Cover image: Could you be the Solar Schools superstars of tomorrow?

Could you be the Solar Schools superstars of tomorrow?

Esther Barlow from 10:10's Solar Schools project is here to tell you about a great opportunity to put your pupils in the driving seat of an exciting renewable energy project. Solar Schools is a project from the carbon cutting campaign 10:10. We provide teams of staff, pupils and parents with the training, support and tools they need to crowdfund the cost of solar panels – cutting carbon, boosting budgets and building stronger, cleaner communities with local schools and pupils right at their heart. Over the last three years, we’ve worked with 50 incredible schools helping them to collectively raise over £350,000 and install over 600 solar panels. We have 20 places on the project up for grabs next academic year and applications are now open. At its most basic, Solar Schools is a fundraising toolkit. But in practice, it’s so much more than that. All our schools share a passion for involving their pupils in carbon cutting and climate change in a way that is positive, tangible and fun, with incredible results. Almost 80% of volunteers surveyed said that raising awareness of energy issues among pupils was one of the most impressive outcomes of the whole project. Teacher and pupils at Little Kingshill combined schoolTake Little Kingshill combined school. Last year they raised £15,000 and installed 34 panels. They’re now making around £1,500 annually to spend on school resources, and will save roughly 170 tonnes of carbon over the life of the panels. But it wasn’t the numbers that moved eco-coordinator and teacher Helen McCammond to tears. When a group of pupils surprised her by baking cakes for a sale they’d arranged, she realised just how much the children had taken the project to heart. "Our whole school community pulled together to hit our target, and the sense of pride is amazing. I was bowled over by the enthusiasm and ingenuity of our pupils” For Little Kingshill, Solar Schools has really boosted their (already brimming) enthusiasm for all things green. There are signs all over the school instructing pupils to switch off lights and close external doors, ideas their pupils can use at home. In the words of one Solar Schools pupil, aged 9 “Before we did this I didn’t know about climate change and the ozone layer but when we learnt about them I realize we need to save the environment.” Apply by 6th June to be in with a chance of getting involved!

Further ideas for teaching about solar energy:

Read our feature about sustainable energy Read the Ashden Awards blog about sustainable energy Explore Sunny Schools teaching resources Case study: 'Do it with passion'; a school cluster link with Kenya