Agenda item

Children and Young People Climate Emergency Priorities

To consider the report of Director of Children and Families that advises Members of the ongoing work streams to engage with children and young people in Leeds in regards to the Climate Emergency, and to present a number of films/presentations created by school pupils highlighting their environmental priorities.


The Director of Children and Families submitted a report that advised Members of the ongoing work streams to engage with children and young people in Leeds in regards to the Climate Emergency, and presented a number of films/presentations created by school pupils highlighting their environmental priorities.


The following were in attendance:


-  Steve Ruse, Lead Sustainable Schools Consultant, Children and Families, Leeds City Council

-  Mr Andrew Nelson, Teacher at Richmond Hill Primary Academy

-  Mary Mengstaeb, Year 5 pupil at Richmond Hill Primary Academy


The Lead Sustainable Schools Consultant introduced the report, highlighting activity to promote the climate emergency and engage with schools following the Leeds Youth Voice Summit on Climate for secondary schools in February 2020.


Mr Nelson and Mary Mengstaeb were welcomed by Members and invited to introduce the video submitted by Richmond Hill Primary Academy. Mr Nelson advised the Committee that Richmond Hill Primary Academy has undertaken a number of community based projects over the last 18 months in response to the GORSE Academies Trust commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2025, as presented in the video submitted and played at the meeting.


Members noted their thanks to the representatives from Richmond Hill Primary Academy for attending the meeting, and for their continued inspirational dedication to the climate emergency. Members were pleased to hear of their partnership with other Leeds based organisations such as Opera North, and projects to discourage idling vehicles around schools.


Two further schools, Strawberry Fields Primary School and Kirkstall St Stephen’s Church of England Primary School, submitted videos that were played at the meeting. Unfortunately, representatives from the schools were unable to attend and so the videos were introduced by the Lead Sustainable Schools Consultant, who provided a brief overview of each video. Members thanked the schools for their contributions and highlighting the issues raised in the videos, noting particularly the impact of ‘fast fashion’ and the value of schemes to promote recycling and reusing school uniform, as well as introducing vegetarian and vegan meals to the school lunch menu and further ideas to reduce food waste and increase sustainability.


The Chief Officer (Sustainable Energy and Air Quality) presented the soon to be launched Climate emergency Toolkit for Young People in Leeds, to highlight examples of the resources and opportunities available to young people and schools across the city, as requested by attendees of the Youth Summit held in February 2020. Mr Nelson welcomed the launch of new resources for schools and suggested that further ‘assembly ready’ packages could be developed, such as a video designed for a whole school audience to encourage climate action, incorporating all of the ideas and resources included in the toolkit and examples of successful projects in other Leeds schools. Related to this, the Lead Sustainable Schools Consultant referred Members to the Climate Action Route Map (Appendix 2) for senior leaders in schools to develop their own programme of activities and integrate sustainability into the curriculum. 


Members suggested that further opportunities to develop the offer and engage with schools could be achieved by working with the Children and Families Scrutiny Board, and Council teams working in partnership with the Leeds Climate Commission. Members also recognised the importance of the role of the Committee in regards to demonstrating the changes that have been made as a result of the submissions from schools, to maintain and further encourage the enthusiasm amongst young people to take ownership and tackle the climate emergency. 




a)  That the contents of the three video films submitted by schools in Leeds be noted;

b)  That Members comments and suggestions, in regards to appropriate action with particular emphasis on developments that simultaneously address both the climate emergency and child poverty agendas, be noted;

c)  That the Committees’ commendation of the important work taking place in the three schools be noted, and acknowledged in the form of a certificate for each participating school;

d)  That the further ‘assembly style’ resources, in addition to the resources presented at the meeting, be developed and made available on the Leeds by Example website to support other Leeds schools to follow the lead of the submitting schools in identifying their own environmental priorities;

e)  That the Committee will engage with Child Friendly Leeds Ambassadors at the next available opportunity.



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