Sustainability in Practice

Created on: 09 Jan 2020 | Last modified: 20 Jul 2022

Catherine McCabe invited the EIS to visit St. Peter's Primary in Edinburgh, following her participation in an EIS Learning for Sustainability course delivered by the One World Centre, funded by the Scottish Union Learning Fund.

If we had arrived on a normal day, and not when parents were expectedly waiting in the foyer for the Christmas assembly that was about to start, we would have seen the 'welcome' at the front door that sets the inclusive tone of the school.  A small plaque saying welcome and ‘karibu’ - the Tanzanian word for welcome sits underneath a world map, with lots of threads between different points.

The plaque Catherine brought back from a trip to their twin school in Tanzania, the map illustrates the rich cultural diversity and journeys of pupils and their families.

Catherine has led in setting up pupil voice groups around the themes of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals, where every child is involved in a group, every group is led by a teacher with an interest in that area, and groups are supported by parents and community members.

Catherine also gave us the opportunity to wander round the school, as each group was taking place, and it was inspiring to see the variety of topics and formats – truly inclusive learning in practice.

Some of the activities included producing posters around 'Seven tips for an eco-friendly Christmas', wrapping up library books for a 'lucky dip' and learning about citizenship by considering how pupils want the community to see them.

So, what has made the pupil voice groups a success in Catherine's opinion?

  • The groups are part of the class time, where they had previously been held during lunchtimes.
  • Pupils get to self-select groups, which means they are participating in subjects that interest them, as well as mixing with pupils and staff from across the school.
  • Dedicated time for Catherine to oversee the groups, and deal with any issues as early as possible. Dedicating time to this topic has also allowed Catherine to attend professional learning activity such as the EIS Learning For Sustainability course.