and energy champions in their schools, homes, and communities.
Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) has developed engaging resources, for use in schools across Merton. They cover key topics like fuel poverty, energy, and the climate crisis, and highlight how to save energy and money, instilling useful habits for now and in the future.
Not only will Energy Matters help children understand the climate crisis and how to have a positive impact on the world now and into their futures, but educators, school staff and the children’s families will immediately benefit from the practical knowledge and advice.
The pilot Energy Matters programme
In 2022, CSE worked with four primary schools in Merton to co-design the Energy Matters module and teaching materials. Teachers were trained up on key climate change and energy topics to deliver the module across Early Years, Key Stages 1 and 2 in the Summer 2022 term.
To share learning with the pupil’s families, each school set up an ‘Energy Café’, which ran in partnership with local energy advice provider CREW Energy. The cafes allowed families to get local advice and support on their energy bills.
Here are some of the key outcomes of the pilot programme:
- The Energy Matters module taught 300 pupils aged 5-10 across four schools.
- Reported changes in understanding and behaviour around climate change and energy at home and at school were linked to the module.
- The practical and hands-on activities and learning materials were popular with both pupils and teachers.
- The Energy Cafes supported 108 people including parents, guardians and school staff. A further 17 people were referred for ongoing support such as home visits.
The educators found the module easy to use, and noticed it supported other ongoing work.
It links well to the work we do towards the Green Flag award. It fulfils areas of the curriculum that you teach; resources and lesson plan outlines are provided; the team at CSE are supportive and contactable. You can build links with the community and families and encourage the energy champions of the future.A teacher’s take from the pilot programme
Rolling out the Energy Matters programme
CSE is looking to recruit new schools in Merton to roll-out the Energy Matters programme across the borough, focusing on the more deprived wards.
CSE will offer support to these schools to plan and implement the education module as well as free workshops to school staff and pupils on the topics of fuel poverty, energy and climate change.
Future of the programme
Tackling the energy crisis is an ongoing issue that is felt by people across the whole of the UK.
CSE plan to publish and make public the education materials developed through this programme to support more educators to embed vital climate and energy topics into their curriculums.
Ultimately, the hope is that the Energy Matters resources can be used in any school that wishes to empower their students – and staff – about how they can do their part to create positive changes.
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