Schools & Sustainability

Are you a student, teacher, class or school principal and would like your school to be more sustainable? The Sustaining our Towns project assists schools by helping to connect them to a range of programs and resources that are available to them. This includes programs to help reduce the ecological footprint of school buildings and grounds (for example by improving school recycling systems or installing solar panels) in conjunction with integrating sustainability into the school curriculum.

Sustainable Schools

If you live in NSW, a good place to start is Sustainable Schools NSW which aims to support all schools, their partners and the community in realising a positive environment vision. The program provides resources to help schools set up a School Environmental Management Plan. This helps the school implement, review and celebrate sustainability education initiatives.


NABERS (the National Australian Built Environment Rating System) is a performance-based rating system for existing buildings.  A new rating tool is being developed for Schools, and will be available to help systematically identify opportunities to improve the environmental efficiency of school grounds.

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation

Would you like to have a kitchen garden at your school? The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation can actually help your school set up a garden and a kitchen so you can grow your own veges, and eat them. The foundation has a national grants program supported by The Australian Government. A number of schools in our region are already participating in this program, including Numeralla and Delegate Public Schools.

School Funding Programs

The National Solar Schools Program offers eligible primary and secondary schools grants of up to $50,000 or up to $100,000 for multi-campus schools (GST exclusive), to install solar and other renewable power systems, solar hot water systems, rainwater tanks and a range of energy efficiency measures.

The NSW Government’s Eco Schools Grant Program provides grants to schools to give them the opportunity to involve their students and community in developing and implementing environmental management projects.

The Junior Landcare website provides links to a number of grant programs available to help schools implement environmental projects.

Teacher Resources

There are now so many fantastic learning resources available online.  These are a few of the ones that we really like.

Be sure to borrow our DIY Home Sustainability Guide and library kit from your local library.  It includes lots of practical tips about being more sustainable around the home, and could be used as a learning resource for kids.  The guides are available from libraries across our project region.  Contact us on (02) 44751007 if you are interested in receiving a couple of copies of our Home Sustainability Guide for your school library.

Green Lane Diary: We’ve just found out about this new schools program.  It is a curriculum linked education program designed by environmental educators to help 8-13 year old children become aware of the stresses our planet confronts and how sustainable living can make a difference. It uses a scrapbooking approach to engage kids.

Our Cool School is a new online teacher resource hub that aims to bring sustainability into the classroom by providing teachers with engaging, fun and informative learning activities on a whole range of environmental and sustainability topics.

Mission CO2: Players join the ‘Carbon Tradies’ to discover ways to save energy and water and save the planet.

Catchment Detox: Players see if they can successfully manage a river catchment and create a sustainable and thriving economy.

Bigfoot: An Ecological Footprint tool designed to allow kids to measure their personal ecological footprint.

School Ecologicial Footprint calcuator: Developed by the EPA Victoria to measure the ecological footprint of schools.

The Sustainables: Join Lemony, Solaris, Sam and Hydra Sustainable on their quest to make their home and lifestyles more sustainable.  The site also includes a number of downloadable teacher resources.

Ollie’s World: ‘Ollie’s World’ is the umbrella site for the suite of “Ollie” web sites, produced to support the “Ollie” Programs in various countries. Includes Ollie’s Island, Ollie Saves the Planet and Ollie Recycles.

The Story of Stuff: A series of narrated and animated online movie clips delving beneath a range of things including stuff, cap and trade, electronics, cosmetics and bottled water.

The Australian Water Education Toolkit: An online database of hundreds of online water education resources.

CSIRO Education runs a range of education programs with a focus on science which also may be helpful to teachers keen to help kids grapple with sustainability.

Marine Waters is an online resource kit designed for conducting school education about the the Western Australian marine environment, but many of the lessons and resources could be adapted to the east coast situation.

Integrating sustainability into school curriculum

There are a number of government plans and strategies that outline how sustainability is being integrated into school curriculum.  The Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AUSSI) is a partnership of the Australian Government and the states and territories that seeks to support schools and their communities to become sustainable. The Australian Government has developed the Sustainability Curriculum Framework to guide education for sustainability may be effectively incorporated into curriculum.

The NSW Government works through the NSW Council on Environmental Education to plan how education for sustainability is delivered.  The Council develops and co-ordinates the implementation of the 3 year NSW Learning for Sustainability plans.  These guide the integration of sustainability across all aspects of society and learning, not just into the school curriculum.


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