Sie sind auf Seite 1von 40

Sustainable College

Assistants Project
Project Report, May 2008

Acknowledgements
A great number of people have contributed to the Sustainable College Assistants Project in many ways, large and small.
Their input is greatly appreciated. The authors would particularly like to thank Debbie Watson and Mary Kelly (LSC),
Matthew Williams and Olga Rey (British Council), Professor Stephen Martin (University of Gloucestershire), Crispin
Chatterton and the outreach team at People and Planet, Lisa Dubow (AOC), colleagues at StudentForce, Elain Crewe,
Rick Heslop and Roy-Morgan Wood (RCEEM) and, most of all, the sustainability champions at the nine partner colleges of
the project. Thank you.
This project would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and hard work of five young Europeans who gave their
time for free to help review and promote sustainability in British FE colleges: Elsa Oliveira, Emma Broms, Eneritz Ibarra,
Rime Saidi and Vincent Onclinx. Thank you, and we wish you every success in your future careers.
Simon Winch, Sustainable Colleges Manager
Adam Cade, Chief Executive
StudentForce for Sustainability
May 2008

Contents
Page
Acknowledgements
Contents
1

Introduction
1.1 Stakeholders
1.2 LSC
1.3 Definition of terms

2
3

Baseline Survey
Support for Champions
3.1 Assistant working in colleges
3.2 Mini-projects undertaken
3.3 Mini-projects fit From Here to
Sustainability Key Aims

2
3
4
4
4
4
6
7
7
7
11

4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4

Reviewing ESD
Learner Survey
CommunityChecks
Audit of sustainability content of curricula
Sustainability review of policy set

14
14
14
15
16

5.1
5.2
5.3
5.4
5.5

Promoting ESD
Buildings and estate
Curriculum
Community
Leadership and management
Institutional culture

17
17
17
18
19
19

6.1
6.2
6.3
6.4

Discussion and lessons learned


Findings
Evaluation/ Lessons learned
Next steps
Recommendations

22
22
22
24
25

StudentForce baseline survey


recommendations
List of partner colleges
South Nottingham College Sustainability
Policy
Sample memorandum of understanding
between StudentForce and a college
Summary of Learner Survey findings
Challenges encountered setting up
People and Planet groups in FE colleges
Acronyms used

27

Appendix I
Appendix II
Appendix III
Appendix IV
Appendix V
Appendix VI
Appendix VII

29
31
34
36
37
38

Introduction

The Sustainable College Assistants Project ran from April 2007 to April 2008, funded by the Learning and Skills Council
(LSC) and managed by StudentForce for Sustainability. The project was commissioned by the LSC to help implement
their sustainable development strategy, From Here to Sustainability, published in 2005 1 .
The project aimed to review and promote education for sustainable development (ESD) in Further Education (FE)
colleges in the East Midlands, as a pilot to demonstrate whether the approaches used could be replicated more broadly
across the LSC sector.
This report outlines the variety of approaches used in the project. The report can be read with reference to the project
website at www.studentforce.org.uk/sca; much of the work carried out for the project can be found here. The more
substantial documents are cross-referenced from the text, but a variety of other materials can also be found.
There has been a noticeable change of institutional culture in the LSC sector over the three years since the publication
the LSC Strategy From Here to Sustainability. The media and political focus on climate change has catalysed this
culture change, spurred by the rapidly growing responses of local authorities, employers and young people. The LSC
sector has also responded to the related political and institutional changes within higher and schools education in
response to HEFCEs Strategy for Sustainable Development 2 and the Sustainable Schools Framework 3 . The sustainable
design and construction requirements for funding new build in the schools, FE and HE sectors has also given a
considerable boost to this culture change.
This Sustainable College Assistants Project builds on this culture change and the support from these key agencies. In
terms of the LSC Strategy it has aimed to develop a culture so that all providers and learners will know about
sustainable development and expect it to be part of normal practice. It is one of the LSCs early pilot projects aiming to
develop good practice and contribute towards SD in the sector, alongside the EAUCs Sorted website (the Sustainability
Online Resource and Toolkit for Education, www.eauc.org.uk/sorted) and the promotion of regional networks.

1.1 Stakeholders
Many key agencies and stakeholders involved with the LSC sector are now embracing and supporting education for
sustainable development (ESD). The Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges, the Centre for Excellence in
Leadership, Association of Colleges, OFSTED and others as well as many of the Sector Skills Councils, trade and
professional bodies are now devoting time and energy to ESD. Several regional networks promoting ESD activity in the
LSC sector have been established, including UN-approved Regional Centres of Expertise in ESD such as the RCE East
Midlands (RCEEM) and RCE North East. All these organisations and networks have supported the promotion of the LSC
strategy.

1.2 LSC
The project is based on two key elements of the LSC Strategy namely using a Baseline audit and assisting SD
Champions at a regional level. The baseline audit of SD activity built on the LSC national baseline survey 4 . It helped to
identify SD Champions in colleges as well as a picture of regional activity.
The graduate Assistants supported these Champions in designing and developing a series of mini-projects around the
campus, curriculum and community links, leadership and management as well as influencing the overall institutional
culture.

1.3 Definition of terms


Education for Sustainable Development
The learning needed to maintain and improve our quality of life and the quality of life of generations to come. It is about
equipping individuals, communities, groups, businesses and government to live and act sustainably; as well as giving

1
2

From Here to Sustainability: The Learning and Skills Councils Strategy for Sustainable Development, September 2005

3
4

Sustainable Development in the Learning and Skills Sector: National baseline survey by Stephen and Maureen Martin, Judith Cohen and Rodrigo
Correo, 2006

them an understanding of the environmental, social and economic issues involved. It is about preparing for the world in
5
which we will live in the next century, and making sure that we are not found wanting
Sustainable Development
A widely used international definition is:
development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their
6
own needs.
The Learning and Skills Councils vision for Sustainable Development is:
that the learning and skills sector will proactively commit and contribute to sustainable development through its
management of resources, the learning opportunities it delivers and its engagement with employers and communities. 7
There are a multitude of definitions of sustainability, but for the purposes of this report it is considered to be the utopian
end to which sustainable development (and therefore education for sustainable development) attempts to lead.
The terms education for sustainable development and sustainability have been used interchangeably throughout the
project and in this report.

From Defras Sustainable Development Education Panel, First Annual Report (1998)
World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) (The Brundtland Report)
7
From Here to Sustainability: The Learning and Skills Councils Strategy for Sustainable Development, September 2005
6

Baseline Survey

A baseline survey was commissioned targeting all East Midlands


FE colleges, to assess the extent to which college representatives
believed their college implemented sustainable development. The
survey, undertaken by University of Leicester and East Midlands
Further Education Council, aimed to review the sustainable
development activity, needs and interests of the colleges. The
survey consisted of an online questionnaire, with nine respondent
colleges selected for more detailed follow-up interviews. The
baseline survey report for FE colleges can be found at
www.studentforce.org.uk/sca. The questionnaire used was later
also used for East Midlands Adult and Community Education
Services (ACE); the report for the East Midlands ACE survey can
also be found at www.studentforce.org.uk/sca.
In a total of 11 questions, four sections asked for information
on:

the organisation
campus and estates
the curriculum
community involvement.

Several follow-up questions were added to the four sections to provide supplementary information from respondents
about their willingness to participate in the RCEEM and to ascertain their level of interest in having a Sustainable College
Assistant through the Sustainable College Assistants Project. The structure and focus of the survey ensured that the
following Key Aims from the LSC strategy From Here to Sustainability were addressed: SD champions, Baseline audit,
Influence and persuade, Local and regional networks.
Keynote findings were that:

Just under a third of colleges had staff with formal responsibility for sustainable development;
Waste management, traffic management and estates management are the most likely areas of current activity
within colleges;
Current teaching practice reflects a range of ESD activity in colleges;
The inclusion of SD in mandatory regulations would be a major enabling factor in the further development of
ESD activity;
Much activity focuses on estates development and new build projects;
Curriculum activity is variable with much activity in tutorials or from interested and committed teaching staff;
Only a small number of colleges are so far delivering qualifications which can be classed as directly Education
for Sustainable Development focused;
Successful and cost effective procurement of green supplies is regarded as a major issue for nearly all
colleges;
Community activity and involvement by the colleges is very variable in its nature across the region but most
organisations can identify ways in which ESD objectives are being met through their community programmes.

See the full report at www.studentforce.org.uk/sca for more in-depth context, methodology, results, analysis,
recommendations and the survey template.
On receiving the report, StudentForce consulted with a number of relevant parties and individuals and drew up a list of
further recommendations based on the findings of the FE college baseline survey, subsequent discussions and
subsequent events in the sector. This forms appendix I and part of StudentForces main recommendations from the
Sustainable College Assistants Project as a whole.

Support for Champions

3.1 Assistants working in colleges


Three European volunteers were recruited through the European Unions Youth in Action (YiA) program, and given a
comprehensive induction in ESD, English culture and the English education system. These volunteer Sustainable College
Assistants (SCAs) were seconded to three colleges each for one day a week for the autumn and spring terms of the
academic year 2007-08. A list of the nine colleges that hosted SCAs can be found in appendix II. A further two European
volunteers provided cross-college support for some of the project duration.
SCAs were line-managed jointly by StudentForce and by a staff member in each of the colleges in which the assistant
worked. In seven of nine cases this staff member was a senior manager with responsibility for sustainability. In two cases
the line manager in the college held overall responsibility for sustainability in the college but was not part of the senior
management team. In some colleges, further day to day support was college by a more junior member of staff than the
line manager.
Identification of the work focus for the SCAs was led by the colleges. StudentForce provided a list of potential miniprojects SCAs could undertake, with an emphasis towards reviewing ESD, which it was felt colleges may not themselves
prioritise. College representatives prioritised areas where they felt the college could most benefit from action, often
suggesting options that StudentForce hadnt thought to include on the suggested mini-projects. StudentForce committed
to running between two and nine mini-projects in all colleges, focussing on the areas colleges had prioritised highly for
action, as long as this could result in an achievable and tangible benefit in terms of ESD. The range of mini-projects
included those reviewing ESD and those promoting ESD.
StudentForce and each partner college signed a memorandum of understanding defining the working relationship and
outlining roles and responsibilities. A sample memorandum of understanding forms appendix IV. Regular review
meetings were held between StudentForce, each college and the Assistant working for that college, to measure progress,
troubleshoot and plan ahead.

Sustainable College Assistants, from left: Elsa Oliveira, Vincent Onclinx, Rime Saidi, Emma Broms, Eneritz Ibarra

3.2 Mini-projects undertaken


This section contains brief information about each of the 29 mini-projects undertaken through the Sustainable College
Assistants Project. Some of the most interesting or innovative of these have been chosen for further expansion in the
following sections. Where mini-projects meet key aims in the LSC sustainability strategy From Here to the Future, these
are cross-referenced. These key aims are outlined in more detail in the 3.3 Mini-projects fit with From Here to
Sustainability Key Aims.
The mini-projects were undertaken by three Sustainable College Assistants (SCAs) placed for one day a week in three
selected East Midlands FE colleges for two terms - a total of nine colleges. For this role, StudentForce recruited four
European volunteers through the European Unions YiA program. A fourth volunteer helped set up the project and a fifth
acted as project support for the three college-based SCAs, and led on some cross-college mini-projects. The mini-projects
undertaken in colleges were developed according to priorities or need expressed by college representatives. The miniprojects undertaken are classified as addressing campus and estates, curriculum, community, leadership and
management or institutional culture. This section presents profiles of a representative sample of these mini-projects; as
StudentForces work in FE colleges progresses, more will become available on the project website
www.studentforce.org.uk/sca.

Campus

Curriculum

Mini-project

Description

LSC Strategy
key aim

Page

CommunityChecks

CommunityChecks were undertaken in six


colleges. A two-hour training session was
delivered to student volunteers who then
quizzed a college manager about
sustainable procurement and resource
efficiency and toured the campus. Findings
were written up into a report that was given
to college management

Environmental
Management
Systems
(EMS),
Procurement,
Volunteering

14

Recycling promotion

The Sustainable College Assistant (SCA) at


Leicester College worked with the
Sustainability Champion there to pave the
way for a college-wide recycling launch held
in February 2008, instigated by the
Principal. The SCA at Brooksby Melton
College liaised with a sponsor to fund a
plastics recycling scheme and liaised with
Groundwork to dispose of tyres from the
college. The SCA at Rutland College
commissioned artworks from two motivated
design students to raise peer awareness of
the value of reusing materials

Building and
design

17

Quantifying potential
energy savings

The SCA at Stephenson College measured


energy usage by computer monitors in
standby mode and calculated the energy
and financial savings the college could
make by ensuring all college monitors were
turned off overnight and at weekends

EMS

17

Fund bidding for


sustainability projects

SCAs worked with colleagues in three


colleges to develop projects suitable for
funding under the LSC capital grant fund for
energy efficiency projects (see
www.salixfinance.co.uk/furthereducation.ht
ml)

Building and
design

Student-led climate
change documentary

In one college, an essay question was


delivered to students studying French,
asking what they can do to help tackle
climate change. Responses were marked as
part of their curriculum. A group of ten
interested students then worked with a
StudentForce SCA and the Drama and Video
departments to write, act and direct a
documentary, in French and English, about
climate change

Education for
Sustainable
Development
(ESD), Wholeinstitution
approach,
Volunteering

17

Sustainability curricula
in construction
department

The SCA in one partner college liaised with a


local renewable technologies company to
develop 20 hours of lectures on sustainable
technology for students on construction
courses at the college. These lectures form
part of the syllabus from September 2008.
The SCA, the college and the renewable
technologies company also liaised to
organise ongoing workshops showing
students how to build a wind turbine from
scratch from mostly recovered materials.
Funded by the construction department,
students will design and build the turbine

ESD, Learning
materials,
Links and
partnerships

18

which will then be used for training


purposes

Community

15

Audit of sustainability
content of curricula

An audit of the sustainability content of


existing curricula was carried out by the SCA
in a Leicester college

Design competition for


publicity materials that
raise awareness of
sustainability issues

An SCA liaised with the design department


of a college to run a competition for
students to design visual publicity and a
website for a college link with a developing
country, as part of the existing design
syllabus. The SCA in another college
commissioned artworks from design
students to raise peer awareness of the
value of reusing materials

Wholeinstitution
approach,
Links and
partnerships,
Volunteering

Sustainability tutorials

Two tutorial plans were created for two


partner colleges. One addressed Fairtrade;
the other climate change and recycling.
These form part of the tutorial sessions
delivered to students in both colleges in 0708 and 08-09

Learning
materials

Sustainability activities
for students with
learning difficulties

An SCA developed accessible sustainability


activities for a small group of students with
learning difficulties

Learning
materials

Sustainable design
workshop

A freelance sustainable fashion stylist and


designer was hired by the SCA in a Leicester
college to lead a sustainable design
workshop for students on a design course.
The workshop looked at ethical fabric
sourcing, reuse and restyling of clothes and
environmental impact of clothes

ESD, Learning
materials,
Links and
partnerships

Integration of
sustainability in
animation course

The SCA in a Leicester college worked with a


lecturer of animation to provide students
with sustainability-related sketches for
animation, as part of their syllabus. The
finished animations will form part of student
portfolios and be featured on college TV

ESD

Learner survey

A survey investigating learner attitudes to


sustainable lifestyles and a sustainable
college was run in seven colleges. Individual
reports were produced for colleges as well
as an overall report for all colleges

European Voluntary
Service promotion

SCAs promoted opportunities with the


European Voluntary Service in six partner
colleges. EVS enables young people to
volunteer on supported placements
throughout the world, for free

Volunteering

18

Creation of student
sustainability societies

SCAs created People and Planet groups in


three colleges and a Green Society in a
fourth, using various approaches. People
and Planet groups campaign on a variety of
topics relating to social and environmental
justice

Wholeinstitution
approach,
Volunteering

18

International college
links

The SCA in Leicester college planned and


negotiated a potential link between the
college and an equivalent in Nepal, with the

Wholeinstitution
approach,

19

14

Leadership and
management

Institutional
culture

aim of raising cultural awareness and


bringing new perspectives to subjectspecific areas such as citizenship, history,
geography, music and English

Links and
partnerships

Creation of
sustainability policy and
action plan

SCAs researched and created sustainability


policies and action plans for three different
colleges. These are now in the process of
formal ratification

EMS

19

Adding sustainability
remit to Students
Union job description

The SCA in WQEI College worked with


members of the Students Union to draw up
a new job description for a Vice President
post and then successfully lobby the
student democratic body for its ratification

SD champions

19

Sustainability review of
policy set

The SCA in Stephenson College undertook a


review of the colleges policies and
procedures, identifying areas of
sustainability good practice and areas
where sustainability could be improved

EMS

Embedding
sustainability in staff
induction materials

The SCA at Derby College overhauled staff


induction materials to better reflect, convey
and enact the colleges commitment to
sustainability

Wholeinstitution
approach

Lets Talk Rubbish!

A waste awareness event was held at


Rutland College in February 2008, hoping to
inspire students to think creatively about
their waste and reduce, reuse and recycle

Sustainability
awareness-raising

SCAs launched sustainability-related


screensavers in two colleges and displayed
sustainability-related awareness posters in
two colleges. The SCA in WQEI College
created a tongue-in-cheek Save the World
Activity Sheet for inclusion in a goody bag
given to new starters at the college

Wholeinstitution
approach

Green Attitude event

A youth culture event is being planned for


May 2008 at Castle College, with a
sustainability twist

Wholeinstitution
approach

Creating sustainability
sections for college
intranets

SCAs in four colleges developed sections for


college intranets that explain what
sustainability is, how the college is
addressing it, how students and staff can
get involved, and what they can do in their
own lives to make a difference

Wholeinstitution
approach

Green Day

A Green Day was held in February at WQEI


College, raising awareness about a number
of sustainability issues and featuring live
music, stalls and practical workshops

Wholeinstitution
approach

Participation in
sustainability week

The SCA at Leicester College coordinated a


display stand for the colleges sustainability
week, raising awareness of what the college
is doing regarding sustainability, and
advertising related schemes such as a
People and Planet group, EVS promotion
and the climate change march

Wholeinstitution
approach

20

World Environment Day


event

The SCA in Leicester College helped


organise a successful celebration event
marking World Environment Day 2007

Wholeinstitution
approach

Rutland Sust

Keen students from Rutland College, in


collaboration with the colleges SCA, helped
organise and run the successful Rutland
Sust event in November 2007. The event
celebrated the volunteer work young people
from Leicester, Rutland and Northampton
had undertaken. A DVD of the event is
available

Wholeinstitution
approach,
Volunteering

Climate change march

SCAs collaborated to help students from


three Leicester colleges participate in the
national climate change day of action in
London in December 2007

3.3 Mini-projects fit with From Here to Sustainability Key Aims


The Learning and Skills Councils 2005 sustainable development strategy From
Here to Sustainability contains recommendations for a series of key actions relating
to: buildings and estate; the curriculum; community engagement, and positioning
the sector. Recommendations for positioning the sector are primarily aimed at the
LSC itself and strategic partners such as Ofsted, Sector Skills Councils and
Department for Education and Skills (as was). As such the Sustainable Colleges
Assistants Project was not in a position to deliver on most of these
recommendations, with the exception of the identification of champions for
sustainable development, which was met in part by the baseline survey and by
adding a sustainability remit to Students Union job descriptions.
The Project did make headway on a number of recommendations for buildings
and estate, curriculum and community. Throughout the project the focus was on
meeting the need of the college, rather than aligning activities to meet the
recommendations in the LSC strategy, with the hope that this would both prove
the strategy and provide best value for the colleges. It is hoped that this aim has
been met, although there are certain areas of importance flagged in the
strategy (such as travel planning and the healthy colleges program) that, while
they would have been excellent case-studies, were not of a high enough priority to
individual colleges, or which did not fit the project timescales sufficiently to warrant action from a Sustainable
College Assistant. It is hoped that if the project continues into a second year this can be addressed, should the colleges
identify need in these areas.
Buildings and estate
Number of
mini-projects

Key area

Proposed action

Environmental
Management Systems
(EMS)

Undertake an audit of existing consumption and management of


energy, waste and water with a view to implementing an effective EMS
or adopting a sound sustainability policy

Building and design

Promote and deliver good sustainable practice in all design, new build
and refurbishment activities

Procurement

Make sure that all procurement practices reflect social and


environmental as well as economic costs

Biodiversity

Implement a locally appropriate biodiversity programme that best


manages the sit for conservation

Travel

Implement a travel plan that tackles the issues of providing access for

10

all as well as reducing the environmental impact of travel

11

Curriculum
Number
of miniprojects

Key area

Proposed action

Education for
Sustainable
Development
(ESD)

Promote and encourage acceptance and delivery within learning


programmes of the Sustainable Development Education Panels
key concepts for ESD

Learning materials

Consider adopting and using currently available SD learning


materials and develop appropriate SD programmes and modules

12

Whole-institution
approach

Implement a whole-institution approach to SD, taking account of


both institution-based provision and virtual learning environments,
and both informal and formal learning approaches

Links and
partnerships

Develop links between providers and industry and between pre- and
post-16 education and training providers (including higher
education). Also consider European and international partnerships

Healthy college
programme

Encourage as many colleges as possible to develop and implement


a healthy college programme

Community
Number of
mini-projects

Key area

Proposed action

Community
engagement

Ensure good communications exist with the local community at all


levels, including employers, and that this leads to greater community
and employer involvement

Local and regional


networks

Maintain and develop appropriate local and regional partnerships


between providers, local authorities, RDAs, higher education, and other
key stakeholders

Local markets and


ethical trade

Support local markets, ethical and fair trade, and socially responsible
initiatives within the community

Share facilities

Consider sharing facilities with local community agencies and groups to


make the best use of resources

Local economic
strategies

Be aware of, support and connect to, the local economic strategies
drawn up and developed by local authorities and RDAs

Volunteering

Encourage learners and providers to undertake volunteering activity as


part of community commitment to SD

While it appears that the project has done little to address proposed actions for Community, all of the six Key Areas were
integrated into sustainability policies developed for South Nottingham College, Brooksby Melton College and Stephenson
College. Other than by using sustainability policies to mandate the college to strive for best practice in these areas,
however, there was generally little that Sustainable College Assistants could do to directly impact on these key areas.
Assistants and the staff team encouraged partner colleges to join RCEEM, which provides a platform to discuss and
develop joint action to embed sustainability within and between sectors, with working groups for Further Education,
Higher Education, Youth, Schools, Adult and Community Learning, Voluntary sector, Regional / Local Government and
Business. This encouragement in part meets the Key area Local and regional networks and it was heartening to see an
increase in attendance at RCEM Further Education working group meetings by partner college representatives.
A number of StudentForce-led events have been considered to engender a Whole-institution approach. Many of these
could broadly come under the umbrella of awareness raising, and this may be a different thing to a whole-institution
approach. There may be a need to distinguish awareness raising as a separate Key Area. It was of high priority to all of
the Projects partner colleges.

12

Initial expectations were that there would be a great deal of Sustainable College Assistant input into Buildings and Estate
Key Areas. This area found to be relatively advanced in embedding sustainability thanks in part to the LSC 10% capital
build fund uplift for sustainability, evolving building regulations and financial incentives for reducing energy and water
use. In practice, this had the opposite effect: as colleges were generally relatively advanced in this regard, they saw
higher priorities elsewhere, in curriculum, community and leadership and management.
A separate category, Leadership and Management, has been used to categorise the mini-projects undertaken through
the Sustainable Colleges Assistants Project. This includes cross-college work particularly relating to policies and
procedures, which take into account buildings and estate, curriculum and community, but arent specific to one category.
Institutional Culture has also been used as a separate category, containing work to raise awareness and affect the
culture of the organisation. Similarly, this work is not specific to buildings and estate, curriculum or community, but
encompasses all three categories.

13

Reviewing ESD

Four of the mini-projects were specifically designed to help review ESD in East Midlands FE colleges:

learner survey;
CommunityChecks (volunteers carrying out free environmental and local checks of colleges);
an audit of sustainability content of curricula;
a sustainability review of policy and procedure set.

4.1 Learner survey


An online survey investigating learner attitudes to sustainable lifestyles, sustainability
and a sustainable college was developed and hosted on the StudentForce website. This
can still be viewed at www.studentforce.org.uk/survey. A variety of methods were used
in seven colleges to promote the survey to learners, including a cash incentive, posters,
flyers, adverts in learner newsletters, and on college intranets and screensavers.
Individual survey reports were created for colleges with a sufficiently large sample size,
and an overall report collated using data from all respondents from the seven colleges.
The main learner survey report can be found at www.studentforce.org.uk/sca, and a
summary of the findings forms appendix V.

Poster produced to advertise


the learner Survey

Keynote findings were that:

The statements my college is good at saving energy, my college encourages me to recycle, my college
encourages me to use public transport, my college supports me to eat healthy food and my college cares for
the environment drew equal quantities of agreement and disagreement
More respondents would like their college to help protect the environment and educate them about it than
would not
More respondents agreed than disagreed that their college was good at welcoming everyones views and
involvement, but as many disagreed as agreed that their college listens to everyones views
Most respondents wanted to have more healthy diets, with less sugar, salt and fat and more fruit and
vegetables
Respondents generally demonstrated an awareness of and commitment to do more as ethical consumers, by
buying environmentally friendly products, reusing and recycling more
Most respondents wanted to cycle and walk more. Opinion was split over car, train and bus use, the most
common response being no change followed by use less
A majority of respondents wanted more sheltered and quiet areas, more protected areas for wildlife, more
parking areas for cars and more flowerbeds in their college grounds
A majority or respondents felt able to help stop a variety of global sustainability issues such as climate change
and disadvantage and poverty in communities

4.2 CommunityChecks
StudentForces DEFRA-funded CommunityCheck project promotes sustainable
consumption by training volunteers to carry out free environmental and local checks
of publicly accessible buildings. Users of the buildings (such as shop customers,
college students or community members) volunteer to undergo a basic sustainable
consumption training session and then interview a representative of the
organisation to be Checked, asking questions about the organisations waste, water
and energy management, and its heating, procurement and transport. A report is
compiled containing various recommendations for more sustainable consumption,
and a follow-up phone call or visit made after six months or so to
Communitycheck team at WQEI College

14

measure progress. CommunityChecks were undertaken in five colleges as part of the Sustainable College Assistants
Project, with student volunteers or StudentForce staff making up the assessment group. A sample CommunityCheck
report can be found at www.studentforce.org.uk/sca. While useful for generating student awareness of sustainable
consumption, most colleges found that the recommendations were at too basic a level to be of use, or that most
recommendations had already been considered.
The CommunityCheck approach is better suited to smaller organisations without estates management teams, and this
may be of use to any colleges that have small outreach centres or accommodation that isnt centrally managed,
especially in terms of procurement.
The CommunityCheck project has developed an online toolkit that enables interested organisations to use the
CommunityCheck approach; more information is available at www.studentforce.org.uk/toolkit.

4.3 Audit of sustainability content of curricula


A curriculum audit was carried out in Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College in Leicester. This college shared a
common trait with many partner colleges: senior managers did not know how much sustainability content was already in
curricula, where it was, in what form, what had prompted it, what drivers staff identified to facilitate inclusion of
sustainability and what barriers staff felt prohibited them from including sustainability in curricula. A trend recorded by
the baseline survey (see section 2) is that sustainability presence in curricula in East Midlands FE colleges is scattered,
focusing around enthusiastic staff or where it is particularly easy to embed it into delivery of qualifications such as Alevel Geography. The curriculum audit was designed to gain a deeper understanding of the presence of sustainability
across curricula.
The audit asked a variety of questions about the inclusion of sustainability in each department the respondents
confidence using the term, its applicability to the subject and drivers and barriers to sustainability inclusion in the
department. The audit was emailed to Heads of Department by an Assistant Principal. The findings remain confidential,
but some of the questions are listed below.

Excerpt from Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College sustainability audit of curriculum questionnaire

Q1:

Do you feel confident about your own understanding of the concept of


sustainability?

Q2:

Do you feel you currently integrate sustainability principles into your teaching?

Q9:

What barriers do you experience that stop you including sustainability in your
teaching? Please select from the following (multiple selections permitted):
Uncertain of what sustainability is
I dont know enough about it
Its not part of the specification taught here
Its not relevant to the subject I teach
Its not important
I dont know how to include it in the subject I teach
Its a difficult concept for QE students to understand
Theres no time
Other:

Q10:

Do you feel there is student demand for the presence of sustainability principles in
teaching?

Q14:

Do you feel a personal moral responsibility to include sustainability principles in your


teaching?

15

4.4 Sustainability review of policy set


A policy and procedure audit was carried out in Stephenson College, Coalville Leicestershire. This investigated the
present policy and procedure set for good practice in sustainability and made recommendations for further action.
It was soon agreed that as the college was built upon the twin foundations of sound financial management and social
sustainability, the review should narrow in focus to address environmental considerations. It was demonstrated
repeatedly throughout the college procedures that sound environmental and social management was expected and
mandated, but that environmental management was rarely present.
While the college demonstrated sporadic good practice in policies and procedures such as the Document Management
System, Post and Scanning Procedure and Learner File Policy, this was not consolidated. Recommendations were made
for specific inclusions in existing policies and procedures (including in Financial Procedures and Learner Discipline
Procedure).
A recommendation was also made that a separate Sustainability Policy be created, which should contain the colleges
vision for sustainability and key action areas, including energy, water and waste management, travel planning,
sustainable procurement and that other policies and procedures should, upon their revision, include environmental
sustainability measures where appropriate.

16

Promoting ESD

5.1 Buildings and estate


Quantifying potential energy savings
The SCA in Stephenson College, Coalville, measured energy use by computer monitors when in use, in standby mode,
and when off. He discovered that while on standby, the colleges monitors used between 22% and 41% of the energy
they used when on, depending on the model. The amount of energy used by monitors as a percentage of the amount of
energy used by a whole computer including tower and peripherals varied between 18% and 26%.
The SCA calculated that if all of the colleges computer monitors were left on standby rather than turned off overnight
Monday to Friday and all weekend, the college would save 5,000 on its energy bills, at February 2008 prices, and
assuming the monitors would otherwise be left on standby. While this is an unfair assumption, as the college estates
department does try to ensure monitors are turned off overnight and at weekends, their success doing so is quite a way
from 100% and so a large part of these potential savings could be realised, if an effective system were put in place to
ensure monitors could reliably be turned off. Further savings could be made if staff, students and estates personnel also
turned off monitors not in use throughout the working day.
These findings formed the first steps of an awareness campaign targeting a reduction in energy use.
Recycling promotion
The SCA in Rutland College, Oakham, commissioned artworks from
two motivated design students to raise peer awareness of the
value of reusing materials. The resultant posters can be seen at
www.studentforce.org.uk/sca, and were displayed at the college
waste awareness event Lets Talk Rubbish.
The series of artworks featured a range of products made from
reused materials. One, which showcased a brand of shoes made
entirely from reused materials, featured a photograph of a car
leaving a footprint rather than a tyre print, with the tagline create
a footprint to be proud of.
The artworks formed part of the students portfolios, and were
referenced in their UCAS applications to study design at university.
The mini-project was valuable in giving these students commercial
experience and helping them confirm in their own mind that they
wanted to follow a career in design. It is also probable that
artworks designed by students were more youth-friendly than those
that could have been designed in-house. The artworks will be
made available to the companies whose products they feature, for
use in future marketing.

5.2 Curriculum

Recycling poster designed by students.

Student-led climate change documentary


In a college in Leicestershire, students studying French were asked to complete an essay, in French, about how they can
act to help tackle climate change. Responses were marked as part of their curriculum, and demonstrated a large base of
knowledge and commitment to tackle climate change across the whole group of students, particularly focusing on the
role of personal individual action in the home.
A group of ten particularly motivated students expressed an interest in taking their work further. The SCA at the college
helped them plan, direct and shoot a 30 minute docu-drama asking students around the college about their views on
climate change, with help from drama students and staff in the video technology department. A local film director
volunteered to help students edit the film, and it was premiered in the college to an audience of staff, students and
student family members. The video can be viewed at www.studentforce.org.uk/sca.

17

Sustainability curricula in construction department


The SCA at a college in Nottinghamshire worked closely with the construction department to help source sustainabilityrelated elements for the existing curricula. The SCA negotiated with a local renewable technologies company for the
delivery of 20 teaching hours by staff from the company focusing on sustainable construction. The SCA also persuaded
the department to contract the same company to deliver practical renewable technology workshops for construction
students, enabling them to gain hands-on knowledge of construction techniques for sustainable engineering solutions.
Both the teaching and the workshops form part of the departments curriculum delivery from September 2008.

5.3 Community
European Voluntary Service promotion
Most colleges that engaged with the Sustainable College Assistants Project
placed a high degree of importance on global citizenship and opportunities for
students to increase their skills and experience. A key way this need was met
was through the promotion of volunteering opportunities for students through
the European Voluntary Service (EVS).
EVS proved a very popular service to offer, and particularly easy to sell not
least because the people promoting it were EVS volunteers themselves. People
between the ages of 18 and 30 are able to undertake supported placements in
European Union (EU) countries at no cost travel, accommodation and a
personal allowance are all covered by the EU. StudentForce, an accredited EVS
sending organisation, guides applicants through the process and supports them
while on placement. The ethos of the EVS program is to foster European
citizenship and awareness through volunteering for the good of the host
community; StudentForce particularly focuses on sustainability-related EVS
placements.
Over 80 students from six colleges registered with the service, and now receive
regular updates of placement opportunities.
Poster designed to promote EVS

Creation of student sustainability societies


Senior managers in many of the Sustainable College Assistants Project partner colleges were conscious that
sustainability was currently mainly addressed in a top-down manner, with committed senior managers driving the
agenda, to an often seemingly ambivalent student and staff audience. A key role SCAs played in four colleges was to help
galvanise the student body, encouraging and facilitating student action for sustainability. The delivery of this was
primarily through the creation of student organisations, normally loosely affiliated with the Students Union or equivalent.
Of the students consulted in these four colleges, the consensus in three colleges was that the sustainability society
should be a People and Planet group. National charity People and Planet has a network of autonomous student groups
based in colleges and universities around the UK which it supports from a central office by providing campaign
resources, support, networks and a figurehead for political pressure. One group of students decided not to affiliate with
People and Planet as they felt it restricted their ability to campaign on their own priorities. They soon realised that this
wasnt the case and were planning to affiliate as the project ended.
All of the People and Planet groups were created after the start of the academic year, which meant a key window for the
recruitment of members was lost, at Freshers Fairs or equivalent. To counter this, the 3-10 founder members at each
college promoted the group to peers through word of mouth, visual publicity and stalls. Each group selected one or two
campaign areas that members were particularly interested in such as Fairtrade, HIV/AIDS, trade justice or climate
change.
Once the momentum provided by the SCA was withdrawn, two groups began to founder, with attendance at meetings
dwindling. An enthusiastic lecturer had been found to support one of the groups potentially a double-edged sword, as
discussed in Appendix VI.
By the time the Sustainable College Assistants Project ended, all four groups were running themselves but two lacked
the number of members to stand a good chance of continuing to the next academic year, with many current members
due to leave college.
A more in-depth analysis of the challenges encountered setting up People and Planet groups in FE colleges forms
appendix VI.

18

International college links


In South Nottingham College, Nottingham, an SCA worked with a staff member running a project linking the colleges
Tourism department to a college in The Gambia. A student exchange was already being established, with the goal of
setting up an ecotourism department in the partner college. The SCA worked with the college design and marketing
departments to set up a competition for students to design visual marketing materials and a website for the project.
The SCA in Regent College, Leicester, developed plans for a link with a college in a less economically developed nation,
to raise intercultural awareness, sustainability awareness, feed into the colleges citizenship and extra-curricular program
and add new perspectives to subject-specific delivery. After an extensive search, the SCA chose the college most suitable
and enthusiastic to partner a technical college in Nepal. By the time the SCAs placement in the college ended, talks
were underway between the management teams of both colleges to cement the partnership, with practical discussions
ongoing regarding the delivery of the partnerships actions.

5.4 Leadership and management


Creation of sustainability policy and action plan
Three colleges highly prioritised the creation of sustainability policies and linked action plans. Three SCAs combined to
research a baseline of strong and successful sustainability or related policies from Further and Higher education
institutions. From this an exemplar sustainability policy was researched and created, with brief consultation of college
staff, based on the LSC classification of campus, curriculum and community. Further target areas of leadership and
management and awareness were also addressed. Ideally this would have been expanded by consultation with focus
groups of learners, but time and resources didnt permit this. The SCA for each of the three colleges then consulted with
the Senior Management Team (SMT) to establish institutional context, overarching goals and language, and specific
sustainability priorities. These were worked into the exemplar policy, which was then presented to the college contact for
presentation to the SMT and governors (where relevant) for ratification.
Action plans were collated including previously proposed college actions for sustainability and incorporating sensible
short and medium term actions in line with the policy. A sample sustainability policy, that of South Nottingham College,
forms appendix III.
Excerpt from South Nottingham Colleges Sustainability Policy

Introduction
South Nottingham College is committed to embedding the principles of sustainability, through
the medium of sustainable development, across the whole scope of its activities, wherever
possible. South Nottingham College aims to be a leading sustainable Further Education College;
contributing to the support of a fair, egalitarian society, minimising the impact of its activities and
promoting greater understanding of the subject through its curricula.
Overarching Goals
South Nottingham College aims to
1. Follow the Learning and Skills Councils (LSC) strategy for sustainable development
2. Minimise the impact of its activities upon the environment
3. Raise awareness of sustainability
4. Include sustainability issues in its teaching and learning and maximise the quality of
sustainability education
Adding sustainability remit to Students Union job description
The SCA at Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College, Leicester, worked with Students Union officers and support staff
to review the job description of one of the two part-time elected Student Union Deputy Principals, making sustainability a
key part of the roles remit. The SCA then worked with the Campaigns Office to table a Union motion that the change to
the role be accepted. The motion was overwhelmingly carried. In practice this meant little change to the role of the
Deputy Principal for 2007-08, as the post-holder was already very active on sustainability issues, but ensured that
successors would carry forward the momentum gained while the SCA was in post.

19

5.5 Institutional culture


Creating sustainability sections for college intranets
A number of colleges were particularly keen to raise awareness of sustainability issues in staff and students, and
catalyse thought (and, hopefully, action) about sustainability. For some of these colleges StudentForces SCAs created a
section dedicated to sustainability on the college intranet. SCAs collaborated to write a template section that could be
customised for each college, containing pages on What is sustainability?, What is going on in the College? and What
can I do?. An excerpt from the youth-friendly What is sustainability page can be found overleaf.
Lets Talk Rubbish!
The SCA at Rutland College, part of the Tresham Institute of Further and Higher Education, organised a waste awareness
event called Lets Talk Rubbish!, to try to inspire learners to think creatively about their waste.
Lets Talk Rubbish! featured trade and awareness stalls
showcasing recycled products and ethical brands, helping
learners find out about more sustainable lifestyles and ethical
ways of buying products. Learners took part in workshops such
as clothes restyling, making wallets from tetrapak and making
belts from tyres. There was also a recycling quiz with a top
prize of vouchers for ethical clothes company Howies and a
performance by a student band. Two Graphic Design students
showcased a series of posters theyd created promoting
recycled products and waste reduction, and students with
additional learning needs from Derby College also attended the
event. The event, held in the college canteen, enjoyed a
reasonable turn out of learners and staff, having been
advertised in college and on the local radio station.
Wallet-making workshop at Lets Talk Rubbish

20

Excerpt from Leicester College intranet section on sustainability

What is sustainability?
Sustainability is just making sure that what we do today doesnt stop us doing things tomorrow.
If you have 100 to last the month, youd try not to spend it all in the first few days, because
youd have none left for later.
It can be big issues, like rainforests. Using paper made from rainforest trees is unsustainable
because rainforest doesnt grow back. Using paper made from managed forests is more
sustainable, and using less paper is better still!
There are three main elements to sustainability. We consider the economy, because prosperity
is important. We also take into account social issues, trying to make sure that communities
work well and people are happy. We also take into account the environment, making sure that
we dont use it in a way that damages it for tomorrow.
By definition, sustainability is the best way forward. If we act as if tomorrow doesnt matter,
and we use all of our natural resources today, therell come a point where we dont have
enough. And that wont be pleasant.
Why should I get involved?
It wont happen without you. More and more people are becoming aware of the need to be
sustainable, and more and more is happening. But it needs you to help. You can take part in
student organisations, attend the staff sustainability forum, cycle to college instead of driving,
take the bus, turn off the lights when you leave a room, not use the lights in the first place
unless you really need them, turn off your computer when youre not using it
So get involved, find out what you can do to help and have a look around the rest of the site to
see what were doing about sustainability at Leicester College and how you can get involved!

21

Discussion
The College understood that an enthusiastic sustainability ambassador
working even one day each week could make a major impact on progress.
Much has been accomplished A number of initiatives have put sustainability
firmly on Wyggestons agenda
John Thawley, Vice Principal WQEI College, Leicester

Having a sustainability assistant enabled us to do a lot more than we would


have done in the time. He was committed, willing to learn and a huge asset
Roy Morgan-Wood, Sustainability Champion, Leicester College

Great, wonderful, fantastic really hope we can have an assistant next year
Robin Kyne, Assistant Principal, Regent College, Leicester

6.1

Findings

A number of findings have emerged from the project:


1. There is huge potential to include sustainability in curriculum through citizenship, extended projects and
foundation courses
2. Colleges see great benefit in European volunteer sustainability assistants but there is a need for a central
organisation to link volunteers to colleges and provide support
3. The learner survey demonstrates that many students are engaged with sustainability issues, willing to take
positive action for sustainability and want their college to work to embed sustainability and support students to
lead more sustainable lives
4. College management teams value a dedicated staff resource for sustainability, and such a staff resource can,
even if working just one day a week for two terms without English as a first language, make a big difference to
college action to review and promote sustainability
5. College managers see benefit in cross-college sustainability projects and are willing to share information with
and learn from peers in other colleges

6.2

Evaluation / lessons learned


The use of European volunteers provided colleges with valuable new perspectives, and provided some
excitement for staff and students, who were often eager to talk to the SCAs about their home countries, culture
and language, not just about sustainability. The volunteers lack of fluent English was a drawback, making
communication slower and more difficult. The volunteers lack of experience in the British education system
could be seen as an advantage as well as a disadvantage
Sustainability champions benefitted from the project, particularly by having an extra person to work with
enabling them to make more progress. The more time champions put into the management of the SCA the
better the results. Some problems were experienced with sustainability champions that expected SCAs to be
more independent than they were comfortable being, which led to reduced productivity. Throughout the project
the level of support each SCA has received has been of significance. It proved important to have a high profile
college contact on-board with the project for the SCA to be taken seriously in the college
It proved hard to engage with many students. While easy to reach the interested, enthusiastic students, reaching
unengaged students has proven to be very difficult. Lack of interest, high academic workloads and part-time
jobs were all anecdotal barriers. The use of enthusiastic students to outreach to unengaged students is an area
that warrants further investigation. The potential of Further Education providers to help create a sustainability
literate society is enormous, but currently this potential is not being harnessed effectively
It also often proved hard to engage with staff, principally due to a lack of interest, hectic work schedule or focus
on key curriculum deliverables. Staff often indicated that the rigidity of curriculum specifications meant it was

22

impossible to embed sustainability in courses. It is evident, however, that interested staff can and do make time
for sustainability and get a lot out of it; the challenge is to transfer that mindset to all staff. Staff with a
sustainability background found it easier to identify innovative ways to embed sustainability in curricula than
staff with the relevant academic background, although a certain knowledge of both curriculum content and
sustainability was necessary for both
The link between StudentForce, SCAs and colleges worked well, with good communication throughout the
project. It was important that this was the case, especially in a project relying on volunteer assistants.
Communication, as ever, was flagged as a key area of importance to the successful embedding of sustainability
in FE colleges
Links with Students Unions and Student Liaison Officers provided a rewarding two-way benefit: matching
student bodies, which had often prioritised sustainability issues, with activities, mini-projects and the senior
management decision-making
The receptiveness of sustainability champions to ideas for innovative ways to review and promote sustainability
resulted in a receptive climate for SCAs to develop their own ideas for mini-projects, with the support of college
and StudentForce staff. This ultimately resulted in a great diversity of mini-projects, reflecting the skills and
styles of the different SCAs
Sustainability proved an enabler of interdepartmental cooperation. Many of the mini-projects developed involved
the interaction of college staff that ordinarily would not interact. This was valued by the staff involved, and can
only be a positive thing for college staff communities. Throughout the project sustainability has been used as a
linking mechanism, fostering cross-department links between curriculum areas, between estates and marketing
and so on
Sustainability-related inter-college communication has been explored through the medium of SCAs, but the
physical interaction of students or staff (other than senior management) hasnt occurred through the project to
the scale initially hoped. This is in large part due to partner colleges placing higher priorities on more tangible
sustainability goals and seeing the SCAs as a valuable away to meet that end, particularly through weekly team
meetings when SCAs worked together on projects for all nine partner colleges. There are, however, significant
potential benefits to be gained from inter-college communication, particularly in peer support and the sharing of
good practice
Inter-sector communication has rarely been present, but it is hoped that where this could benefit the FE sector
this will increasingly occur as sustainability becomes more established in the FE sector and colleges, once they
have covered the basics, can look to other sectors particularly HE for further ideas
The response rate to the baseline survey and learner surveys was disappointing. More extensive promotion and
more tangible benefits to participation may result in a higher (and therefore, it is hope, more representative)
response rate should the surveys be repeated
Sustainability champions, and staff members actively trying to embed sustainability, remain a vocal minority.
Many staff empathise but feel they cant, or wont, take an active part in embedding sustainability
Work undertaken was varied by college, focusing on areas such as marketing, student engagement, curriculum
or policy. While significant steps forward were made in all colleges, were action in each of these areas to be
consolidated in all colleges, much more progress could be achieved
The success of this project hinged on the availability of money to support European volunteers from the EUs YiA
program. The availability of EU funds is limited and widespread use of Youth in Action volunteers for ESD would
detract from the diversity of volunteer opportunity the YiA fund endeavours to maintain. Part of StudentForces
plans for continuation of a similar service post-funding is to trial the use of British graduate volunteers, without
EU subsidy, which may prove effective. Should the use of British graduate volunteers be successful or a novel
solution be found, this is a robust approach that provides great benefit to colleges that are increasingly looking
to engage with the sustainability agenda but unable to resource a dedicated staff member
The mini-projects developed for this project can now form a bank of resources that can be tapped into by
StudentForce, colleges and other organisations, and built on in future years
Particular strengths of the project included being a catalyst for change in partner colleges, the enthusiasm of the
SCAs, networking and building links with partners and other StudentForce projects such as CommunityCheck
and Millennium Volunteers, and the added value of European volunteers in language and intercultural
understanding
Colleges saw benefit in the project, particularly as a way to galvanise student and staff engagement with
sustainability, as a dedicated and enthusiastic pair of hands, in the new perspectives an outsider brought and
in the individual skill-sets of the SCAs.

23

6.3

Next steps

Sector
As this pilot project comes to a close, it is hoped that the results outlined in this report give the LSC a clearer indication
of what action can best be taken by them to help embed sustainability across the FE sector, and give colleges some
ideas about potential approaches, activities or resources available to help them do embed sustainability. This project has
seen significant strides forward in action for sustainability and sustainability performance in selected colleges in the East
Midlands. It is of importance that the work these colleges have done, and the discoveries they colleges have made, are
available to sustainability champions and leaders in colleges beyond the East Midlands, that they may also benefit from
the experience. The LSC, colleges and other partners all have a role to play in ensuring good practice is communicated
across the sector, and drawn in from other sectors where applicable.
It is clear that enthusiasm exists in the FE sector to embed sustainability, but time, money and experience are limiting
factors. Additional efforts to address barriers or provide drivers for sustainability embedding are needed, but the nature
of these is by no means certain, nor the availability of resources to pay for them.
The increasing social and political awareness of sustainability, combined with positive results from the Sustainable
Schools program, is helping foster a generation of young, sustainability literate learners, and it is essential that those
learners progressing to FE are helped to develop their skills and knowledge as responsible and sustainability literate
citizens. We can not afford to let the FE colleges, often referred to as providing second chances for unengaged young
people, lag behind in this critical area.
A number of recommendations have been drawn up, addressed to a variety of organisations, that the Sustainable
College Assistants Project has evidenced are likely to help better embed sustainability in the sector. These form section
6.6.
StudentForce
StudentForce, as an education and sustainability charity, wishes to make all resources developed during this project
available to the whole sector, to best promote and embed sustainability. It also wishes to continue the project into a
second year with a similar approach. Some current partners colleges indicate that they can justify paying a set fee to use
the approach as a commercial service, with market research of other colleges indicating that sufficient numbers of
colleges would use the service to enable it to run with no grant funding for a second year. StudentForce are actively
pursuing a second year for the project based on college funding. A key priority for the second year will be to develop
projects relating to the Key Areas of From Here to Sustainability that werent covered in the first year, such as travel
planning, healthy colleges and community engagement, if these relate to college priorities.
While a college-funded approach means many colleges will be unable to engage in the service in 2008-09, it is hoped
that any college in the East Midlands and beyond will be able to benefit from the project by using the resources
developed through intensive work with eight partner colleges.
A key feature of the Sustainable College Assistants Projects was the commitment to make much of the work undertaken
for the project publicly accessible as off the shelf resources that other colleges may use and benefit from. This will be
continued into the second year and hopefully beyond, primarily using the website www.studentforce.org.uk/sca. The
availability of resources will be promoted nationally.
The Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges SORTED toolkit for sustainability in Further Education
features a range of case-studies of good practice for sustainability in the sector. StudentForce will link with EAUC to
contribute case studies from the Sustainable Colleges Assistants Project to the SORTED toolkit.
StudentForce is also working with the Centre for Excellence in Leadership to develop an LSC-funded virtual learning
platform environment (moodle) as a communication platform for sustainability champions, college senior managers in
the FE sector and strategic organisations. It is hoped that this will become a key resource in the advancement of
sustainability in FE and StudentForce will ensure that the results of this project, and of its continuation, are available on
or via the CEL resource.
Information about the second year of the project is available at www.studentforce.org.uk/sca.

24

6.4

Recommendations
Addressed to whom

Finding

Comment

StudentForce

Extend the Sustainable College


Assistants Project based on FE
college funding

Underway (see 6.4 Exit Strategy)

StudentForce and
LSC

Publish good practice from the


project and disseminate
nationally in electronic and print
form

Electronic dissemination through website and final


report underway by StudentForce but dissemination in
print form would require additional funding from the
LSC or other body

Regional LSCs

Other regions to investigate


potential for using this
approach, using the East
Midlands as evidence of
success

Strategic partners,
including LSC, EAUC,
CEL, AOC, Ofsted,
RCEs

Strategic partners liaise to


identify and clarify to colleges
ways of communicating
sustainability progress, policy
and activity between college
champions and senior
managers; work together to
develop cross-organisation
strategy

The recent development of a number of different


resources and tools by a number of different parties
(including LSC, CEL, AOC, EAUC and P&P) can prove
confusing to college champions and senior managers; a
joined-up, clearly-communicated cross-organisation
strategy would benefit the sector

Universities, LSC,
HEFCE

Research discrepancies in
drivers and barriers for
sustainability staffing between
HE and FE sectors

Many universities have an established environmental


management or sustainability staff team, whereas FE
colleges, with a few exceptions, have not created roles
with a significant sustainability remit. A better
understanding of the reasons for this discrepancy can
inform decision makers and colleges and enable them
to channel funding and influence to ensure the
embedding of sustainability in FE is maximised

Strategic partners,
including LSC, v,
Volunteering
England,
StudentForce, QIA

Strategic partners liaise to


identify and clarify to colleges
the benefit of student and staff
volunteering, the barriers and
how to overcome these; develop
a strategy to engender a climate
inductive to volunteering and
communicate this to colleges

Volunteering (for staff and students alike), and the


benefits of volunteering, are becoming more important
to FE colleges, but there remains confusion about the
benefits, practicalities and colleges find it difficult to
financially justify recruiting staff to oversee volunteering
opportunities

Develop a database of
curriculum resources for
sustainability, cataloguing the
vast array of curriculum
materials currently scattered
over the internet, provide case
studies of curriculum resource
integration, identify gaps in
provision and prompt action to
fill those gaps

A number of FE colleges indicate that their staff want to


include sustainability in the curriculum but arent able
to source materials or think of creative ways to engage
students with subject-related sustainability teaching.
There are also varying levels of awareness about
current and incoming curriculum specifications that
include sustainability

Replicate project approach in


the ACE sector

The project approach has worked well in the FE sector,


and individuals within the ACE sector have expressed
the belief that the approach could form the basis of a
trialled approach to support sustainability champions in
the LSC-funded ACE sector

NIACE, LSC

25

A sustainability learner survey


similar to the one undertaken
for this project be periodically
run regionally or nationally
across multiple colleges

While the results of the East Midlands learner survey


contain very interesting material, particularly relating to
learner engagement, this is a small snapshot of the
sector as a whole, with under 400 responses across
seven colleges. A biennial, regionally or nationally
coordinated survey across a wider number of colleges,
marketed to achieve a higher response rate, would
provide invaluable data on learner opinion that could
inform strategy regionally, nationally and in individual
colleges

10

Identify barriers to student


engagement with sustainability
and prompt solutions for
overcoming them

This project has demonstrated that while sustainability


outreach is easy to students interested in the topic,
enthusiastic or engaged, but it is difficult to engage with
large numbers of learners. While this continues, a key
section of society and large parts of a future generation
of consumers, employers and decision makers may lack
sustainability literacy

Pilot peer-education schemes

The project has demonstrated that teaching staff and


sustainability champions often find it hard to enthuse
unengaged students that arent of a particular mindset.

11

People and Planet,


Colleges

26

Appendix I: StudentForce baseline survey recommendations


Upon receiving the baseline survey report for FE colleges in the East Midlands (see section 2), StudentForce consulted a
number of parties and drew up sixteen follow-on recommendations, presented here. The consultations undertaken,
particularly regarding current action by the LSC and developments since the baseline survey data was taken, gave
StudentForce a good perspective to recommend certain actions that would, in our opinion, further advance the
integration of education for sustainable development within the FE sector. These recommendations build on the
recommendations included in the East Midlands Baseline Survey report, but fall outside the remit of the baseline survey
contractors.
To whom

Recommendation
Direct evidence from responses

Further
Education
colleges

Work independently or with existing organisations (such as Sustainable Procurement


Information Network, Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation, Learning and Skills
Council (LSC)) to develop actions to support sustainable procurement throughout the
East Midlands FE sector, for instance through a local and regional directory of suppliers
with sustainability credentials, use of networks to coordinate and educate on
sustainable procurement or the creation of a web resource to facilitate this

Colleges

Work with existing networks (such as RCEEM Further Education working group,
Sustainable College Assistants Project, AOC, EMFEC, CULN) to disseminate sustainable
development good practice and learn from others

Colleges,
LSC

Colleges: work to include sustainable development in self-assessment reporting; LSC:


support, encourage and provide guidance to colleges that wish to include sustainable
development in self-assessment reporting

LSC

Clarify and communicate regarding the perceived conflict between procuring for best
value and procuring sustainably; provide advice and support where possible

LSC, NUS,
Volunteering
England (VE)

Work where possible with Ofsted, professional bodies and curriculum / awarding
bodies to embed sustainable development into reporting frameworks and curricula,
and communicate progress to colleges
Continued over

27

Indirect evidence from responses


6

Colleges

Work through existing networks (such as RCEEM FE working group, East Midlands Education and
Skills Partnership, Association of Colleges (AOC), East Midlands Further Education Council
(EMFEC), CULN) to coordinate response to local and regional strategies such as Regional
Economic Strategies, Regional Spatial Strategies

Colleges

Use and contribute to the EAUC resource bank and LSC / EAUC online sustainable development
toolkit and the guidance therein

LSC

Promote to colleges the LSC / EAUC online sustainable development toolkit and the guidance
therein

LSC

Communicate to colleges current LSC activity to support sustainable development in Further


Education on an ongoing basis, particularly regarding sustainable development inclusion in the
Framework for Excellence, apparently conflicting policies relating to sustainable building,
apparently conflicting policies relating to sustainable procurement, progress towards meeting
2007 milestones, progress towards meeting 2010 milestones, progress towards embedding
sustainable development in LSC operations

10

RCEEM FE
working group

Identify within East Midlands colleges staff with formal responsibility for sustainable development
and staff with informal interest in sustainable development, where these exist, and tailor the role
of the FE working group to support and be most useful for these staff

11

RCEEM

Use this baseline survey approach to support the measurement of a sustainable development
baseline in other sectors, use on an ongoing basis for monitoring and evaluation; use the
baseline survey to develop indicators for education for sustainable development in FE

12

Regional
training
providers

Work with colleges and specifically college sustainable development staff to establish staff
training demand and develop initiatives to deliver relevant staff training and support, focussing
on the business case for sustainability-literate staff especially with regard to evolving regulations,
curriculum content and skills demand

13

East Midlands
universities,
LSC, RCE, ESP,
StudentForce
for
Sustainability

Undertake action research to investigate which types of college already use sustainable
development features of their campus to support teaching and learning and further investigate
areas in Further Education curricula in the East Midlands where this may be done, focussing on
existing good practice, existing drivers and potential drivers for further practice

14

LSC, v, VE,
StudentForce
for
Sustainability

Work with colleges to develop student volunteering opportunities across the East Midlands,
promote benefit of student volunteering and existing good practice to colleges; research barriers
and drivers for more widespread promotion of student volunteering in colleges, develop student
volunteering strategy

15

Quality
Improvement
Agency

Research link between FE sustainable development inclusion, quality of education and


enrichment

16

East Midlands
universities,
LSC, HEFCE

Undertake research to establish differences in approach to sustainability inclusion between the


schools, FE and HE sectors, identifying barriers and drivers to sustainability inclusion, areas of
good practice and recommendations for the future

28

Appendix II: List of partner colleges


Brooksby Melton
College

Brooksby Melton is a land-based


college based over two sites the
Melton campus in the market town
of Melton Mowbray and the
Brooksby campus at a rural site
between Melton and Leicester.

www.brooksbymelton.ac.uk

Castle College

Castle College, Nottingham was


formed in 2006, when Broxtowe
College and The Peoples College
Nottingham merged. The college is
split over four main sites

www.castlecollege.ac.uk

Derby College

Derby College was formed after the


recent merger of three colleges in
Derby. One of the biggest further
education colleges in England, the
college has been heavily involved in
sustainable development activities
for a number of years.

www.derby-college.ac.uk

Leicester College

Leicester College has been heavily


involved in sustainable
development issues for a few years,
and even has its own sustainability
officer, Roy Morgan-Wood, one day
a week.

www.leicestercollege.ac.uk

Regent College

Regent College is a sixth form


college undergoing rapid change.
From being considered a failing
college five years ago, the college
is turning around and is now
achieving good results while
actively integrating global
citizenship awareness into curricula
and college life.

www.regents.ac.uk

Rutland College

Rutland College is part of the larger


Tresham Institute of Further and
Higher Education, with a relatively
small number of students mainly
studying A-levels, GCSEs and
BTECs..

www.tresham.ac.uk/rutlandc
ollege

South Nottingham
College

South Nottingham College,


Nottingham is pioneering
sustainable development curricula,
including courses in sustainable
energy and sustainable
development.

www.snc.ac.uk

Stephenson
College

Stephenson College, Coalville is a


Centre for Vocational Expertise in
both construction and automotive
engineering. The college has
recently moved into a landmark
new building a mile outside of
Coalville, and also has three
smaller city centre campuses in

www.stephensoncoll.ac.uk

29

Nottingham, Leicester and Derby.

Wyggeston Queen
Elisabeth I College

Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I


College is a large sixth form college
in Leicester with a record of strong
academic achievement and a
notably active Students Union.

www.wqeic.ac.uk

30

Appendix III: South Nottingham College Sustainability Policy

SUSTAINABILITY POLICY
Introduction
South Nottingham College is committed to embedding the principles of sustainability, through the medium of sustainable
development, across the whole scope of its activities, wherever possible. South Nottingham College aims to be a leading
sustainable Further Education College; contributing to the support of a fair, egalitarian society, minimising the impact of
its activities and promoting greater understanding of the subject through its curricula.
Definition & Ambition
The College endorses the spirit of the Brundtland and Caring for the Earth definitions of sustainable development:
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their
own needs and Improving the quality of life while living within the Earths carrying capacities.
What this means to us is that we will operate our professional and educational activities and the management of the
College in a way that enables all people to realise their potential and improve their quality of life while protecting and
enhancing the Earths natural capital. This aspiration is operationalised for our purposes by our sustainability objectives,
goals, targets and indicators within the following areas:
1. Social: social progress that recognises and accommodates the needs of everyone
2. Economic: maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment
3. Environmental: effective protection of the environment and prudent use of natural resources
Responsibility
The Senior Management Team (SMT) at the college have overall responsibility for ensuring the development of the
colleges Sustainability Policy and monitoring and reporting upon progress towards targets within the action plan.
Responsibility is shared by the entire College population, at every level and across all venues, schools and curriculum
areas.
All staff and learners should be encouraged to recognise their potential contribution to the achievement of the Colleges
Sustainability Objectives & Goals.
Overarching Goals
South Nottingham College aims to
1. Follow the Learning and Skills Councils (LSC) strategy for sustainable development
2. Minimise the impact of its activities upon the environment
3. Raise awareness of sustainability
4. Include sustainability issues in its teaching and learning and maximise the quality of sustainability education
5. Maximise engagement from staff, students and the local community in sustainability

Objectives
The College has followed the Learning & Skills Councils recommendations in breaking down its activities into effective
elements suitable for the comprehensive embedding of education for sustainable development (ESD). This classification
falls into three areas: Buildings and Estate, Curriculum and Community. A further area of Corporate Action has also been
included in this policy.
1. Buildings and Estate
1.1 Environmental Management System (EMS): To regularly audit the consumption and management of energy,
water and waste with a view to implementing and regularly reviewing an effective EMS, including requirements
for resource use minimisation, reuse of waste materials where possible, an effective and comprehensive crosscampus recycling scheme and maximising energy efficiency. The College will ring fence any quantifiable savings
made by reductions in resource use (including energy use) and use these monies to offset costs generated by
sustainable procurement and finance further sustainability gains, particularly those with significant
environmental or social gains that the College could not otherwise financially justify.

31

1.2 Building and Design: Promote and deliver good sustainable practice in all design, new build and refurbishment
activities. Use new sustainable technologies and design features, where possible and practical as they become
financially viable.
1.3 Procurement: Ensure that all procurement practices reflect social and environmental as well as economic
objectives wherever possible, within the constraints of overall financial constraints. Give preference, as far as is
practical, to local suppliers.
1.4 Biodiversity: Implement a locally appropriate biodiversity programme that best manages the site with a view to
increasing biodiversity where possible.
1.5 Travel: Implement, monitor and regularly review a travel plan that tackles the issues of providing access for all
while minimising the environmental impact of travel.
2. Curriculum
2.1 Education for Sustainable Development: Maximise acceptance and delivery of ESD within learning programmes
to engage all students with sustainability concepts and issues through formal and informal learning. Identify and
promote initiatives for inclusion of sustainability principles within curriculum development recognising the
interdisciplinary nature of sustainability.
2.2 Learning Materials: Develop appropriate sustainability programmes and modules.
2.3 Whole-Institution Approach: Implement a whole-institution approach to sustainability, taking account of both
institution-based provision and virtual learning environments.
2.4 Links and Partnerships: Develop links that champion sustainability between providers and businesses and
between pre-16 and post-16 education providers (including higher education), also considering European and
International partnerships.
2.5 Healthy Students and Staff: Develop, implement and maintain a healthy college program that will ensure the
health and welfare of staff and students, particularly relating to physical health, healthy lifestyles and a healthy
work-life balance.
3. Community
3.1 Community Engagement: Ensure good communications exist with the local community at all levels, including
employers, and that this leads to greater community and employer involvement in sustainability actions and
developments.
3.2 Local and Regional Networks: Maintain and develop appropriate local and regional partnerships between
colleges, learning providers, local authorities, Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), higher education and
other key stakeholders.
3.3 Local Markets and Ethical Trade: Support, where possible, local markets, ethical trade, Fairtrade and socially
responsible initiatives within the community.
3.4 Share Facilities: Where possible share facilities with local community agencies and groups to make the best use
of local resources.
3.5 Local Economic Strategies: Be aware of, support and connect to, the economic strategies drawn up and
developed by local authorities and RDAs.
3.6 Volunteering: Encourage learners and providers to undertake volunteering activities as part of a community
commitment to sustainability.
4. Corporate Action
4.1 Embed Sustainability into Policies and Procedures: The College will, where and when appropriate, amend its
policies and procedures to incorporate the actions contained within this policy.
4.2 Corporate Image: The College will, where possible, maximise the publicity opportunities made possible by the
Colleges commitment to sustainability and, in so-doing, endeavour to positively influence the regard held of the
College by the local community, its stakeholders, suppliers, contractors, visitors, funders and independent
bodies and people.
4.3 Influence over Third Parties: The College will, where possible, use its power to encourage suppliers, partners and
contractors to demonstrate and where possible increase their sustainability performance, including where
possible the mandate that suppliers, partners and contractors must have a strong sustainability policy or
equivalent.
4.4 Sourcing Funding for Sustainability Gains: The College will, where possible and where staff resources permit and
where opportunities arise, source funding for discrete projects to quantifiably raise the sustainability
performance of the College.
4.5 Implementation of the Policy: The College will regularly review the business case for a specific staff resource to
manage the sustainability performance of the College, and insofar as is possible mobilise finances to
accommodate such a staff resource.

32

Measuring Progress & Monitoring Performance


The aims, overarching goals and objectives set out within the Colleges Sustainability Policy will be monitored and
reported on annually through the use of a Sustainability Action Plan. This action plan will:

Set indicators to monitor progress.


Where available use industry recognised benchmarks to measure performance.
Specify time-bound actions required to achieve the overarching goals of the Policy.
Identify, where appropriate staff responsible for monitoring progress towards objectives.
Carry out a biennial review of the Sustainability Policy.
Conduct an annual review of the Sustainability Action Plan.

For ease of reference, the action plan is categorised in a similar manner to this policy.

33

Appendix IV: Sample memorandum of understanding between


StudentForce and a college
Agreement between Regent College (the college), StudentForce for Sustainability and Vincent Onclinx (the volunteer)
whereby the volunteer will work in Regent College to review and develop sustainable development and education
sustainable development in line with the Learning and Skills Councils sustainable development strategy and
StudentForce for Sustainabilitys sustainable colleges project. This agreement is flexible but may not be altered
significantly without agreement of all three parties.
The volunteer will work one day a week (Thursdays) from date September 2007 to date February 2008. Hours worked
shall be from 09:00 to 17:00 or as amended by volunteer and the college. Three of these days may be taken as holiday
at the volunteers discretion with two weeks notice to the college.
The volunteer will work at the working venue where a desk, telephone and computer will be available for his/her use. The
college will equip the volunteer with a college IT user account with email address and access to the internet and college
intranet.
The volunteer will be line-managed jointly by Simon Winch (for StudentForce for Sustainability) and Robin Kyne (for
Regent College). For monitoring and support purposes, a desk and telephone will be available for Simon Winch in the
location one day per month while the volunteer is working. A six-weekly progress review meeting will take place between
the volunteer, Robin Kyne and Simon Winch. The college will be responsible for the health and safety of the volunteer
while on placement.
The volunteer will attend Regent College sustainability forum meetings wherever reasonably practicable.
The volunteer will work on the following projects:
1. Investigate and potentially develop college links with third world equivalent(s), with strong global citizenship and
climate change theme
2. Create People and Planet group (student sustainability and global citizenship society)
3. Run student volunteer-led Community Check of college buildings
4. Run a survey investigating learner attitudes to sustainable lifestyles and a sustainable college
5. Promote European volunteering to students
To meet the following outputs:
1. Shortlist of potential partner colleges drawn up for selection of one for further development work post-project
2. People and Planet group created and self-sufficient
3. Volunteer-led environmental audit of at least one building undertaken, with report of findings, recommendations
for environmental gains and follow-up support; survey repeated after six months to monitor improvement in
environmental performance
4. Initial report of survey results with suggestions for future actions based on findings; analysis of attitude change
between first run and second run
5. European promotional material displayed at college events and/or information stall in prominent place on
campus and/or visual publicity displayed in college; opportunities to deliver talks or workshops promoting
European volunteering investigated and used where possible
In addition, one hour of the volunteers working day shall be allocated to supporting the college in any sustainable
development tasks that do not fall into the volunteers agreed remit.

34

Robin Kyne for Regent College will have as responsibilities:

Line management of volunteer (jointly with StudentForce for Sustainability)

Regular and reliable availability for contact by volunteer

Working with and helping volunteer for duration of placement

Understanding cultural differences and language barriers

Providing statement of colleges support for the sustainable colleges project

Covering any volunteer travel expenses incurred during volunteers work for the college, not including transport
between the college and the volunteers home

Working in accordance to this agreement

Simon Winch for StudentForce for Sustainability will have as responsibilities:

Line management of volunteer (jointly with Robin Kine)

Regular and reliable availability for contact by volunteer

Working with the college for duration of placement

Understanding cultural differences and language barriers

Covering volunteers travel expenses to and from the college site

Supporting and monitoring volunteers work both remotely and in the college

Respecting and where possible working towards college aims

Working in accordance to this agreement

The volunteer will be responsible for:

Respecting and where possible working towards college aims

Working with the college for duration of placement

Respecting colleges rules as applicable to temporary staff

Treating college information with confidentiality unless agreed otherwise

Observing StudentForce for Sustainabilitys lone working policy

Working in accordance to this agreement

Vincent Onclinx

Robin Kyne

Simon Winch

_______________________

_______________________

_______________________

35

Appendix V: Summary of learner survey findings

Most respondents wanted to have more healthy diets, with less sugar, salt and fat and more fruit and
vegetables
Most respondents wanted to cycle and walk more. Opinion was split over car, train and bus use, the most
common response being no change followed by use less
Respondents generally demonstrated an awareness of and commitment to do more as ethical consumers, by
buying environmentally friendly products, reusing and recycling more
A significant number of respondents wanted a greater say in the way their college buildings were managed,
particularly regarding the way the buildings are heated and the way they are arranged and designed
A majority of respondents wanted more sheltered and quiet areas, more protected areas for wildlife, more
parking areas for cars and more flowerbeds in their college grounds. Opinion was split equally between
respondents wanting more, fewer and no change in the number of smoking shelters

As many respondents disagreed as agreed with the following statements:


a. the college listens to everyones views
b. everyones able to be involved in decision making in the college
c. I feel represented by student bodies such as the Students Union or Student Council
d. my college is good at teaching me about saving energy
e. my college cares for the environment
f. my college supports me to eat healthy food
g. my college encourages me to use public transport
h. my college encourages me to recycle
i. my college gives me the chance to make decisions about how the college can become more
sustainable
j. my college is good at saving energy
k. my college is good at managing the grounds for both students and wildlife
l. my college is good at helping me think about my impact on people from other countries
More respondents agreed than disagreed with the following statements:
a. things change as a result of students views and involvement
b. I can help stop climate change
c. I can help stop the loss of wildlife and habitats
d. I can help stop the production of excessive consumer waste
e. I can help reduce disadvantage and poverty in communities
f. Id like my college to help protect the environment and educate me about it
g. my college would support me if I wanted to volunteer in the local community
h. my college is good at welcoming everyones views and involvement
More respondents disagreed than agreed with the following statements:
a. theres very little someone like me can do to protect the environment
b. increasing our countrys wealth is more important than protecting our countrys environment
c. what I do in this country has little effect on the quality of life for people in other countries
d. the developing world should deal with its problems and not look to the rest of the world for help

36

Appendix VI: Challenges encountered setting up People and


Planet groups in FE colleges
Senior managers in many of the Sustainable College Assistants Project partner colleges were conscious that
sustainability was currently mainly addressed in a top-down manner, with committed senior managers driving the
agenda, often to an ambivalent student and staff audience. A key role SCAs played in colleges was to help galvanise the
student body, encouraging and facilitating student action for sustainability. The delivery of this was primarily through the
creation of student organisations, normally loosely affiliated with the Students Union or equivalent. StudentForce worked
closely with student campaign organisation People and Planet to lead on their delivery in the region and, indeed, played
a major part in People and Planets continuing efforts to engage more closely with the FE sector across the country.
People and Planet has a network of autonomous student groups based in colleges and universities around the UK which
it supports from a central office by providing campaign resources, support, networks and a figurehead for political
pressure. People and Planet is traditionally strong in universities and also in sixth forms. The organisation has had little
presence in FE colleges, due in part to the particular challenges they present, which were also discovered through
StudentForces People and Planet delivery.
Six key challenges were identified. Firstly, while in universities and in some sixth forms there is a culture of students
joining clubs and societies for extracurricular activities, this is much less apparent in FE colleges. Secondly, timetabling
and student work commitments often mean that meetings of student groups can only be held for half an hour at lunch
times and sometimes, particularly where the college staggers lunch times, even this isnt possible. Thirdly, whereas at
universities most students are residential, forging a university culture by which students not only study but socialise and
recreate in a university setting, FE college students are home-based, generally leaving the college premises whenever
their classes finish. Fourthly, it is arguable that the practical or vocational nature of many of FE college programs attracts
students less inclined to take part in organised student activities or less interested in sustainability issues than typical
university or sixth form students. Fifthly, the rapid turnover of students in FE colleges, together with a large proportion of
part-time students, is not conducive to sustaining a student-led organisation. Sixthly, FE college students have many
pressures on their time, including college work, commitments at home and often part-time jobs. While this is also the
case for students at sixth forms and universities (although residential students at university are less likely to have as
demanding commitments at home), this creates a further barrier to the creation of a successful People and Planet group.
A method employed at one college in an effort to support People and Planet group members and ensure continuity
between years was to appoint an enthusiastic staff member as a mentor of sorts to the group. Anecdotal evidence
indicates that this may be a double-edged sword potentially ensuring a better chance of group survival and
functionality, but also either becoming dominated by the staff member or becoming one-issue orientated according to
the interests of the staff member. Time will tell whether this approach has worked, and it is pleasing to see that People
and Planet has secured funding to attempt outreach into the FE sector and undertake further action research to
determine how student engagement and action for sustainability can be prompted and supported.

37

Appendix VII: Acronyms used


AOC
CEL
CULN
DEFRA
EAUC
EMFEC
ESD
EVS
FE
HE
HEFCE
LSC
LSN
NIACE
NUS
P&P
QCA
RCE
RCEEM
RDA
SCA
WQEIC
YiA

Association of Colleges
Centre for Excellence in Leadership
Colleges-University of Leicester Network
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Environmental Association for Universities and
Colleges
East Midlands Further Education Council
Education for Sustainable Development
European Voluntary Service
Further Education
Higher Education
Higher Education Funding Council for England
Learning and Skills Council
Learning and Skills Network
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education
National Union of Students
People and Planet
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority
Regional Centre of Expertise
Regional Centre of Expertise East Midlands
Regional Development Agency
Sustainable College Assistant
Wyggeston Queen Elisabeth I College
Youth in Action

38

The Sustainable College Assistants Project


was managed by
StudentForce for Sustainability
in association with
The Learning and Skills Council
and
RCE East Midlands

StudentForce for Sustainability


Oakham Railway Station, Station Approach, Oakham LE15 6QT
01572 723 419
www.studentforce.org.uk
Company number 5128833 Charity number 1104230
39