Founding Academy of The Park Academies Trust

LPA pupils conquering climate change


++ Lydiard Park Academy student scientists offset carbon footprint ++

++ IRIS and Villers Park enable Swindon students to protect the world around us ++

Student scientists from Lydiard Park Academy have been calculating the carbon footprint of the daily school run and investigating ways they can help to reduce it, through a joint project between the Institute for Research In Schools (IRIS) and Villers Park Education Trust, called MELT.

These Swindon students are the next generation of scientists who will help to change the world. The MELT project – which challenges schools to calculate their carbon footprint using the IRIS carbon calculator and find ways to reduce and offset it – has enabled them to play an active role in protecting their futures and contribute to the debate on climate change. Using the carbon calculator, the Lydiard Park Academy student scientists were able to discover the carbon footprint that pupils generate every day on the way to and from school.

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we’re facing today. The student scientists were completely shocked to find that Lydiard Park Academy pupils produce 243 tonnes of CO2 travelling to and from school across the year and started to explore ways to lessen their impact on the environment.

Their goal was to offset their carbon footprint, so the Year 10’s calculated the number of trees they would need to plant to mitigate the carbon impact of the school run. They applied to Carbon Footprint Ltd for 10 Hazel trees, they were successful and planted them in the school garden at Lydiard Park Academy which has become an area for ongoing STEM projects and nature activities. According to Carbon Footprint Ltd, four mature trees will offset one tonne of C02e.

Steve Greenwood, Chief Executive of the Institute for Research in Schools, said:

“The effects of climate change can be catastrophic. We know that school students are concerned about their environment and MELT is allowing them to genuinely make a difference to the world around them. The students from Lydiard Park have become scientists and are leading the way in offsetting the carbon impact of their entire school body.”

The student scientists have produced a scientific poster outlining their findings, which they have also shared with the younger pupils at Lydiard Park and students at neighbouring Abbey Park School too. Their findings will also be presented at the IRIS student conference in Exeter next month [June].

Cerian Lye-Owens, INVOLVE Programme Manager at the Villiers Park Educational Trust, said:

“I am so proud of the students for taking on the challenge set by Robert Swan to tackle the problem of climate change. They were given the opportunity to take part in this IRIS project as a way of working towards an INVOLVE award. Not only have these students shared their learnings with other students, but they have also provided a lasting legacy by planting the Hazel trees that will benefit future students by tackling climate change head on and provides a fantastic garden area that can be used for future STEM based activities.

“Watching the students develop key skills such as creativity, communication, organisation and teamwork through their investigations has been immensely rewarding and I was thrilled to be able to reward them with their Bronze INVOLVE awards. Well done to the students for following up on their research and taking positive action based on their findings. They should be very proud of what they have achieved.”

An INVOLVE award rewards students who lead on a project in their school that is educational and benefits other students in their school community. INVOLVE projects are recognised in UCAS applications as a contribution towards preparation for higher education.  

Louise Walter, Teacher of Science at Lydiard Park Academy, said:

“It has been an absolute privilege to work with the first group of Lydiard Park Academy IRIS student scientists leading this MELT project. A group of our Year 10 students have been keenly involved in helping to reduce the school’s carbon footprint. They were fantastic, liaising with their peers and staff to complete surveys, study school energy data and promoting a ‘greener’ life at Lydiard Park Academy – while independently organising for the Hazel trees to be delivered and planted in the school garden. It was a very proud moment to see them showcasing their findings at Abbey Park School and being awarded with their INVOLVE awards. Well done to all the year 10 students involved.”

The Lydiard Park Academy IRIS student scientists said:

“We really enjoyed taking part in the IRIS MELT project as we got to work as a team to help improve the school’s carbon footprint. We had a lot of fun planting the trees and showcasing our research findings to other students at Abbey Park School. We have improved in lots of skills such as presentation, organisational and communication skills. It is so important to help the environment and we know now that if we all play a small part in reducing the school’s carbon footprint, we can help to make a big difference.”

John Buckley, Managing Director of Carbon Footprint Ltd, said:

“It is great to see more and more schools using the IRIS MELT carbon calculator to help them understand their impact on climate change. Now that Lydiard Park Academy understands the magnitude of the impact of the daily school run, they will be able to come up with ideas and plans to reduce these emissions. It’s wonderful to be able to provide schools with trees. It brings so many benefits, from helping to reduce air pollution to providing much needed wildlife habitats.”

Those from LPA who took part were:
Lewis B-P
Leo F A
Millie P
Adelle C
Izzy R
Dylan C-W
Kyle M
Ethan B
Jamie B