The Schools Network connects primary schools across the UK through environmental activities and fun educational resources that engage children with the environment, their communities, and one another. We provide schools with support and resources as well as a network of other schools to connect with.
The Schools Network is comprised of the below elements:
A core element of the network is the activities that schools across the UK can complete in order to share creative ideas and knowledge as well as to collect environmental data that drives young peoples’ interest, awareness, and learning. These activities are completely free to use, along with access to the network. For example, some of our linking activities include: -- BioBlitz -- Track the wildlife on your school grounds, and share this data with the network to create a map of biodiversity across the UK! This is a great tool for young people to learn about biodiversity in a fun and hands-on way. It also allows the opportunity for you to track and showcase how you are working to increase biodiversity on your school grounds with the support and resources from One Planet Matters. -- Build a bug hotel -- There are many different ways to support the wildlife you have on your school site while encouraging learning and engagement in your learners. Making a bug hotel is a great way to do both of these things - and we love these kinds of activities where there are so many creative ways of completing the activity. This challenge invites schools to take part in creating a bug hotel and to show all of the possible ways of making your school site more wildlife-friendly! You can then do periodic BioBlitzes to track and share how your bug hotel is progressing! -- Create a wildflower patch -- This is another great activity to do alongside the BioBlitz, and is a great way to not only make your site more wildlife-rich and beautiful, but also to teach your learners about the importance of biodiversity and how a variety of plants supports a variety of insects and birds, and vice versa! -- Soil testing -- Through this activity, we aim to work with schools to create a database of information about the types of soil found across the UK. This information will not only help inform the kinds of plants that grow well in each area, but also allow children to gain a perspective of the importance of healthy soil for life on Earth. -- Vertical growing -- Use our vertical growing info sheet to get creative, reuse materials, and get growing even if you don’t have any greenspace! By sharing your vertical growing areas with other schools, you can encourage and inspire others to utilise the space they have innovatively, and you can get more ideas for your next growing project!
When you join our schools network you will receive our Schools Growing challenge tracker! This unique program for UK primary schools goes beyond merely promoting green practices; it aligns with curriculum needs, enhances school sites, and presents an impressive showcase to Ofsted. Our aim is to empower schools to become Biodiversity & Growing Champions, fostering a genuine connection with nature and inspiring future generations to care for our planet. With a comprehensive package that includes resources, training, and recognition, we are excited to embark on this transformative journey together, hand in hand with dedicated teachers and enthusiastic students. Our new scheme comes equipped with fun visuals to help excite and engage students, also providing shareable opportunities to celebrate each success with parents and the local community through social media. We felt that with more visuals like badges, certificates, and awards, there is more positive reinforcement for students' efforts. When they see their accomplishments displayed in a visually appealing manner, it boosts their confidence and motivates them to take on more challenges. How it works: - The Awards Scheme is comprised of 2 Awards. Biodiversity Champions Award, and Growing Champions Award. - You can choose to do the awards side by side in a time frame that suits your curriculum. We recommend aiming for 4-6 challenges per year. - Each award contains 8 challenges, which you'll be provided instructions, worksheets and other resources depending on the challenge. - You can track your schools progress with the challenge trackers which we recommend printing and creating a display board for students and school visitors to admire. - Upon completing each challenge you'll be sent a badge of completion. The 8 challenges are split into 3 sections, bronze, silver and gold - which you'll receive certificates for along the way. - When you've completed all 8 challenges you'll receive a certificate of achievement, a digital badge of recognition to display on your website, and a prize for completion.
We can work with you to create a growing area where you can grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs. We can provide some funding towards a growing project, and can work with you to fundraise if you would like a larger growing space. Having a school growing space opens up so many learning opportunities for young people, especially those with limited access to gardens and greenspace. Our activities work to link up food growing with meeting curriculum needs, so that you don’t have to compromise teaching time to grow food and connect with the nature around you! With your growing space, you are invited to also join our Growing Community Network, which is a community of growing spaces across the UK where information and ideas as well as food and seeds are shared! We also support the Growing Community Network with links to local food banks so that your learners learn the importance of sharing with others and supporting vulnerable people in your community. Check out our Growing Community Network map to see other growing locations involved!
We can also work with you to plant a mini orchard of native broadleaf fruit trees at your location. These trees not only offer free food for years to come, they also encourage and support biodiversity, offer a shaded area in summer, and present the opportunity for children to learn about food, life cycles, and wildlife! Along with growing spaces, orchards also make up our Growing Community Network, so you would be invited to join our network of shared ideas, support, and food.
We offer support and guidance to all of the schools in the School Linking Network. We often find that the main barrier that schools face towards setting up and maintaining a space for growing food or for enhancing biodiversity is that they feel overwhelmed or inexperienced. We want to show you that it doesn’t have to be hard, and you definitely don’t have to be experienced! With ongoing support and guidance, you can create something wonderful for your learners to use and learn from.
As well as providing ongoing support from our knoweldgable team, we also offer every member of the Schools Network a monthly call with our horticultural expert. These 1-on-1 conversations are there to support you, so that you can receive the expertise you need to create a thriving growing area where your students can gain the best learning opportunities possible.
We also offer workshops based on our schools activities, and related to food growing and supporting biodiversity. Our workshops are for the benefit of both educators and learners. We will help equip your educators with the tools and understanding they need to confidently engage learners with outdoor or environmentally-focused activities that also meet curriculum needs. At the same time, your pupils have the opportunity to participate in proactive, fun, and creative learning activities that support holistic social and environmental understanding.
What we ask of you:
We do not charge you to join the Schools Network, but we do ask that you organise a
non-uniform day once a year, and that you donate the money you raise to One Planet Matters. These donations will go back into supporting the Schools Network.
Join the Schools Network
If you would like to get involved or discuss how we can support you through our
Schools Network, we would love to hear from you.