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A new term for Sunny Schools

Education is back in session as we start working with new partners to extend our outreach to schools around the UK. Our Fundraising and Schools Project Coordinator has been working hard to inspire students, teachers and communities with SolarAid’s fantastic Sunny Schools resources. Developed to be used alongside the current school curriculum in both England and Scotland, these resources provide hours of lesson material for teachers who want simple but effective ways to address issues about climate change and energy poverty in Africa.

Last year, Keep Scotland Beautiful, SolarAid and Glasgow Caledonian University started working together on one joint campaign ‘Scotland Lights Up Malawi’, initiated by the 20:20 Climate Group. Keep Scotland Beautiful are a charity that educates and campaigns on environmental issues with local, national and global aims.

Pupils at Invergowrie School reading about how students lives are improved with solar

Since the start of the programme we have been fortunate enough to lead workshops for teachers set up and hosted by Keep Scotland Beautiful. By working together to educate children, we have had a much greater outreach, developing our engagement and raising awareness of our work by using creative and fun approaches.

Schools are full of creative ideas and Boclair Academy really illustrated that this year. Teachers work every year to develop a school project that covers a wide range of curricular areas relating to SolarAid. This is because of the educational opportunities we can offer based on our research, programmes and unique model. Boclair Academy projects included:

  • The impact that being without electricity has on education and society
  • The effects of kerosene use on the body
  • The chemistry behind the inefficient flame of the lamp, and
  • The mathematics of fuel poverty

We were overwhelmed by how meaningful this project was to students. Not only did Boclair Academy raise a fantastic amount of money for SolarAid, but Alistair Meek, the Head of Physics noted; “As well as the purely educational aspect the SolarAid project also helped the pupils to develop a sense of social awareness and confidence that they could take on responsibility and make a difference to a real world challenge”.

We gave the students of Boclair Academy a Skype assembly to say thanks and can’t wait to see what they come up with next year.

This year we have also started a collaborative project with Friends of the Earth. We’re planning to engage schools in England and Wales and inspire them to raise awareness of solar solutions both within the UK and Africa and to raise funds within their local communities.

 

Pupils at St Mark’s School in Scotland singing carols by solar light

Last but not least. At the launch of the UN International Year of Light we were lucky to meet Mary Whitehouse from the University of York: Science and Education Group and Twenty First Century Science. Mary has kindly offered to share her expertise to develop a Key Stage 4 Science resource for teachers, extending our Sunny Schools material. This is being generously supported by Solarcentury, our funding partner, and will be available towards the end of the year. A huge thank you to Mary for her time and experience.

Please feel free to get in touch via [email protected] if you’d like to know more about our Education Programme in the UK. We’d be happy to help and love hearing from those interested in raising awareness on energy poverty and climate change.