AStrea kids

Astrea Go Green are our Super Hero Feature for Spring 2024.

The Astrea Academy Trust in South Yorkshire stands out as our Super Hero this term, thanks to the exceptional efforts of their Sustainability Lead, Rob Chambers.

Rob, a National Geography Lead, has been instrumental in collaborating with students in Eco-committees, as well as at the Central/Operations Level, driving forward sustainability initiatives within the trust. His key focuses are:

  •       Sustainability
  •       Energy saving
  •       Student leadership

This is how Rob describes what has been achieved:

“In October 2022 we launched a Go Green Campaign, led by academies and students, but co-ordinated centrally. Our work is underpinned by the principles outlined in the DfE’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy. We signed up all of our academies centrally to the national ‘Let’s Go Zero’ pledge and asked each academy to identify an Eco-Lead, establish an eco-committee and identify an Eco-Link on the senior management team. Student leadership is at the heart of our work in our academies, and students are encouraged to lead on activities wherever possible, with eco-leads acting as facilitators.”

“We have termly meetings of the Eco-Leads led by our trust sustainability lead. Our termly newsletters include key upcoming dates, resources, and events, as well as an academy showcase section to celebrate the work that is being done by eco-committees across our academies. We also have a teams area which is frequently updated with news, links, and opportunities.”

“We have three trust-wide campaigns a year, taking part in the national Switch Off Fortnight in November, the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel in the spring, and then World Environment Day during the summer term. In addition to these, all our academies are working on their own initiatives, which have included energy saving campaigns, visiting a waste recycling plant, establishing school gardens, attending a climate change conference, holding assemblies and even a mini COP held between two primaries amongst other things.”

Climate Action Plans

“In July 2023, we evaluated our GoGreen strategy and decided that the next stage was to take a more strategic approach through establishing a Climate Action Plan (CAP). The plan was written with input from all key stakeholders across the central and curriculum teams and acts as a framework to ensure accountability for our work. It takes a holistic approach to embedding sustainability across the trust, including the central team and operations, and at an academy level with clear KPIs to support evaluation of progress. It was also used as an opportunity to identify the progress we have already made through our GoGreen strategy.”

“Our eco-committees are now in the process of writing their academy ‘mini-CAPs’ with 3-4 academic specific targets. These mini-CAPS will sit in the appendix of our trust-wide CAP. To coincide with our CAP launch we have also established a GoGreen online portal providing a central area for support and resources for all our academies. This includes a showcase area, where each academy can document the work they are doing. There is also an area providing resources and examples of good practice according to the 10 themes that underpin our work (these are drawn from the Eco-Schools framework) for consistency. One of our current foci is looking at how we can embed sustainability into our curriculum more formally going forward. We are working with our central curriculum team on this, as well as working alongside our trust careers lead in promoting Green careers.”

And a Final Word From Rob

– What advice do you have for other schools wanting to improve sustainability in the school and curriculum?

“Leadership and buy-in at the highest level in your organisation (whether trust or school/ academy level) is key to the success of a sustainability strategy and it is important to ensure that you are clear on the leadership structure supporting your strategy. Putting student leadership at the heart of the work you do is key; your eco-committees will help drive your work and ensure that your commitment to sustainability is truly ‘lived’ within your schools. As well as an Eco-Lead it is also important to have a member of SLT who is responsible for Eco-advocacy to ensure that the work is given the support it needs. This can help ensure that your sustainability strategy and initiatives are fully integrated and supported to help ensure success.”

“We would highly recommend all academies signing up to the Let’s Go Zero pledge, they also have lots of great webinars online regarding different aspects of developing sustainability initiatives in schools. Schools can also get free support from a Climate Action Advisor as part of the Let’s Go Zero campaign. The National Education Nature Park launched in Autumn 2023 and we would encourage all schools to sign up for this as a starting point for mapping your school estates and setting targets for increasing biodiversity (don’t forget to also check to see if you are eligible for the grant funding). We would also strongly suggest signing up to the UK Schools Sustainability Network, there is also a fabulous UKSSN Ops Group for Operations Managers and School Business Leaders with lots of ideas and support available. Finally we would definitely recommend checking out the new Count Your Carbon tool, a partnership between Eco-Schools and Keep Britain Tidy. This will enable you to calculate the carbon footprint for your educational setting to help you set achievable targets on how to reduce your emissions.”

Well done to Rob and all of the Energy Heroes at Astrea Trust! You are an incredible example of what can be done within a MAT.

You can follow Astrea Go Green on twitter by clicking here.

Has your school or MAT been making moves in energy saving and sustainability?

If so, we would love to hear about it and you could be our next Super Hero feature!

You can email us at hello@energyheroes.org.uk or complete this online form: We are a Super Hero School!