Caretakers – the key to green schools

Caretakers have a 'crucial' role to play in making schools more environmentally friendly, according to the Government's building watchdog.

Matt Bell, director of education at the Commission for architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), made the call today (June 9) at the launch of Green Day 2010.

The month long event is billed as ‘Britain’s biggest education initiative’ and aims to help teachers and pupils understand and tackle climate change.

A record 1,000 schools in England are taking part this year, and Mr Bell believes ‘unsung’ caretakers who ‘don’t often get much credit’ could be playing a much bigger role in fighting climate change.

He said: “It’s the caretaker who has responsibility for climate actions like creating an allotment, choosing the most eco hand-dryers or installing bike racks.

“And who else is going to label light switches, and power down the school at the end of the day?

“I want every school in Britain to love their caretaker, this could start with headteachers offering them a chance to get some training on sustainability and a crash course in architecture, so they appreciate how to adapt the building.

“And then give them some power and responsibility to reduce the use of water, gas and electricity.”

Alan Giddings is a caretaker at the Henry Moore Primary School in Harlow, said: “It’s my job to manage the day to day running of the school site and I have to keep a close eye on the amount of energy used.

“I think the children enjoy learning the nuts and bolts about how the school works and saving energy.”

Luke Walsh

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