Oakwood School's sustainability

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Sustainability at Oakwood

"We are seeing such rapid changes in the natural environment and across society and I have a strong sense of responsibility to ensure we are all well equipped with the understanding and social awareness to take action, ensure Oakwood creates a lasting positive impact and grows our future together."
Clare Bradbury, Headteacher

Growing our future together

Being ambitious and forward-thinking is central to our ethos at Oakwood. It is our priority to build the resilience of the school and of our pupils. To respond to the changes happening around us, from the impacts of climate change to the complex challenges we’re facing in society and the growing expectations placed on organisations. 

As a school we nurture creative and independent thinking. Preparing staff and pupils with the knowledge and skills to address our social and environmental responsibilities is imperative in our sustainability journey. 

We are committed to delivering a range of actions which we can all adopt in our school life from now through to 2030. Some changes are happening quickly whereas others require dedicated time, resources and investment. Our aspirations focus on measurable performance, which are monitored and regularly shared to demonstrate our progress in growing our future together.

Sustainability in action at Oakwood 

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Our commitment to make a difference

Working towards net zero emissions by 2030

One of the biggest opportunities for change is through our carbon footprint.  We are working towards being a net zero school by 2030 (baseline year 2018/19). This is a big undertaking but it is important Oakwood contributes to the movement to limit global average temperature increase, and for our pupils to recognise our collective responsibility to address the climate crisis.

Our carbon reduction plan focuses our efforts to avoid and reduce emissions, followed by neutralising unavoidable emissions to reach net zero. Making progress means collaborating with others, including parents and suppliers, and we will use the compelling influence of our pupils to hold us all to account.

  • We have measured our baseline year of 2018/19 across all greenhouse gas emissions scopes (scopes 1, 2 and 3) which totalled 1,254 tCO2e. 
  • In 2023 our scope 1 and 2 emissions decreased by 33% compared with our baseline year. These are emissions from purchased electricity and the consumption of fuels processed on site.
  • In 2023, we decided to purchase 100% renewable electricity to demonstrate our commitment to reducing our emissions. This resulted in a 100% decrease in our scope 2 emissions.

Our commitments towards planet and people

We have identified other priority social and environmental areas which we are committed to manage responsibly.

Waste Management 

We have a keen focus on waste management but know we can do more to reduce the amount we generate and ensure we dispose of it responsibly. We measure the types of waste we produce at Oakwood and  are aligning with principles of the circular economy model which include keeping resources in use for as long as possible and adopting sustainability criteria in our buying decisions. 

Diversity & Inclusion

We provide our staff and pupils with a culture that promotes diversity, inclusivity, and respect. Oakwood is richer and more vibrant for nurturing an environment where everyone thrives. We promote equal opportunities for all and as a responsible employer, we regularly review our recruitment and development processes to ensure accessibility and fairness.  

Safety & Wellbeing 

A core priority of the school is to foster a healthy, safe and supportive place for our children to grow, for staff to thrive and for visitors to feel confident and welcome. We place a high focus on risk assessments and make sure safety issues are rapidly addressed. Health and safety is closely monitored and we are held to account by regulatory bodies.

"Pupils say keeping teachers and school friends healthy and safe is the top people priority, followed by having a voice on global issues."

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Embedding sustainability in all we do

Sustainability at Oakwood is firmly embedded in our aims, core values and strategic goals. A celebration of our rich culture, strong community values and educational vision alongside our business model.
Read more about us here.

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Our culture, community and ethos

We nurture an inspiring, positive culture at Oakwood, growing kind individuals with people and community at the heart of this. Charity support is central to our school with pupils leading the way. This year choosing RSPCA and CancerWise, a local charity supporting cancer patients, their families and carers. These selected charities demonstrate the pupils’ commitment to support national and local issues.

"We should help people and never give up."
Prep-school pupil

Educational vision

We are committed to incorporating real-world learning opportunities and sustainability into all areas of the curriculum. This is alongside maximising the wonderful outdoor learning opportunities on our school site, be that in our new woodland classroom, the woods, the pond or the Brewhouse Garden. We learn outside when possible to also benefit from the wellbeing opportunities of spending time amongst nature and using natural materials.  

Our operations

It is important that Oakwood’s governance and operations continue to be resilient, effective and fit for the future – while staying true to our purpose. With changing legislation relating to the environment, requirements to be transparent about organisational performance and societal expectations of schools, we are preparing Oakwood to respond well to the pace of change.

Our sustainability strategy, ‘Growing Our Future Together’ focuses on  helping address climate change, protecting our natural environment, nurturing and respecting people, and striving towards the preservation of resources for future Oakwood generations. We are privileged to be situated in such rich natural surrounding and are focused on the protection and restoration of its biodiversity. We are considering options to make our building estate and wider site more resilient to the impact of climate change such as from extreme weather events, fuel availability and cost pressures. Our strategic commitments require dedication across the school’s operations, partnerships with our suppliers and engagement from our pupils and families. 

We are continuing to adopt and develop sustainable practices across all our operations and decision making. Sustainability is integrated into our school development plan and is now a permanent feature at Governor, staff and leadership team meetings.

"We must make sure not to harm the natural area around us and to protect it."
Prep-school pupil

We have a staff-led Sustainability Working Group who are stewards of the school’s Sustainability Action Plan. The Working Group is progressing immediate and longer-term actions, with accountability held between the school’s Business Manager and Operations Manager.

Responsibilities within our Green Team have expanded to include voted representatives to form the Green Team Council.  Meeting termly with our Head of Outdoor Learning and Sustainability, the Council will agree sustainable initiatives and ways to support our ‘Growing Our Future Together’ strategy.

Transparency is paramount for progress and is another commitment we make – to regularly share achievements, challenges and opportunities for collaboration with us. We will evolve our Sustainability Action Plan as we learn more, and innovate our ways to achieve Oakwood’s goals for short and long term resilience and sustainability: To grow our future together.

"We have a responsibility for the success of Oakwood now but we are also custodians of Oakwood for future generations. As Governors, we are proud that Clare and her team have embarked on this ambitious and admirable sustainability journey."
Richard Geffen, Chair of Governors

PE Class

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