Taking sustainability into schools

Our Sustainability into Schools project started in 2018 and takes place in schools across West Yorkshire. The aim of the programme is to give young people an understanding of the sustainability challenges we face as a society and how we can create a more sustainable future for our city. University student volunteers run the sessions giving them the opportunity to contribute to the sustainability education of local children to help raise their aspirations and attainment, whilst developing key skills in an educational setting themselves.

When asked about how the volunteers benefited from the project a student said:

My confidence improved and I discovered areas of the city and region I would have never visited, I improved my communication and interpersonal skills as well as my organisational skills, I shared skills, interests and knowledge with pupils and I gained skills and experience to enhance my CV.

Working in groups student volunteers create workshops focused on a range of sustainability topics which can be applied to the pupils own lifestyles. These workshops are then delivered in schools across Leeds. Either as one-off sessions or over a series of weeks as an after school club.

As well as broadening the children’s knowledge of sustainability, the activities are designed to build a connection with the University of Leeds and raise their future educational aspirations.

A teacher from Manor Wood Primary School explained the success of the sessions:

The children enjoyed the interactive sessions where they worked in groups and made objects with recycling materials. The sessions helped the children see they could do something to help even as individuals.

In 2018/19 we had 13 students receive training who then went on to develop and deliver sessions. This year 11 students were trained and developed sessions but unfortunately could not deliver their sessions due to lockdown.

This project supports our commitment to collaborating with Non-Governmental Organisations to tackle the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through student volunteering programmes.

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United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our work on Sustainability into Schools is linked to the following SDGs:

      • Goal 4: Quality Education
      • Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
      • Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
      • Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.