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Research recommends inspections and 3-year action plans

New research has revealed that the majority of London colleges have put into place “green practices” but must do more to build sustainability into courses.

A new report launched by the Learning and Skills Network (LSN) asked colleges in London in how they were meeting the challenges set out in the Learing and Skills Council’s Strategy for Sustainable Development.

While the majority were interested in, and did action, green practices, not all recognised when it was being done or thought creatively about sustainability because of other demands.

21 out of 49 sixth form and FE colleges across London took part in the survey, entitled Sustainable Development in London’s Further Education and Sixth Form Colleges.

Many colleges were involved in sustainable development schemes such as energy saving software, recycling schemes for IT equipment, projects to reduce waste in heating and lighting, green travel schemes and the recycling of packaging and paper.

The survey suggested that colleges needed to think strategically about sustainability, from how they ran their buildings to classroom teaching. It also suggested college inspections and three-year development plans to encourage consistent action.

John Stone, Chief Executive of LSN, said: “In light of the Stern report, there has never been a more important time for colleges to do their part, both as organisations and within the curriculum. Giving credit to colleges at inspection for their green practices would keep sustainability at the top of their agenda”.

The report, which was funded by the London Sustainability Exchange (LSx), also found that 60% of colleges were already teaching sustainable development skills in courses such as electrical engineering, hospitality and recreation and tourism.

Samantha Heath, Director of LSx, said: “Recognising and rewarding green behaviour in colleges through Ofsted inspections is crucial to making it work “on the ground”. Green decision-making at the heart of college life will start to tackle problems like climate change as well as benefiting staff, students and the wider community”.

The report calls on the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) to participate more in building sustainability into courses.

Annabel Hardy.

Next week only on FE News: We ask FE leaders how they would spend the Learning and Skills Councils £11 billion budget

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