Learning for Sustainability in Falkirk

June 20, 2022
by Y. McBlain
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Creative Tools Which Teach Pupils about Biosecurity

Pupil power takes saving our seabirds to another level

Online education resources designed by school children launched by conservation project

RSPB Scotland is encouraging primary schoolteachers to inspire Scotland’s young nature conservationists to save our seabirds by signing up to a free education resource.

Designed by pupils for pupils, with the support of RSPB Scotland’s Education, Youth & Families team, the resources are all available in English, Gaelic and Welsh. They have been produced as part of the Biosecurity for LIFE project which is working to raise awareness of the threat of invasive predators to seabirds and put in place systems to prevent their accidental introduction to islands. Click here to watch a short video which explains this biosecurity threat.

The education resource pack is available here, and includes online modules including:

  • an online snakes and ladders style game created by pupils from Small Isles and Raasay Primary – the aim of of the game is to collect as many eggs as possibly whilst avoiding predators,
  • a module showing how pupils launch a campaign to share this important conservation story
  • a free physical board game designed by pupils from Small Isles Primary with the aim of eradicating rats from islands.

For more information on the six modules, visit http://www.biosecurityforlife.org.uk/educaton. Click here to read the full press release about how the resources were developed. The programme is easy to navigate and celebrates the creative ideas of children as a way to teach school pupils about biosecurity.. If you would like to sign up to this FREE programme, please fill in and return the request from attached to educationscotland@rspb.org.uk and we will get it sent out in the post. Please note, the board game is part of module 3 of the programme and there is a digital snakes and ladders game included as well. 

April 26, 2022
by Y. McBlain
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Bintastic names for Falkirk Council’s waste vehicles

Waste Services and Street Cleansing want to say a huge thank-you to all the schools that participated in our Name the Vehicle competition.

Thanks to the creativity from both High School and Primary pupils, we now have 24 vehicles with names such as:

  • The Trashinator
  • Binnie the Pooh
  • Bin Kardashian
  • Sweeping Beauty
  • Lightning McClean
  • Bindianna Jones

 

Our overall favourite was from Archie from St Margaret’s PS, who named one of the scarabs ‘Haggis, Sweeps and Tatties’. He is pictured below with Gordon Ross, from Falkirk Council.

Keep your eyes peeled for the rest of the vehicles when you see them!

 

February 21, 2022
by Y. McBlain
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It’s Time for Spring Clean 2022

Litter levels in Scotland are at their worst in a decade. Research from Keep Scotland Beautiful shows that 88% of Scots agree that litter is a problem across Scotland, and 70% are concerned about the problem in their area.

The Spring clean runs from the 21st  March to the 21st April 2022 and is the perfect opportunity to make a difference by picking up litter from your playground, beach, streets, parks and beyond.

We know young people feel strongly about caring for the environment and want to do something about the harmful effects of litter on their communities. Every action, however small, makes a difference. Just half an hour of picking up litter and disposing of it safely can help an area look cleaner and feel safer, and evidence shows it also prevents more litter being dropped.

45,000 people volunteered their time to do a litter pick during Spring Clean in 2019 and this year, we want to encourage as many schools as possible to take part!

Use the hashtags #SpringCleanFalkirk to showcase what you and your school are doing to get involved!

How to get involved:

Falkirk Council specific events

  • Organise a Clean Up. Register your litter pick at Rubbish & litter – Organising a local Clean Up | Falkirk Council with the reference ‘Spring Clean’ to support individuals, groups and schools with organising their own Clean Up activity. We will register your event with keep Scotland Beautiful so you don’t have to.
  • Create a Litter Prevention Action Plan. Sign up to our help session (date and time will be confirmed closer to event) to hear about previous schools’ experience with their Action Plans and what you need to do to create one.
  • Listen to our pre-recorded session. This session will be uploaded to the website closer to the event and will feature what specific actions are being done across Falkirk to tackle litter, flytipping and dog fouling.
  • Use hashtag #SpringCleanFalkirk or #CleanUpFalkirk for all Spring Clean activity.

  Keep Scotland Beautiful events:

  • Pledge the number of bags. As part of the #BigBagChallenge, fill out the pledge form (will be uploaded on website closer to the date), and pledge the bags you will collect.
  • Join a public event listed. The Clean Up Scotland map will have public facing events individuals can join.
  • Complete a survey in your community. If individuals can’t do a Clean Up then they can always help Keep Scotland Beautiful by gather data using the citizen science toolkit.
  • Tune in to the Litter and Waste live lessons. During the Spring Clean, Keep Scotland beautiful will be investigating about the harmful effects of litter on wildlife, why modern plastics are such a problem when disposed of incorrectly, and how litter dropped on land ends up in the sea.

January 31, 2022
by J. Jackson
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Dandelion Project

All Falkirk secondary schools, and their associated primaries,  have been invited to take part in this exciting, fully funded, food growing initiative.  The Dandelion Schools’ Growing Initiative (DSGI) will take place between April and September 2022 across Scotland and will involve 500 invited schools.

There are free resources, including a specially designed vertical growing cube, tattie growing packs, training materials and support packs.  More information can be found in the  Dandelion Schools Brochure. 

 

Falkirk schools have until the 10th February to register. 

This would be a great transition project and could be led by a secondary faculty, LfS lead, ECO or similar pupil led group, or maybe a team of secondary staff whose subject areas link with the project aims.

If anyone would like to discuss this further contact jane.jackson@falkirk.gov.uk  or  yvonne.mcblain@falkirk.gov.uk

January 20, 2022
by Y. McBlain
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Introducing our Litter and Waste Education Enforcement Officer

Ella Gorman is our Falkirk Council Waste Services and Litter Education Enforcement Officer. She can support learning about litter and its impact on our communities for Primary and Secondary schools. This includes lessons on litter, recycling and overall waste reduction (virtually or in person when possible). Ella has currently worked with 10 primary schools and 2 high schools to create their Litter Prevention Action Plan and to support local litter picks. Ella has compiled the following information about how she can help and she can be reached via this link.

 

Say no to litter!
Litter is dangerous, disgusting and damages our Falkirk communities. The environment is something we need to take care of and keeping Falkirk clean and tidy has never been more of a priority.

Falkirk Council has a 5 year Litter Strategy and Litter Prevention Action Plan to support recycling, litter and waste reduction (click here to view). It outlines the steps we want to take to encourage a joint responsibility over Falkirk’s streets, towns and green spaces so that everyone can enjoy their local environment. Litter ruins the environment and our local communities, and we want to work with schools, businesses, community groups, landowners and individuals to take pride in their communities and keep Falkirk litter free.

Waste Services are currently working with schools to spread the slogans ‘bin it’ and ‘take litter home’. By supporting the creation of artwork, giving litter presentations and helping to organise litter picks we encourage pupils across Falkirk to respect and value the environment and their local community.

 

How can we support you? We can: 

  1. Deliver lessons about litter and waste
  2. Support litter picks
  3. Loan litter pick equipment
  4. Get involved with waste and recycling projects
  5. Help create your school Litter Prevention Action Plan
  6. Help define your Litter Prevention Action Plan actions

Use the contact link here to see how we can help support your school in the fight against litter.

 

December 10, 2021
by Y. McBlain
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Carronshore Primary Pupils Visit COP 26

Staff and pupils at Carronshore PS have been learning about climate change recently. A group of pupils were lucky enough to go to Glasgow and attend a session at the Science Centre during Cop 26. They shared their experience with their whole school at assembly, and this blog post is written using their words. Click here to watch their Twitter video.

Oliver explained that there was a virtual experience at Cop 26.

“We put on a virtual reality headset and saw lots of children. There was a lot of litter on the floor. It was showing what is happening to our planet and our environment. They were carrying a lot of bags and they were full of crisp packets, cans, plastic bottles and clothes.
We need to take more care of our community and area. Rubbish was blasting through the air, going into the ocean.
The children left the rubbish and went away because the rubbish bins were full. We need to get more bins and continue to keep picking up rubbish and recycling it.
I also learned about sea levels rising because the climate is changing rapidly. This is because of ice falling into the seas and melting in the water. This is causing floods and islands are getting swallowed by the rising seas.”

Liam told everyone about the tree of promises.

“At Cop 26 we added our very own promises to the tree of leaves. Jordan promised to walk more. Ava promised to recycle more. Lila promised to use less energy, and Ben promised to park+ stride more.
All the promises were taken to the blue zone to let the global leaders know what promises we want them to make and keep. That gave us an idea. We think each area could make their own tree of promises. We want to see you all getting involved.”

Lily May told everyone that “Tim Peake the famous astronaut was visiting Cop 26 a few days later. There was a chalkboard where we could leave some questions for him. I asked if climate change affects space. Some of our pupils told a news reporter what Cop 26 means to them. You can see them on our Twitter feed.” LInk here.

Jamie thought “at first that we wouldn’t be able to do it but if we start now we can work together. We might be able to do it by 2023. If the adults get rid of the buildings we don’t need, the young ones can grow plants which will absorb the CO2.”

Corey shared that “Since I have been at Cop 26 I have thought about how the world has started to go green and battle climate change. It is also good that the world leaders are starting to listen to lots of young people. At Cop 26 there were lots of people trying to make a change which is very good to see and gives us lots of hope. Even though one person can’t make a change, a lot could.”

Staff and pupils at Carronshore use regular Talking Circle meetings to think about what their Cop 26 legacy could be. At the last Talking Circle they discussed how they could make a difference at Carronshore, and identified these three focus tasks:

1. Meat Free Mondays
2. Recycled Water Bottles
3. Waste free packed lunches.

The assembly closed with the following call to action for everyone at Carronshore PS 

“We are hoping that each area will take on one of these campaigns. Our Captains, Prefects and P7 Assistants will be on hand to support you in making a difference. Working together we can do our bit NOW to help protect our planet for the FUTURE.”

 

August 9, 2021
by Y. McBlain
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Introducing our Falkirk Council Climate Change Team

What is the latest international data on climate change and how can it be accessed?

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) published the technical report on the impact of humans on climate change on 9th August 2021 (headline statements available here). As part of their 6th International Assessment Review of climate change, they have shared their data via an interactive digital atlas available here.

Why did Falkirk Council create a Climate Change Team?

Globally the aim is to maintain a limit to the temperature increase that the planet will undergo as a result of emissions into our atmosphere. The best-case scenario is limiting this to 1.5 degrees to mitigate the worst of a systematic collapse of our ecosystems.

The Paris Accord agreement was ratified at the last Climate Conference of Parties (COP 24) in 2013 and established a carbon budget amount of emissions required for each country to meet this 1.5 degree limit. Falkirk Council received a carbon budget to last until 2050, but (as the largest emitter in Scotland) exhausted this in 2020.

The Climate Change Team

Mari-Claire Morgan is the Lead Climate Change Officer for Falkirk Council working with a 5 person team on all issues relating to energy efficiency and climate change/adaptation. The climate change team work with all services across the Council, but here are some of the ways in which they may be able to support Children’s Services, your school/setting, and you as a practitioner or senior leader.

  1. acting as a valuable resource to help practitioners, ELCCs and schools directly with projects, information and support.
  2. working directly with us/you to find ways to reduce the council’s/your school’s/centre’s impact of emissions
  3. helping us/you to find ways to embed climate change ideas and actions into daily life/routines
  4. connecting us with our community partners in the Falkirk Area.
  5. providing practical support with planning and resourcing related teaching and learning
  6. developing policies and strategies and making sure these relate to national education policies and corporate Council requirements.
  7. showcasing the ways in which your school/setting/pupils and staff are working to reduce your emissions impact.

Jane Jackson and Yvonne McBlain, education support officers with Falkirk Children’s Services were delighted to meet with the team in June 2021. They are currently exploring how collaborating further could enhance our Falkirk Learning for Sustainability Framework and the ways in which teaching and learning can be linked to COP 26 in Glasgow in November 2021 (see our COP 26 support post here).

How are the team already engaging with education staff and pupils?

The Climate Change Team engage regularly with staff and young people from our secondary schools in the Climate Change Action Cross-party Working Group. Elected members of our Council attend these meetings to ensure that pupil’s thoughts and opinions relating to climate change initiatives are built into Council policy. This work connects with UNCRC and pupil participation/voice developments within Children’s Services and the Children’s Rights and Engagement Group (more information about this work here). Jane and Yvonne are working with colleagues and the climate change team to align and streamline these very similar workstreams to integrate UNCRC and pupil participation/voice across our service and council.

Some of the other ways in which the team can help:

  • Look at curricular materials for students (primary and secondary)
  • Deliver various themed engagement workshops (All levels of teaching/ primary and secondary pupils)
  • Be part of school events such as ‘World of Work Week’ ‘Earth Hour’ ‘Climate Week’
  • Help with energy audits (in a similar version to ECO Schools)
  • Assist with Eco School objectives
  • Present energy use in buildings (both to pupils, as well as, teachers)
  • Work with schools to look at reducing their emissions impact both in terms of occupancy behaviour and energy consumption

Comment below or find out more by emailing: yvonne.mcblain@falkirk.gov.uk or jane.jackson@falkirk.gov.uk

 

May 25, 2021
by Y. McBlain
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News, Updates and Preparing for COP 26 in Falkirk!

This blog post collates information from the national Learning for Sustainability network for practitioners and senior managers working in Falkirk education establishments. It shares exciting new materials and information about the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties which takes place in Glasgow between 1st -12th November 2021 (known as COP 26 – click the image to visit the official site).

The five themes of this international event are:

  • Nature
  • Clean Transport
  • Energy transition
  • Adaptation and resilience
  • Finance

This link will take you to a Tweet and video clip from the organisers of this event in which David Attenborough explains how vitally important its outcomes are. The Scottish Government commitment to the goals of COP 26 is shared via its Net Zero Scotland campaign which you can learn more about here.

Some of the many education resources for use with pupils connected to COP 26 may already have come to your attention. The links below take you to key national support and teaching materials which you can use as part of your usual curriculum content, or for any new subject-specific or interdisciplinary learning contexts you feel will engage your children and young people and contribute to their development of the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence.

BIG NEWS 💫 The #CountdowntoCOP learning materials developed by Education Scotland are now live and can be accessed here . These will enable you to engage your learners with the big #COP26 themes of nature, energy, transport, finance, adaptation and resilience.
These include:
• A COP26 Wakelet collection – bringing together some of the best COP26 resources from partners around the world
• Early Years – See Dug’s Discovery Den ThingLink resource and eBook of Dug’s visit to Arran
• Primary – A ThingLink resource for learners covering all five COP26 themes and accompanied by a practical guide for teachers
• BGE Secondary – Countdown to COP resource for learners in S1 to S3.
• New! – We’ve also now added COP26 challenges to encourage learners to develop creative and innovative solutions to climate change.

Between 3-11 November the New York Times is taking over the SWG3 building on the Clydeside – right next to the official COP26 Green and Blue Zones at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow. Their Climate Hub experience will be the biggest fringe event outside official UN COP26 negotiations. It will bring together citizens, scientists, inventors, academics, delegates and journalists from around the world to answer the most urgent question of our time: How do we adapt and thrive on a changing planet?

Click here to register for the New York Times Educate on Climate day on Friday 5 November, for free! Don’t worry if you can’t join live on the day – catch up recordings will be available once you’ve registered so you can watch the sessions at a time that suits you. This one-day event has been designed by educators for educators and will seek to tackle some of the biggest challenges in education. What world will our learners inherit, and how can we prepare them to thrive in it? How should we nurture the next generation of climate leaders? How do we empower students to think critically about the challenges facing our planet, and how can we work hand-in-hand with young people to help shape climate solutions?

Countdown to COP Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Live sessions being run by Education Scotland in partnership with Founders for Schools and e-Sgoil.  Click here to find out more about these live and recorded sessions which provide an insight into a wide variety of green jobs linked to COP themes. Live sessions are running Fridays at 11:00am through to the start of COP26.

Scotland’s Assemblies – click here for more information about these live and recorded assemblies which are a great way to introduce learners at First and Second Level to COP themes.

Education Scotland is asking every school and setting to build a lasting legacy for the COP26 conference by ensuring that all learners in Scotland receive their entitlement to Learning for Sustainability, an entitlement that is embedded within Scotland’s curriculum. Find out about the wide range of resources and professional learning support available through the following pages:

• Learning for Sustainability summary page
• Outdoor learning summary page
• Climate change in Scottish education briefing

To view the recording of the 10.6.21 Education Scotland professional learning session about COP 26 please click here.

To view the Wakelet of resources and ideas created by the Education Scotland LfS team relating to COP 26 click here. 

To explore how you can combine COP 26 learning contexts with your pupils’ development of STEM skills, click here

To explore the professional learning and education resources provided by our Scotdec partners click here

Learn more about the Children’s Parliament Climate Change group, vision and aims by clicking here.

The EIS are offering a series of twilight professional learning webinars looking at the clinate emergency and the role of education and trade unions in tackling this – click here for more information.

Click here to learn more about the BBC Scotland Climate Tales writing competition for children and young people aged 5-16.

Click here to view an example of the data available about our planet from the NASA website. There is powerful data evidencing the current twin emergencies of climate change and loss of biodiversity including a range of satellite images comparing the same locations over time.

Argyll and Bute Council are hosting their first ever Education Climate Summit on 27th and 28th October – click here to find out more.

 

Education Scotland colleagues have set up a GLOW Learning for Sustainability Practitioner Network in MS Teams for practitioners/leaders with an interest in LfS and COP 26. Please use this code o4sj08j to join the network. This Glow LfS MS Teams space will be used to host drop-in sessions, provide support and signpost information/resources. This will also be a space for practitioners to connect with like-minded practitioners and share resources, ideas and practice.

Ian Menzies, senior development officer for Learning for Sustainability has created this power point presentation (narrated) which is a wonderfully broad overview of Learning for Sustainability and can be used by whole staff groups in education establishments to refresh and review LfS within their curriculum. Ian and colleagues are encouraging practitioners and senior leaders to use the LfS self-evaluation tooklit (click here ) to inform school improvement planning and help with this process.

And finally – for anyone in need of inspiration to do something about climate change – including those with a passion for sport – take a look at BBC Sport 2050 resources here. These include powerful video clips which explore how predicted impact of climate change will affect the sports we are most passionate about AND how sport is already being affected!

 

 

 

 

 

This blog post is the first of a series which will share specific Falkirk education establishment COP 26 teaching and learning. Please comment below or email jane.jackson@falkirk.gov.uk or yvonne.mcblain@falkirk.gov.uk to let us know what you are planning or what we can do to help!

May 25, 2021
by Y. McBlain
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Involving Falkirk Bairns – Building the rights of our Children and Young People into planning and processes

Falkirk Children’s Commission – Children’s Rights and Engagement Group are recruiting staff, children and young people to help create our Falkirk Council and Partner organisation Integrated Children’s Services Plan. We are doing this partly because the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, Part 3 – Children’s Services Planning and Part 1 – Rights of Children,  requires Local Authorities and Health Boards, alongside their community planning partners, to improve outcomes for all children and young people in Scotland by ensuring that local planning and delivery of services is integrated and their rights upheld. However, we are also building this Falkirk Children & Young People’s Planning Team because we believe it is essential that pupils’ voices shape their education and life experiences, and because research shows that their participation in decision-making improves their academic performance and life chances. Learn more about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC – recently passed into Scottish Law) by clicking here or by visiting the pages of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland here.

We will work with interested staff colleagues and the children and young people to create this plan and to design the processes needed to make the group and the work sustainable in the long-term. The children and young people joining this group will also plan and co-ordinate other tasks and initiatives. Our main aims are to:

  1. Connect and co-ordinate pupil council and leadership groups in schools, across our health board, community and third sector organisations
  2. Involve children and young people in shaping their own education, lives and communities through integrated organisational processes via our Members of Scottish Youth Parliament
  3. Ensure that our group and processes are truly representative, inclusive and diverse
  4. Establish processes which build children and young people’s voices and participation into all layers of our organisations without adding to bureaucracy.

To help staff in our early learning and childcare centres and schools connect this work with their curriculum, we are making it part of our wider Falkirk Learning for Sustainability Framework (click here for more information about the framework). Children’s Rights and political literacy are already built into the experiences and outcomes of Curriculum for Excellence and our framework includes plans and professional learning which early years officers and teachers can use. The work of the Falkirk Children & Young People’s Planning Team will be supported by Julie Williams our Rights Respecting Schools development officer alongside Fiona Malcolm, Faculty Head of Humanities, Braes HS. Fiona and Julie will liaise with schools and centres who are working towards Rights Respecting Schools Accreditation (click here for more information about this) and education support officers Yvonne McBlain and Jane Jackson will offer professional learning and co-ordinate the development of safe online collaboration via a Microsoft Team in Glow.

Please leave your comments below or email yvonne.mcblain@falkirk.gov.uk or jane.jackson@falkirk.gov.uk for more information or to help with this exciting work.

February 15, 2021
by Y. McBlain
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Sustainability Partnerships – The Future Speaks Event for Young People

Callum MacLellan of Sustainability Scotland is helping to organise online events in the 8 electoral areas of Scotland where S5/6 school pupils ask questions of local representatives from the five main political parties. Climate change is the most important issue that faces humanity and it is vitally important that politicians take it seriously. On Friday 2nd April at 5pm young people from Central Scotland high schools will be quizzing local representatives from the 5 main political parties about climate change at an online event. You can watch this live by registering here , to stream live from Facebook click here and you can also watch later via YouTube here.

Please do what you can to spread the word so that as many people as possible (young and old) are aware of this opportunity to question political leaders about their views on climate change. Sustainability Partnerships would be happy to pass on urgent questions about climate change to the main Scottish political parties. Send these to: howard.beck@sustainabilitypartnerships.org.uk

 

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