22 Jul 14

Ormiston Venture Academy scoops national sustainability award

A school in Gorleston has been ‘highly commended’ in a national sustainability competition.

The initiative called ‘The Big Energy Project’ is run by EDF Energy in conjunction with a charity called The Transformation Trust.

34 schools across the country took part in the Big Energy Project, each running their own energy efficiency campaign over a six-week period. The Jo Richardson Community School in London was crowned the winner and two schools, Ormiston Venture Academy in Gorleston and Heysham High School scooped highly commended prizes.

Ormiston Venture Academy caught the judges’ attention by their commitment to making strides in behavioural changes to energy wastage in the school, by taking small steps that could lead to big energy savings such, such as encouraging teachers to turn off their interactive whiteboards when not in use.

Ormiston Venture Academy and Heysham High School were both supported by EDF Energy employees from Sizewell and Heysham power stations, who used their Helping Hands volunteering time to go into the schools and support them.

Debbie Telkman and Chris O’Dwyer, Sizewell B employees who supported Ormiston School went back to the school to congratulate pupils on winning the ‘Highly Commended’ prize and to present the students with their certificates and £500 Mindset vouchers.

Debbie Telkman, Sizewell B Visitor Centre Guide said: "I’ve really enjoyed spending time with the students from Ormiston School and am incredibly impressed with their original and creative campaign ideas. "

Agnieszka Tomczak, the science teacher leading the programme at Ormiston Venture Academy said: "This is an important topic for students to understand in today's world. Through The Big Energy Project students have learnt how energy is wasted at home and in school, and now have a better understanding of how to save energy. Students have gained confidence, working independently and presenting their work in front of a group of people. EDF Energy volunteers supported our students when they were creating their campaign. It was fantastic to have their input and get the students thinking outside the box."

EDF Energy developed The Big Energy Project with the Transformation Trust as a means of not only engaging young people in science, but encouraging them to create sustainability campaigns that made a measurable difference in their communities. It’s fantastic to experience this engagement and the ideas that students can come up with first-hand.

Each school that that took part in the Big Energy Project was invited to submit their students’ most effective campaign to a panel of judges. The campaigns were then assessed against criteria such as environmental impact, creativity and measurable changes in behaviour, with the winners announced in July.

Amy Leonard, Chief Executive of The Transformation Trust said, "We are delighted that the Big Energy Project has enhanced learning at Ormiston School and helped students to build new skills for their future. As an education charity our mission is to offer enriching activities that will help students build confidence and develop new interests. Once again we’ve been hugely impressed by the thoughtful and creative ideas generated by the students, and also the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the teachers leading The Big Energy Project in our network of schools."

The Big Energy Project is one of several initiatives that EDF Energy runs with schools. The Pod (jointhepod.org), EDF Energy’s flagship environmental education programme, now has over 18,000 registered schools and has engaged with more than 10 million students since its launch in 2008.