Schools for Wildlife

Empowering Wilder schools and communities

Established as a response to the State of Nature (UK) report, by Parent, Ecologist and Wild Staffordshire Founder, Scott Latham, Schools for Wildlife is the first of its kind sustainable schools initiative to bring schools, communities, and nature together.

Initially, Schools for Wildlife will be rolled out in 2021/22 across pilot schools throughout Staffordshire, before the initiative is launched across the region.

Our Mission is to educate, inspire, and connect people to nature whilst collaborating with schools and communities to protect and enhance local wildlife and living landscapes.

Our vision is to fuse ecology, action-based, and curriculum focused learning to protect and improve local biodiversity with four simple goals.

Boy looking through binoculars in green grass plants birdwatching nature exploration kid adventure

How It Works

The Schools for Wildlife initiative requires support from school leaders and active involvement from staff, as well as a long-term commitment and the willingness to involve students in decision-making.

The 4 Steps to a wilder community methodology is a series of carefully designed measures to help schools maximise the success of their Wildlife ambitions.

While the Four Steps are the most important aspect of Schools for Wildlife, participants also have the opportunity and will be encouraged and supported, to use the initiative to work towards external awards, such as RSPB’s Schools’ Wild Challenge and Big Schools’ Birdwatch.

1: School Wildlife Council

The school wildlife council will be the heartbeat of your Schools for Wildlife journey. The council should:

Primary Schools: Your school wildlife council will, ideally, be represented by two pupils from each of KS1 & KS2, and an adult member including a parent, governor, or member of staff.

Wildlife councils should meet at least once per half term and will be responsible for informing the rest of the school of its meeting minutes, actions, and future plans.

2: Biodiversity & Wildlife Review

Understanding the current state of nature within your school grounds, community, and the UK as a whole is an important step to ensuring the correct action plan can be produced.  

Under supervision from our licenced ecologists, your wildlife council will use fun, research-based, and hands-on ecology strategies to understand the current biodiversity within your area, via wildlife counts, plant and tree identifying, and ecology surveys such as mammal track pits and bat detecting.

Teacher pointing at distant in forest

3: Biodiversity Action Plan

Using the data collected from the wildlife and biodiversity review, your wildlife council will design a biodiversity action plan to help improve the biodiversity within the school grounds and the local community.

Steps will be taken to plan what action will be taken, timelines for those actions, and how they will be implemented. These actions maybe are as simple as renovating a current bug hotel or maybe more complex such as designing a new wildlife garden. 

4: Community Outreach

Engaging and inspiring the local community about the wildlife council’s work around your school grounds is key to biodiversity growth.

We believe that if the local residents see that your school is passionate about protecting wildlife then they will support the growth of local biodiversity and will be encouraged to take steps to improve their own gardens and green spaces. 

Together you can ensure that wildlife has a safe haven to live in harmony with humans.

Links To The National Curriculum

Ensuring the Schools for Wildlife initiative holds the vital links to the curriculum is a vital aspect of our foundation.

Although the Wildlife Council will be key to ensuring your Schools for Wildlife journey is a success, we want to ensure the whole school learns about the important role nature plays in our living landscape.

We’ve designed a range of lesson plans and activities for teachers to use in the classroom. We also support and encourage schools to utilise events, such as a wildlife week, etc.

READY TO BECOME A SCHOOL FOR WILDLIFE?

We look forward to working with your passionate student to grow the wildlife populations and biodiversity with, not just your schools grounds, but also the wider community.

Frequently Asked Questions

School Wildlife Councils

Your school wildlife council will, ideally, be represented by pupils from KS1 & KS2 and an adult member including a parent, governor, or member of staff.

Choose your Wildlife Council however you want. You may decide to choose the most passionate children, those pupils in need of a confidence boost or you might make pupils complete an application form, deliver a speech and be democratically elected – do what works best for your school and its pupils.

Wildlife councils should meet at least once per half term for primary schools and more often where possible for secondary schools. The Wildlife Council will be responsible for informing the rest of the school of its meeting minutes, actions, and future plans.

No, that is entirely up to your school. We encourage members to remain in the council for as long as they are in the school, for the historical knowledge of the great work they have undertaken. 

An adult council member will be required for all primary schools. Adults can include teachers, learning support assistants, senior staff, site managers, administration staff, parents or governors as long as they comply with your school’s safeguarding policy.

Becoming a School for Wildlife

Registration is easy. Complete the form on our get involved page and a member of out team will respond ASAP to complete your registration.

There is no cost to register your school as a School for Wildlife. We aim to secure funding to cover the cost of delivering the Schools for Wildlife initiative throughout Staffordshire. However, as we are a not-for-profit organisation and receive no government funding we ask schools to pay for any additional costs, such as bug hotels, bird feeders, animal food, hedgehog pathways and/or any materials used to build items. These purchases can to be made via our partners directly.

We will require that a member of staff, teacher, govenor or elected parent is a member of the school wildlife council. This is for the safety of your pupils, our member of staff and to assist with learning outcomes.

Any type of school can join Schools for Wildlife. This includes primary schools, special schools and pupil referral units. If you are unsure whether you are eligible to join please get in touch.

Please Note: Currently, Schools for Wildlife is not launched for secondary schools. However, we are working with educators to prepare for a future launch. We are sorry for the inconvenience. Please check back periodically.

Being a School for Wildlife is an important conservation effort for your local region. We want your school to be able to shout from the treetops about the great work you are doing.

Firstly, upon registration, you will be send a printable PDF calling for pupils to put themselves forward for the school wildlife council.

Once your council is elected, each school will receive our membership pack at the first council meeting. This will include a badge and mug for all members of the wildlife council to proudly wear. A Wildlife Council message board will so be included. The pack will also include handouts to parents explaining you have joined the Schools for Wildlife initiative. 

A Schools for Wildlife banner is also available for purchase priced at £75.

Throughout, the initiative materials for print out will be supplied when required.

In addition to this, our website will be continually updated with lesson plans, insights and resources free for your school to download.

Additional FAQs

We expect schools wildlife councils to meet at least once ever half term. This maybe for a meeting or to undertake tasks such as wildlife reviews, biodiversity growth or community outreach. Each meeting will be attended by a member of our team and the dates arranged at the previous meeting. Meetings can take place at any time during the day decided upon by the schools and the wildlife council. Usually, the wildlife council is run as an after school club.

Having an ecologists on site means that if a protected species is found on-site it can be legally and corrected handled by a licensed professional. The ecologist will also provide some of the equiptment required for the biodiversity and wildlife reviews, such as bat detectors. They will also be trained to prove professional advice on all steps of the Schools for Wildlife initiative.

Yes! if you would like to feature the Schools for Wildlife logo on a web page etc., then please contact us.

We retain the right to ask schools to remove our logo from their website if we believe they are no longer following the initiative or taking part in activities which are harmful to wildlife and the environment.

News & Resources

Get Involved

Please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you, be it for more information or to get started in becoming a School for Wildlife.