Eco Warriors have been on the march at Oulton First School and achieved significant savings in energy by 'making switching off the norm rather than the extraordinary'.
For the past three years pupils and staff at Oulton First School, near Stone, have taken part in Switch Off Fortnight, an annual 2-week activity devised by EDF Energy to provide schools with ideas and resources around the theme of saving energy.
Vicky Potts, a teacher at Oulton, takes up the story:
Year 1: 'Eco spies'!
In the first year we introduced the eco spies. They had a rota and went into each room once everyone was out at lunch time, to check on how energy wasteful each one was being. They looked at:
- whether the lights were switched off;
- if the projector was off;
- whether heating was left on and doors or windows left open.
We noticed a drop in our energy use and decided to continue using the eco spies until the end of winter and staff and pupils got more and more aware of making sure their classrooms were left as energy efficient as possible.
Year 2: 'Eco Warriors' and Eddie the Eco Bear
In the second year the Eco Warriors introduced an incentive to classes. The winning class each week was awarded the honour of having Eddie the Eco bear in the class for the following week. The winners were announced in the Headteacher’s worship each week.
Once again we noticed a drop in energy use during these weeks and again we continued to use the Warriors and their Eco-Spies through to the end of winter.
Year 3: Spreading the message
This is our third year of taking part in Switch Off Fortnight. The Eco Warriors carried out a pre-Switch Off Fortnight energy audit to judge whether the campaign would have a positive effect again.
The pupils also led the introductory assembly PowerPoint care of The Pod and we also advertised that we would be taking part again on the school fortnightly newsletter for parents.
We discovered that the drop in energy use has not been quite so obvious this year and we believe this is because the school has become much more aware of trying not to waste energy all year round - due to the Eco Spies and regular Eco activities and updates from the Eco Warriors in assemblies and on the newsletter.
We believe switching off has become the norm rather than the extraordinary at Oulton First School!