Climate change & energy workshops for primary schools

10 June 2022

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.

This is why while the thoughts of school children turn to the summer holidays, ours are turning to next term ...

Starting in September, and throughout the acadmic year 2022-23, the team at the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) will be delivering free climate change and energy workshops to 20 primary schools in South Gloucestershire. This is in partnership with the local council which declared a climate emergency in 2019.

"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 is affecting people and communities across the world. 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 a fun exercise exploring how much energy different appliances and gadgets use.

It then moves on to a practical session that teaches the students about how their community can adapt locally and 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.

'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 the 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


If you are interested in having our online workshops at your school, please email tess.rushton@cse.org.uk. And if you know of a school in South Gloucestershire that might be interested, we have this flyer that you can send them. Assisting Tess in delivering the workshops are Kate Elliott-Rudder and Megan Blyth.

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