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Primary schools across Bath and North East Somerset are being invited to get involved in a new B&NES Energy Saving Teams (BEST) competition. The competition, which encourages teachers and pupils to save energy through simple, everyday changes in behavior, is being run by Bath & North East Somerset Council working with environmental consultancy Resource Futures.

BEST is part of the Council’s Schools Carbon Reduction Programme, which supports schools to cut carbon and energy costs whilst teaching pupils key skills for the future.

What is the Competition?

The BEST Competition challenges primary schools across B&NES to run a high-profile energy-saving campaign, focusing on inspiring pupils and teachers working together to change their everyday habits.

When is it happening?

Most schools will run their whole-school campaign for two consecutive weeks between 23rd February and 13th March 2015.

How does it work?

1. Energy workshop: an optional half-day workshop in January 23rd explains how to access your school’s online energy data and explores ways to run a pupil-led energy-saving campaign.

2. Pre-campaign planning:  choose a team of pupils to lead the campaign. This could be your Eco Committee or School Council, or you could put together a special BEST team. With your chosen team, use the BEST resource pack to plan your campaign.  Involve the pupils in detective work at different times of the school day to spot potential savings.

3. Baseline monitoring:  B&NES will use automatic meter readings to work how much electricity your school ‘normally’ uses during the day, overnight and over the weekend. We will email this information to you during the week beginning 9th February, so you have the figures to share with the rest of the school at the start of your campaign. Set a specific target to reduce your weekly usage – a 10% reduction is often achievable.

It is important that teachers and pupils do NOT change their behaviour during the baseline period, so do not spread the word about the BEST competition until term 4.

4. Whole school campaign: launch your campaign, sharing your energy-reduction target with the whole school as well as the results of pupils’ detective work.  Get creative by making posters, writing stories, composing raps or using your animation skills to spread the message. Involve as many children and teachers as possible, making plenty of links to the curriculum. Keep photographs and examples of your work to submit for the competition. We are not simply interested in how much energy you save; the competition judges are also looking for really impressive campaigns that involve the whole school community.

5. Competition submission: after the end of your intensive 2-week campaign, gather your evidence and fill in a simple competition entry form.  All entries must be submitted by 20th March so we can let winners know by the end of term!

6. Celebrating success: whether or not you have won a prize,  it’s important to share the successes of your campaign with the whole school. This could be the amount of money or energy you’ve saved, or the reduction in rooms with lights and whiteboards left on when they are unnocupied. You might even decide to name members of staff who have made a particular effort to change their habits. At the end of the campaign period B&NES will analyse your energy usage data, comparing it with the baseline period. We’ll let you know your results by 20th March, so be sure to book an assembly slot in the last week of term 4 to share them with the rest of the school.

What are the competition categories?

The competition has three categories, designed so that all schools have a chance to win, irrespective of the type of their building or how much energy they have already saved.

  1. Lowest per pupil electricity use over your campaign period
  2. Largest percentage reduction in electricity use during the campaign
  3. Most impressive whole-school campaign

How will the results be judged?

B&NES will use data from your school’s electricity automatic meter reader (AMR) to crunch the numbers and judge the results for categories 1 and 2.  If you do not have AMR then you will need to manually read your meters at the beginning and end of your campaign and submit these readings with your campaign evidence.

Category 3 will be judged by a small panel, which will include a qualified teacher with experience of school environmental campaigns.  They will be looking for:

  • evidence of involving the whole school community

  • examples of creative ways to motivate adults and pupils to save energy

  • links made to your curriculum work

 If you are running your campaign before February you can enter all the categories using the same application form as schools who run their campaign during the BEST campaign period. If you do not have AMR on your electricity meters then you will need to take manual meter readings during your campaign and baseline periods in order to enter the first two categories.

What are the prizes?

For categories 1 and 2 winners will recieve a package of fantastic sustainable education toys and resources. For category 3 winners can chose between a visit to @bristol or Folly Farm.

ALL schools that complete a campaign will receive a BEST certificate as recognition of their participation in the competition.

What further support is availiable?

B&NES is working in partnership with Resource Futures to provide schools with FREE support to help them to plan and run their campaign. Register quickly to receive a half-day visit, customised to the needs of your school. Options include:

  • A meeting with staff to plan your BEST campaign, including how to use it as a project towards your Eco-Schools Silver or Green Flag award
  • An action-planning session with your pupil campaign team
  • Energy detective work with pupils to establish areas of potential saving
  • An assembly to launch your campaign

 If you have any questions about the competition please do not hesitate to contact sustainability@bathnes.gov.uk

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