The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust [SSAT] has returned to the issue of how to support schools in their efforts to address sustainability. Could this have anything to do, I wonder, with the advent of the Sustainable Schools Alliance .
Although there is nothing on the homepage about sustainable schools, details of what SSAT is doing is, as they say, only one click away. Another click takes you to publications – except there aren't any, it seems – they must have forgotten about the ones that Alma Harris and I wrote for them in 2008. Rather passé, maybe.
Anyway, back to the questionnaire which is on surveymonkey. The SSAT introduction says, ...
Following feedback from schools about the benefits and challenges of progressing sustainability in the school context, the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust is about to launch a package of initiatives to help individuals working to embed sustainability in their schools.
Schools who have embraced sustainability are gaining enormous benefits which range from cost saving, improved school environments, additional creative teaching and learning opportunities increased community involvement and enhanced reputations. In some cases schools have generated significant additional revenue through their initiatives.
As you probably know, the SSAT is dedicated to raising levels of achievement in schools. It does this through its work with headteachers, teachers and students to help develop and share ideas and practice around teaching and learning and other aspects of school life. In practice headteachers, and teachers design, lead and deliver SSAT’s work.
In December 2010, the community team at the SSAT ran a workshop with six schools, to understand more about what kind of support is needed. We are now asking for your help in understanding more about your experience of implementing sustainability in your school, what you have found useful and your successes.
Our survey should take you no more than 10 minutes, please click on this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8SDJC9X
PS As an incentive for completing the survey we are offering one lucky school the chance to win £500 worth of support or training to help develop their sustainability approach. We will announce the name of the successful school in February, once the survey is closed.
This instrument covers a lot of ground, but not in a particularly coherent way. It is focused on the doorways, which is a pity as this limits what it can do – and there's no mention of biodiversity, of course. It attempts to be developmental but sees this in terms of progress and benefits with the following as boxes to tick when discussing a range of activities and initiatives:
We are just starting to develop out approach
We are developing our approach and making good progress
We can see that we are already accruing benefits
This is embedded in school plans and our thinking
But there is no mention of anyone learning anything, or of how all this contributes to sustainable development. Pity.