5 Star School

Kingswood College is a coeducational K-12 college which was founded in 1890, and has built a reputation over the years for providing genuine support for the unique needs of each individual. With this core value in mind Kingswood has always been good at conserving resources, particularly waste and water.

In the past Kingswood College have had many different environmental based projects in place but these were mainly dependent on particular teacher’s interests. Becoming a 5 star school has enabled them to get programs, policies and procedures in place which are integrated, cover all aspects of the school, and are ongoing and not reliant on particular staff members. The accreditation process also provided a framework, clear goals, expert guidance and access to information. Teacher Barbara Szafraniec said about the process “it saved us an enormous amount of time”. The required commitment of the whole school and endorsement by Council to achieve accreditation meant that everyone had to be involved to some extent. Barbara says that “Accreditation is a lengthy process but this is good as it is a learning process as well and it gives staff the incentive and time to become involved.”
Environmental education is an integral part of the Junior School Curriculum with set integrated, class and whole school units of work each year. In the Secondary School, sustainability issues are a part of the curriculum at each year level in different faculties. For example Year 7 suspends the timetable for a week long integrated unit on Sustainability with different faculties having input. In Year 8 all students do the ‘Clean Oceans’ program as part of Outdoor Education. Year 10 do a huge study on the Murray Darling which encompasses social, economic and environmental factors.
Each year Kingswood College hold special whole of school events focusing on the environment and sustainability. For example in 2007 the 3 day Science and Technology Workshop in the Secondary School will have Sustainability as the focus and the whole school will be involved in special projects on Environment Day and Clean Up Australia Day. Kingswood is very proud of the fact that sustainable practices are a part of every day life at the school: they recycle huge amounts of waste and the students just do it automatically, litter is not a problem, water is conserved, water tanks are used, gardens are grown using sustainable practices and water tolerant plants and the ovals aren’t watered. Barbara says that “by living sustainability we hope these practices will become habitual.”
Kingswood College have undertaken many rewarding projects in their journey towards becoming a 5 star school. They undertook a whole school unit of work on water in the Junior School in 2005. This involved lots of hands on activities, incursions and excursions which the children loved and which provided the basis for all future work and projects on water. With issues surrounding water being of such a big interest for the students Kingswood developed a wonderful whole school ‘Dance and Music Performance’ with the theme of Water, and a unit of work in 2006 on desertification. One of the aims of this unit was for the students to write and perform in a whole school Production. This was done most successfully and was performed in a huge hall to an audience of 800 people. All areas of the curriculum were a part of this production – from power point computer backdrops, to instrumental performances, dance, public speaking, acting, and art.
Barbara says that the most rewarding project that Kingswood have undertaken so far was ‘Water for Africa’. They watched the video ‘Ryan’s Well’ as part of a study on water distribution throughout the world. Then had a speaker who had created a volunteer group to build wells in Mozambique. The children were inspired and wanted to do something to help. The Year 6 students organised a Walkathon for the Junior School and $4000 was raised. Many of the students were exhausted but wouldn’t stop walking because they wanted to raise enough money to provide the water supply for a whole school and its community. The Environment Captains spoke about this in the Secondary School Assembly and then the Middle School got involved too. Together they raised enough to build a well, and provide a pump and piping to supply the school with water. They received photos of their well being built and now have an ongoing relationship with the school and with ‘Wells for Africa’.
Kingswood College have many projects on the go at the moment. They are investigating the costs of using solar pumps to irrigate the many student gardens with tank water, and devising ways to fund these systems. They have found that bucketing is impractical and all the plants die over the summer when the school is closed so a viable alternative is needed.
Kerb side recycling is progressively being introduced into the Secondary school. This is now in place at the Tuck Shop and Year 7 and will go on to Year 8 in 2007. One of the problems has been the funding for this project. The Council provided the bins for Junior School but they have to purchase bins and pay for pick up in the Secondary School. This has cost over $1000 per annum for just 2 bins, so they are investigating how to fund it for the rest of the Secondary school.Another rewarding project was the Waste Free Lunch Project which this year expanded into a whole healthy eating push. All children in Junior School bring their lunch daily in lunch boxes, containers and paper. Snack packs and plastic are strongly discouraged. Parents are asked to pack sandwiches, fruit, vegies, dairy and 1 treat maximum. The children have a water bottle on their desk and soft drinks are banned. The school have grown their own vegetables and have had whole class salad lunches, cauliflower/broccoli cheese and mushrooms on toast, all made from produce they have grown. The school tuckshop has gone healthy too.

There is no stopping Kingswood College and there are already many future plans for making the school more sustainable. Energy is the schools highlighted theme for 2007 and they have two projects planned which will involve the whole school from Preschool to Year 12. The first of these is reducing the College’s energy consumption which will achieve the dual benefits of reducing capital costs and reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions. Using detailed audit information from the past three years, staff and students will be informed of the previous patterns of GHG emissions on campus, and be given monthly updates on the current GHG emissions. This will be achieved graphically, through posters, emails and assemblies. Staff and students will be informed about the specific Greenhouse Gas emissions and energy costs associated with each workspace in the Secondary College. This will be achieved by customised posters available in each room and workspace. Staff and students will be encouraged to actively switch off unused appliances, including heating, lighting and computing equipment. Incentives may be used if appropriate. Alternatives to private vehicle transport to and from the college will continue to be encouraged and supported.
The second Energy project aims to reduce the environmental impact of the College’s energy consumption and social equity by providing impoverished people with access to clean, renewable energy. The Sustainability and Social Justice arm of Kingswood College will join forces to raise funds to improve third world living conditions and simultaneously achieve genuine carbon offsets. By fundraising for the charity SELF.org (Solar Electrification and Lighting Fund) the College will be sponsoring the solar electrification of third world villages. This power is used for lighting, cooking, refrigeration of vaccines and pumping and purification of water. This renewable power supplants current or future use of diesel and kerosene, and thus can be considered a genuine fossil fuel reduction carbon offset. The current target is to completely offset carbon emissions from the College’s gas and electricity consumption in 2005.
Additionally, the College will be involved in a Green Power awareness/signup drive with College stakeholders. Currently this project is in trial development for 10 Victorian colleges with the support of CERES and the associated company, Green Canarywww.greencanary.com.
The College is currently completing an extensive biodiversity audit, and will be aiming to achieve a significant increase in its biodiversity index over the next few years.
Kingswood College believe that educating and providing an example of sustainability to their students and families is what is important. If they are able to reduce school energy costs then that money will fund the buying of green energy. They have, in fact, found that practicing sustainable principles is at times difficult. Kingswood College believes that the principle of working towards the goal of a more sustainable future, and the satisfaction achieved when projects are successful is well worth the effort.
By Kingswood College|2017-11-06T17:18:06+10:00April 26th, 2013|0 Comments
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