Banyule Primary School

Published: 1 July 2019
Two Banyule primary school students standing next to a planter box growing spring onions.

Banyule Primary School in Rosanna, winners of the 2016 ResourceSmart School of the Year award, takes sustainability to heart. Its whole-school sustainability program is run by 10 teacher leaders and 24 student leaders, who ensure students at the school learn about sustainability. This 5 Star school has saved close to $100,000 and reduced their greenhouse emissions by over 150 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

“Having our students play a key role brings our community closer together,” explains Courtney Hicks, Sustainability Coordinator at the school explains. “We also have a lot of parents who are very keen to help with all of our sustainability projects.

ResourceSmart Schools has a huge impact on Banyule Primary School’s campus, which features a frog bog (built by students), garden beds, a greenhouse, solar panels and water tanks. The school’s implementation of the program on campus is truly outstanding.

“We hold sustainability days once a term where our whole school divides into four sports houses and each house focuses on one of the four areas of ResourceSmart Schools. Each year the sports house learns about a new ResourceSmart area. Our students love term four’s sustainability celebration day,” says Courtney.

“These days cover a range of content in the Victorian curriculum. Additionally, we have a whole inquiry topic ResourceSmart Schools. In grade one, students learn how things grow, in grades three/four and five/six they learn about sustainability, rounding out their experiences and preparing their lives for sustainability,” she added.

Courtney has seen the Banyule Primary School community completely embrace sustainability.

“Since starting ResourceSmart Schools, our school community is a lot more aware of sustainability and is open to supporting this project in any way they can. When we won the ResourceSmart School of the Year award in 2016, our community were extremely proud. After hearing of our successes, interest in sustainability/ResourceSmart Schools increased from our students,” Courtney explained.

“I have only one piece advice for a school wanting to make a difference to the environment through ResourceSmart Schools. That is this, you’ve got nothing to lose and only things to gain! When a whole-school approach is taken to sustainability it is an incredible thing to be a part of.”

Banyule Primary School’s top three sustainability tips for schools

  1. Have a 'sustainability celebration day' with hands-on sustainability activities to get students and teachers involved and excited about sustainability. This could involve cooking produce, making paper, going on a sustainability treasure hunt or making something using recycled materials.
  2. Have boards/posters around the school with tips that other students have written to encourage students to be more sustainable in their everyday lives.
  3. Ask for assistance from the wider community by having whole-school sustainability working bees and provide them with tips and articles about what your school is doing in regard to sustainability.