Organisations supporting sustainable schools, Who are they?  What do they offer?

A brief overview of organisations supporting Sustainable Schools in the West Midlands.

Organisations are listed in alphabetical order.

Association for Science Education


ASE is the professional association for Science teachers.  Science is one of the lead subjects for the teaching of sustainable development themes [including  energy, water, biodiversity, health and the production and use of materials].  The investigative and enquiry skills developed in science are key to learners’ approach to sustainable development.     ASE supports Primary and Secondary Science educators and ITE professionals through CPD events, conferences, provision of printed and on-line materials including teaching resources, articles and research.   ASE is one of the professional associations that respond to government consultations on the curriculum, including Sustainable Schools.

ASE encourages communication between schools within and beyond the UK in its Science Across the World project.  It is part of a team developing materials to aid cultural understanding through science, and has developed teaching materials for the use of learners with special educational needs

BEACONS: the Development Education Centre for Herefordshire & Worcestershire

BEACONS offers support to teachers from an extensive library and learning resources centre, and is currently developing boxes of materials directly related to Key Stage curricula, as well as individual countries and 'big issues' in development.  It offers a limited outreach service, and is currently planning to mount some pilot projects for clusters of more remote rural schools.

Birmingham City Council – Litter Charter

The Schools Litter Charter is a symbol of recognition for those schools that have made a commitment to looking after their school and the local environment through education and environmental initiatives.  It runs daily visits, where a power point assembly is given, and works with school councils and on litter picks in the community.  The team also promotes the Birmingham Environmental Partnership  BASIC 21 in Sustainability.

Birmingham City Council – sustainability and climate change

The climate change and sustainability team for Birmingham City Council supports an education for sustainability officer who co-ordinates  BASIC 21 [the Council’s Strategic Partnership initiative which promotes sustainable development in Birmingham schools] and serves as an eco-schools assessor.

Birmingham Parks Ranger Service

Birmingham Parks Rangers offer their “Education Naturally” programme to Birmingham schools, using the natural environment locally for cross-curricula study at KS1 and 2.  The service also provides work experience placements, Forest School programmes, INSET training, resources and advice to schools on biodiversity.  Our Biodiversity Charter - linked to BASIC 21 [a Birmingham Sustainable Schools initiative] will be launched in summer 2008, with partners RSPB and the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust.

Bshops Wood Centre

Bishop’s Wood supports a programme of school visits, as well as training events for teachers and others, outreach support and telephone advice.

[See conference presentation from John Rhymer, Head of Centre].

Bridges Development Education Centre

Bridges is a Shropshire-based education organisation that aims to support an understanding of the diverse world and communities in which we live and the issues that affect us all.  We support the 'global dimension' to Sustainable Schools through our workshops, teacher training and projects. Bridges is coordinator for Fairtrade School Status in the West Midlands.


We provide a range of  Educational workshops to Primary School pupils on waste and recycling.  We  can provide a display on recycling for open days, science week etc.

Concern Universal

Concern Universal offers workshops to schools in the West Midlands on a variety of global issues. These tie in with geography and global citizenship themes.  We offer the unique opportunity to local schools of hosting a visitor from one of the countries where we run programmes.  For example, a development worker from the Gambia visiting schools to talk on the theme of “water  and climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa,” to tie in with World Water Day.  We also run overseas study visits, including one for teachers to Nigeria.

Coventry City Council – Coombe Country Park

We lead environmental activities for schools that visit the parks service.  We offer advice and support to schools that wish to develop their school grounds, and out of classroom placements to trainee teachers.  We provide Forest Schools support.

CSV Environment

CSV Environment develops local based environmental projects eg food growing projects, positive citizenship projects.  We support school based design projects, where schools come up with ideas for improvement of local community and school grounds.  We provide grants.  The organisation also carries out practical work for local communities.   

Duckworth Worcestershire Trust

Educational opportunities include visits, talks/activities, environmental funding, liaison with organisations in the county and support to eco-schools.

Dudley Environment Zone

The Environment Zone is a purpose built environmental education centre based in Dudley, and we work with over 11,000 people each year.  We offer education activities linked with the national curriculum at the Ezone and at school sites, using a "hands-on approach."  The Ezone offers advice and support for the eco-school award.  The Ezone also offers support on developing nature areas within school grounds.  

Edgmond Hall Outdoor Education Centre

Edgmond Hall, in Newport, Shropshire, is a Sandwell MBC Centre which provides experiential learning for all key stages.  Activities can be day visits or residential, focussing on the environment, and including environmental audits, recycling, farm visits, land management and growing/harvesting tasks within a context of greater environmental awareness and appreciation.  Experienced staff agree programme content with schools in advance and are able to visit schools to work with staff and children on their site to change habitats.

ENCAMS – Eco Schools

The eco-schools nine themes meet all eight sustainable schools doorways.  There is a national conference for schools in June.  NCSL leads a related sustainable schools grant programme, and the team is creating mapping guidance for DCSF.

Environment Agency

For support, visit the web site and go to the Midlands region: this will also give a contact telephone for the regional office.

Envision Birmingham

Envision offers young people a platform to learn more about sustainability issues, and then establish their own youth led projects aimed at tackling various aspects of these issues at local, national and global levels.  We also offer events and networks to students to help enhance their understanding of sustainability, and to encourage them to become more actively involved in a wider context.


FACE aims to educate children and young people about food and farming in a sustainable countryside. It aims to meet these educational needs by working with members and partners to promote visits to farms, and to provide easy access to a wide range of high-quality educational resources and activities to complement both school-based studies and outdoor visits.    [See conference presentation from Bill Graham, Director]   

Field Studies Council at Preston Montford Field Centre

Residential environmental education visits support outdoor learning objectives of schools.  As an eco-centre we can offer some advice on eco-schools.  Our ‘eco-challenge’ programme offers environmental education to schools in deprived areas and encourages them to undertake projects back at school – this could be done within the sustainable schools framework.

Groundwork Black Country

Groundwork Black Country works with schools in Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Dudley on Environmental education/awareness and sustainability.  All of the products and services fit into the sustainable schools framework.  Nationally Groundwork UK have produced a booklet [One World Schools] showing the different doorways from the framework and how Groundwork’s projects fit into these.

Delivery is both in the classroom and outdoors, in school and at an environmental centre in Wolverhampton.

Groundwork Stoke-on-Trent

Groundwork works with children in and out of school to illustrate how our actions can make a difference to both our immediate surroundings and the global environment.  We have a programme 'One World Schools' delivering to the aims of Every Child matters, by specialist education practitioners, often in partnership with other organisations.  We work with all school stakeholders including governors, bursars and premises officers together with teachers, classroom assistants and pupils.

Most, if not all, projects include out of classroom learning as well as classroom based activity, school grounds, school buildings and the wider community.  Groundwork are often able to advise schools on potential sources of funding to cover sustainable development activity and provide assistance with applications.  We operate nationally, regionally and locally.

Locally, we also offer student apprenticeships, NCFE sustainable development, land based diplomas and employment opportunities.

Hagley Primary School

One of a number of schools in the West Midlands to be awarded the £5000 grant to develop a sustainability project with a family of local schools. This project will last initially for one year and involve reflection on leadership issues that arise as schools introduce and develop vegetable gardens in their grounds, and compare them with partner schools in The Gambia.

Heads, teachers and industry Ltd

HTI provides training in sustainable development for senior leadership teams in schools and colleges, including governors.  It is focused on doing this in the West Midlands  through a series of 1 and 2 day events.

HTI has developed a pilot 2 day ‘Leading for the future’ for DCSF  to be delivered in West Midlands and the North East for leadership teams and LA officers.

HTI runs a web site which is free to schools and Colleges. [which provides curriculum resources for teachers and school children].

Madley Environmental Study Centre

School groups [maximum of 2 classes of 35 per visit] are able to come to the Centre and learn about biodiversity and sustainability through activities on our 7 acre Nature Reserve, consisting of wetlands, meadows and woods. The Education Officer is also available to visit Herefordshire schools to deliver 'Eco-days' with topics surrounding the issues of waste, water, energy and climate change and biodiversity.

Sessions [either at the Centre or delivered at school] cost £45/half day and £90/ full day.  Telephone Louise on 01981 512561 for further information.


The National Association for Environmental Education is based in the West Midlands, at the University of Wolverhampton.  NAEE is a 40 year old organisation, founded by a Birmingham head teacher to support teacher colleagues to deliver environmental education in schools, and to support and strengthen the environmental dimension of Education for Sustainable Development.  NAEE continues to be run voluntarily by teachers, for teachers. 

NAEE’s practical support for schools includes:

  • Termly 40 page journal “Environmental Education;”
  • NAEE’s website, which gives up to date news of conferences etc;
  • Provision of workshop presenters to support the ‘doorways’ of Sustainable Schools, eg Sustainable School Grounds, workshops on the value of environmental education in schools;
  • New publication “Positive Action” which supports S3 with curriculum audit and ideas for practical action which emphasise the environmental dimension.  This will be provided free to all West Midlands schools who apply for a copy.
  • Serving as a voice for teachers/schools on two of the DCSF Outdoor Learning Manifesto sectors [Natural Environment and School Grounds].
  • Our statement “Why the Environment Matters to Every Child” supports the learning opportunities [eg learning through play] in the child’s local environment, including the school grounds and  neighbourhood of the school.  This Statement follows the ‘Every Child Matters’ format.

Natural Curriculum Project, Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and Black Country

3 main aims of the NCP:

  • Support schools with practical/technical advice to enhance and improve their school grounds for informal/formal work.
  • Develop and encourage awareness and participation in environmental issues by young people.
  • Offer one stop advice for schools on environmental issues, loan resources and share information about environmental organisations and providers.

We lead sessions with children in school grounds and deliver training for the whole school community and other professionals concerned with school grounds development.


We support teachers at work as the largest teachers’ union.  The union has recently surveyed its members on the question of sustainable schools.

Outdoor Learning Service - Birmingham
We support seven environmental education day centres: Birmingham Botanical Gardens, the Nature Centre, Hams Hall, Chapmans Hill Farm, Money Lane Farm, Woodgate Valley and Springfield.

There are also four residential centres, three of which do environmental work [Bell Heath, Bockleton and Stansfield].  Visits to centres try to encourage and support many aspects of sustainable schools:  Water, energy, purchasing, waste and recycling, travel and traffic, food and drink.  Together the centres see 40,000 visitors per year, most of whom are Birmingham children.

Practical Action

Practical Action is an international development agency working with poor communities to help them chose and use technology to improve their lives today and for future generations.

Our education work draws on our projects around the world, using interactive methods to address issues of sustainable development and global interdependence.  They encourage young people to understand the implications of their decisions as consumers, designers and producers both now and in the future.

The resources [including online resources] are primarily aimed at D&T teachers, but are relevant for anyone with an interest in exploring sustainability further.  We offer tailored workshops for teachers and teacher trainers in the Midlands, and invite people to sign up to receive our email updates with ideas for classroom sustainability activities.

For further information contact or 01926 634 519.


We provide field teaching sites at nature reserves across the UK offering stimulating hand on activities.  Projects such as Wildsquare engage children in useful surveys of their local environment.  Bird Friendly Schools links RSPB volunteers with primary schools to help children enjoy the birds in their school grounds.  Wildlife Action and Climate Action awards offer a way for children to extend their interest at home or at school.  We provide teaching resources and fun activities for children via the website.  Wildlife Explorer clubs offer opportunities for children to have lots of fun through hands on activities, games and investigations.    [See conference presentation from Rachel Wheeler, Youth and Education Officer].

RSPB Sandwell Valley

Biodiversity – how the natural world impacts on human activity, and the balance of nature - is crucial to our own survival.  We offer a variety of courses at our nature reserve and in schools to develop understanding of this.

Shropshire County Council - Children and Young People's Services Directorate

We provide:  

  • liaison across the Directorate of the County Council, other agencies and schools;
  • professional development and networking for teachers and sustainability governors;

  • leadership on the eco-schools programme and geography cross-phase;
  • advice and guidance to headteachers and school improvement advisers;

  • liaison with regional and material bodies [eg EEAA, Tide~ global learning, GOWM, QCA, DCSF].

Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre

We have a permanent exhibition that explores man's impact on the natural environment over history and into the future.  We also offer day-long fieldwork sessions to schools that support National Curriculum and develop the themes of exploring nature, being creative, understanding the past and reading landscapes.  These are led by our experienced staff in the Onny Meadows; 25 acres attached to the building that include pond, woodland and meadow habitats.  Lunchtimes are also used to explore waste and recycling.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

We offer advice on school grounds, and support schools to implement and source funding for changes.  We run an environmental education centre and outreach sessions.  We are offering an energy programme that takes a school through an audit and whole school approach to energy and resource development.  We show good practice.  The Trust has previously run a waste minimisation and awareness programme.  It currently supports both eco-schools and sustainable schools at a strategic LAA and LSP level with all our local districts and county council.  We have identified an officer to direct queries, and we offer INSET training.

Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum
We currently offer workshops, shows and outreach visits on topics that schools can use for sustainable sessions from  KS1 to A2 level:  energy, recycling, healthy eating plus exhibits.  The museum is planning a new gallery on the environmental and world changes including climate change, different environments and natural adaptations seen in wildlife, and what we can learn from that.

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
We provide school grounds advice [eg wildlife gardens and growing projects], and offer environmental education activities about wildlife and scientific activities, linked to national curriculum.  We host the Globe project, supporting work in schools on climate change and weather projects nationally and internationally.  Activities for KS1 and 2 include recycling, weather, biodiversity, food webs and habitats.  We also provide Forest Schools delivery and teacher training programmes.

West Midlands Foodlinks

We support networking and disseminating best practice on food themes.  We supply contact details for farm visits, visitor centres and organic farming, and run healthy eating, growing, and cookery workshops.

Wildside Activity Centre
We support: environmental education through practical sessions and via adventurous activities; transport initiatives via bike recycling and workshop; waste recycling and energy via our eco centre status; and biodiversity and habitat creation/management via a volunteer group.

West Midlands Broadband Network [WMnet]

We provide resources and support for schools teaching and learning about climate change, and offer regional and national portals for school resources. We offer support for online collaboration.

Worcestershire Global Dimension Base

The Worcestershire Global Dimensions Base provides schools with a link to  available information and support regarding school partnerships, overseas professional development opportunities, funding programmes and teaching resources.  We also provide a forum for the sharing of ideas, experiences and good practice through our website, a regular magazine, network meetings and occasional workshops and conferences.

Tel 01562 883280 [option3].  Email
 Worthen Primary School

A school development group involving eight Primary Schools and one Secondary share the resources of Worthen School grounds.  We host staff visits to view sustainable progress, as well as field studies groups from the Field Studies Council, including overseas visitors.  The school attends conferences, with pupils making presentations to teachers/advisers/other pupils.  We actively share information with other schools.