Cobden Techncial School
Rural/Regional: Secondry School located in Western Victoria
Student Numbers: 317 students
Themes: Core theme, waste, energy
Key Elements: Whole School Commitment, Community, Curriculum Plans, Environmental Policy, Goals and Targets, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation.
A research study monitoring and evaluating Cobden Technical School’s involvement in the Waste Wise School’s program can be found at Gould Institute
The school has a two page environmental policy which includes goals and tagets for each sustainability theme.
Cobden Technical School initially undertook sustainability education through the EcoRecycle Waste Wise Schools Program and the Energy Smart Program. The school has become a recognised leader in environmental education practices and has won many awards. Cobden Technical School joined the Victorian Sustainable Schools Pilot Project to expand their existing environmental program.
Works with many organisations including: Gould League, South West Regional Waste Management Group, SEAV, WaterWatch, Landcare, Shire of Corangamite, Greening Australia Victoria.
- Winner of several Awards in Waste Wise Schools Awards 2000-2003
- Winner Rubbish Free Lunch Challenge, 2001, 2002
- Winner Energy Smart Awards, 2001 and Low Energy Week Challenge, 2000
- Accredited as a Waste Wise School and in the Waste theme of Sustainable Schools
- Winner of Rural Pride Awards 2001
- Winner of a Schools for a Sustainable Future Award 2001 (for “Integrating Environment throughout the school and local community’)
- Mentor to many local schools, run full-day mini-conferences for students and teachers, and advise many Victorian and interstate schools
- Teachers and students present at conferences and to community groups
- Amount of waste sent to landfill compared to 2000 reduced by over 90%, saving an estimated $3,400/year. Money saved from waste is spent on other environmentally sound practices such as de-lamping the corridors.
- Income is derived from selling paper, envelopes and recycled paper bricks.
- Energy Smart grant of $2000 was received on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis, showing commitment from the school.
- Electricity consumption reduced by 30% over a month, saving an estimated $2,000/year from 2001, and has continued to reduce even with an increase in computer numbers.
- Have won thousands of dollars from Awards, including Waste Wise Schools and Energy Smart awards.
Within the school community
Wider community involvement
- The program has strong student engagement and caters for a diversity of thinking and learning styles – continually building co-operation, leadership, decision-making and problem solving skills in authentic contexts.
- Students and staff have acted as models and mentors for schools across Victoria, interstate and overseas.
- Parents have a good understanding of the program, and many believe that it has influenced them in their behaviour towards the 3Rs and composting.
- The school publishes a community newsletter to keep the community informed about the latest achievements and provides tips and information.
- Year 9 students conceived and designed a community travelling board on recycling and recycled products for a Community Learning Project, and made presentations to Rotary Groups, the Lions Club and the local Shire. The travelling board has also been used at the local primary school and shopping centre.
- The school is included as a collection and recycling centre in South West Waste’s Recycling Directory. It has strong community links with business, residents, local council, the regional waste management group and other schools.
According to the school level report:
- In 2002, student absenteeism rates were well below the state averages at all year levels.
- Staff sick leave during 2002 was well below the statewide average.
- In the 2002 parents’ opinion survey, parents rated the school higher than the statewide average and above the seventy-fifth percentile. Importantly, the level of satisfaction of parents has grown over the past 3 years.
- Waste Wise is incorporated as a cross-curricular activity in all year levels, including Science, IT, SOSE, Art/Design, Mathematics, English and Literacy.
- Many examples of student problem-solving, innovation and creativity.
Waste and Litter
- Cardboard is made into cardboard bricks. In 2003, waterproofed, cardboard bricks were used to build a shed which became the recycling centre. It is also recycled into padded envelopes, with padding made from re-used bubble-wrap and packaging.
- Plastic, glass, drink containers, steel cans, aluminium cans, computers and scrap metal are recycled. School and family fax, toner and printer ink cartridges are also recycled.
- Food scraps are either composted, worm farmed or fed to the chickens.
- Skylights are fitted in corridors, louvre windows are sealed, radiant heaters are used and timers are installed on electrical equipment to reduce energy use.
- The school was de-lamped, replacing fluorescent tubes with brighter, lower UV emitting and more energy efficient trisphosphor tubes.
- Garden waste is mulched and composted, saving water.
- A sweeping machine will be purchased for the grounds instead of watering or blowing leaves.
Cobden students are actively involved in practical technology projects linked to sustainability themes such as construction of garden edging from recycled materials.