Manor Park Primary School
As a whole school we completed the Switch On to Switching Off
activity. We chose to do this activity because it was evident that
many lights were being left on when no teachers or pupils were
using the rooms. We completed it during Switch-Off Fortnight as it
seemed a great way to not only save energy, but show the children
that we were not alone in our attempts at turning off lights.
The school was reliant on the energy saving devices already
installed, rather than on promoting children's awareness and
participation in turning off lights. Put simply too many lights
were being left on and we were wasting electricity! As coordinator
I wanted to raise the children's awareness of this and to reduce
the school's wastage.
To introduce the activity itself, a few children performed a
small drama piece in assembly explaining what we were hoping would
happen during the two weeks. We also put up posters. I then got the
children even more excited by making it competitive, with the
chance to win a prize for the two classes that remembered to turn
their lights off the most.
Many classes then nominated 'light monitors', enabling the kids
to take the leading responsibility in turning off the lights. To
help record the classes' progress, a chart for each key stage was
displayed outside the staff room, a place which children walk past
at least once a day and see how well they were doing. We had two
'energy monitors' who spent a few minutes at lunchtime doing a
survey of rooms to see how many lights were off and filling in the
charts for the rest of the school.
The teachers for each class completed a small discussion session
or quiz with the children to help raise awareness of why we were
doing this activity and how it helps the school and
The school had already designed posters, so we asked the
children to create poems, songs or raps to reflect the benefits of
At the end of the two weeks we handed out the prizes to the top
classes and displayed all the photos and work on the Environment
The biggest problem to overcome was remembering to switch-off
the lights! Teachers often have other things on our minds and
turning off a few lights isn't one of them!
We made the children chiefly responsible through appointing
'light monitors'. This made them very enthusiastic, as they were
aware of the prizes and wanted to do the most to help their class
win. It also created a great class community as many class reported
that even if the light monitor forgot, the other children in class
were there to remind them.
The wall charts were another reminder: if a class had done
poorly, this acted as a reminder to do better the next day. Also,
quick reminders in assemblies and display signs by lights acted as
I really wanted the kids to feel they were leading this and take
the responsibility on themselves.
We have an environment club - the Envira-kids - who meet weekly
to discuss and partake in environmental activities for the school.
I laid out the general idea for the two weeks, then they decided
how to promote and encourage the other children in their class to
participate, e.g. writing songs, poems, raps, deciding on how the
competition would run etc.
A group of the Envira-kids introduced the whole activity through
a piece of drama during assembly. Because the children were part of
its organisation, they were very enthusiastic in taking the ideas
back to their classes to make the activity a success.