Focusing on Sustainability

This term the College held its first-ever Sustainability Week, which was designed to enable the whole community to learn, debate and discuss topics around climate change and the environment. The week was also intended to build on existing work by the Estates Team and as the launch of a comprehensive, long-term programme across all the College’s departments, in an effort to raise our sustainability ambitions, heighten awareness and actively engage the Lancing community.

Whilst various topics around sustainability were built into curriculum subjects throughout the week, all other events were planned to teach more about the ‘big picture’, the science, the impacts across the globe, and how our actions contribute to climate change and affect the environment.

Events during Sustainability Week included a ‘wear green day’ to raise funds for the charity Just One Tree; a clothes swap; a beach clean with Lancing’s Explorer Scouts; and a ‘green’ lunchtime concert performed by pupils from various year groups. The College’s pupil-led Green Group was also involved in steering the design of the week and acted as powerful advocates in their own Houses. A tree planting session at the College Farm – part of Lancing’s reforestation programme – took place the following week, with members of the Green Group in attendance.

Across the week pupils were involved in House competitions to save electricity and to increase their proportion of recycled waste. A little research was also conducted at lunchtime in the Dining Hall, where the food waste from each House was monitored and weighed, aiming to encourage pupils to think before filling up their plates and wasting food.
The competitions clearly demonstrated how the actions of individuals could achieve impressive results.
 Sankey’s House was the clear and consistent winner of the energy saving competition: with an average daily reduction of 21% (against the ‘control week’), they saved a total of 192 kWh. Gibbs’ House were the winners of the recycling competition, with 49% of their weekly total waste correctly recycled; they were followed by Teme (46%) and Sankey’s (43%). On the food front, at lunchtime we saw a reduction of over 90kg of the overall waste, compared to the control week.

The Art Department organised a ‘Recycled Art Sculptures’ exhibition using recycled/re-purposed materials. We were delighted to see artworks by Molly T and Marianna P (Upper Sixth), and by Mila S, Fifth Form.  

Alongside the Art exhibition, the College Reception hosted the winners and highly commended works of this term’s Geography competition; the posters were created around their chosen UN sustainable development goals by pupils in the Third and Fourth Forms, as well as pupils from our own prep schools. The overall winner was Sofiia S (Fourth Form); Isabella C and Isabella B were the Third For winners, while Sophia B (Lancing Prep Worthing) was the winner for the prep schools. Highly commended were Anna S and Vanessa F (Fourth Form), Alysha H, Bella B and Freya HB (Third Form), and Ciara H (Lancing Prep Hove).

Thursday 17 March was fully dedicated to the Third and Fourth Forms with a series of talk about the UN’s Sustainability Goals; Children’s Rights; innovations in architecture and buildings with Neesha Gopal OL; fast fashion with Laura Fryer and Delia Alarcon from the Languages Department; and biomimicry with Nicola Peel.
A similar programme was offered to the Lower Sixth pupils the following day, on Friday 18, with additional talks from Pooran Desai OBE, CEO of OnePlanet; Matt Larsen-Daw, Head of Education for WWF-UK; and Dr Ryan Woodard from the University of Brighton’s Geography Department. Three local guest schools joined our students on the last day of the event, with pupils visiting from The Angmering School, Sir Robert Woodard Academy and Shoreham Academy.
The two-day symposium was organised with Peter Milne, Founder and Director of Target4Green.

On the last day, an exhibition with over 15 organisations took over the Sports Hall. This was an important part of the week, when all pupils were able to visit throughout the day and learn more about how organisations, both local and national, are responding to climate change issues.

Head Master Dominic Oliver, in the weekly assembly, inspired our pupils to think about what sustainability means for them, especially as they are the leaders of tomorrow. The Head Master added: ‘The new revolution in jobs will be one where organisations are focused on their green credentials. They are looking for a diverse workforce (scientists, mathematicians, engineers, communicators, analysts) to make it all work; these are the leadership roles many of you should be aspiring to in the future. This means you need to engage with the sustainability agenda – now is the best time so you are ready to make the important choices.’  

A survey of pupils carried out after the event indicated a real enthusiasm and progression in pupils’ awareness, feelings of being affected, empathy and motivation to act on these important issues. Pupils indicated a significant interest on hearing more about sustainability and being able to participate within the school and beyond. They made helpful suggestions to the College and identified positive individual actions which they have been inspired to follow.
Some of their pledges included:

I will stop buying more clothes unless I know I am going to get at least 50 uses out of them!’

'I will turn the lights off and the radiators off when not in the room

'I will try to put the correct things into the correct bins’

‘I want to learn to reuse more things that I would normally throw away’

‘I will try and ask my friends to take me to school instead of us all coming in separate cars’