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Schools are being urged to reduce their carbon footprint as a new study suggests that sustainable schools can raise attainment and improve behaviour. Announcing the recent publication of Climate Change and Schools, the Government's new carbon management strategy for the sector, Schools Secretary Diana Johnson called on schools to “get green”.

The strategy sets an ambitious target of a reduction of 53 per cent in emissions from energy use by 2020. Schools, local authorities and Government will be expected to work together to cut energy consumption by ensuring school buildings are more energy efficient and by minimising energy wastage, for example, by turning off lights and equipment when they are not needed. They will also be charged with implementing greener procurement policies, such as buying seasonal food and recycled goods, and encouraging staff and pupils to walk and cycle to reduce emissions on journeys to and from school.

“We all have to play our part if we want schools to be sustainable”, said Ms Johnson. “...But it’s also about getting existing schools to do more to reduce their carbon footprint”.

The announcement comes as research from Bath University shows that making schools sustainable can help to promote healthy school environments, improve community cohesion and engage learners by creating better environments, thereby raising attainment levels.

Meanwhile, Charity Cool The World is organising an annual event, Schools Low Carbon Day, in an attempt to raise awareness about climate change among one million school children in the UK. This year, the event will take place on 24 June. Further information, online resources and lesson plans for teachers are available from:
www.lowcarbonday.com

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