Five years ago Fox primary school was one of the first schools in the country to install solar panels. They got all the pupils involved and excited about solar - and inspired our Solar Schools project. The money they make back from the feed-in tariff subsidy helps boost their budget and pay for learning resources for the school.
The government’s proposed changes to the feed-in tariffs would make it almost impossible for other schools to do the same. This morning they held a consultation to ask industry pros and experts what they thought of the idea. As beneficiaries of solar panels, the pupils of Fox wanted to have their say.
The government’s consultation is really techy, accessible only to the super-experts. No good when you’re only ten, so the pupils of Fox decided to do it their own way. Last Wednesday a group of year 6 pupils got together after school and made a giant papier-mache sun. They got glue all over the tables and their clothes, but (or perhaps ‘therefore’) it was fun!
On Friday they got their fellow pupils to sign it (using their coolest gold pens!) to show their support for solar.
Then the morning of the consultation dawned. Sophia, Ariana, Jacob, Jackson, Guy and Lora from year 6 (and a few of us from 1010), squashed into the packed tubes to deliver the sun to the government officials. Can’t say the other commuters loved having a 3ft sun held above their heads.
The children weren't allowed into the consultation itself (there were already professional solar people who couldn't get in, they told us) so Decc's head of renewables Gareth Redmond came out to meet us.
Sophia, Ariana and Lora had prepared a few things to say about why they support solar - it’s good for the environment and great for buying learning resources, they said. Gareth Redmond listened attentively.
He gladly took the sun, and said it was the best petition he’d ever seen!
“Message received loud and clear”, he told the children, and took the sun inside to be scanned in the metal detector.
UPDATE: The team at Decc loved the sun-petition so much, they mentioned it in their report. Must have made quite an impression!