Category Archives: Sustainability

How to make your school outdoor shelter and outdoor classroom eco-friendly

We are all aware nowadays of the urgent need to protect the environment and schools too must do their part to adopt techniques and environmental policies in order to help lead the transition to a low carbon economy.

The Eco Schools programme does a very good job of ensuring that this is taught and practiced in UK schools and by implementing more meaningful learning from outside the classroom experiences, this will lead to the development of more positive and inclusive attitudes to eco learning.

Students will not just be told about sustainable development, they will be able to actually participate in it and appreciate a learning space in which they can explore what a sustainable lifestyle means. Children can therefore be part of the environmental awareness process.

The Hideout House outdoor shelters for schools are designed to suit a whole host of applications but more importantly, they have been developed so that children can actually learn from the building itself and its features so that it therefore becomes both a functional and didactic product combined into one.  They embrace a lot of the key cornerstones of the Eco Schools fundamental principles – namely renewable energy, healthy living, re-cycling, bio-diversity and global citizenship.

Our outdoor shelters and outdoor classrooms have the following eco-friendly features:

  • Living sedum roof which attracts bio-diversity and which absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere (it is also a natural insulator so can help reduce energy costs)
  • A renewable energy system which includes a mini wind turbine, solar panel and energy monitoring board with datalogger and power sockets. The energy created from the sun and wind is stored into a battery (which is mounted onto the board) and by way of an inverter is then converted into usable electricity. Children can then tap into pure, green, CO2 free power
  • Special dynamo bike systems which, like above, also create renewable energy. The children have to pedal the bikes to create power which in turn can be used for a whole of creative educational applications
  • Water butt, roof guttering system and planters. The harvested rainwater is stored into a water butt which is then used to water and feed whatever is being grown in the planters. This encourages healthy living and eating
  • Mini lean to greenhouse and recycling bin centres
  • Bird boxes and nature observation panels
  • Manufactured from eco-friendly materials which can show a chain of sustainable supply

The Hideout House Company products are designed to be both fun and engaging too so that children will want to participate time and time again. If they can own the project and be part of it, they will want to learn more. Learning about environmental issues and embracing social responsibilities has to come as second nature to this generation of school children if we are to make any significant difference at all to help saving our planet. After all, there is no Planet B!

If you would like to know how we can help make your school’s outdoor classrooms and shelters more eco-friendly, then please contact us on 01865 858982 or email:

Get involved in Shell’s new schools competition and festival of innovation

The Bright Ideas Challenge

The answers to tomorrow’s energy challenges lie in your students’ ingenuity.

That’s why we’re launching an exciting new schools challenge that will see students aged 11-14 use their creativity to devise innovative solutions to the energy challenges faced by cities of the future.

With prizes for students and funded trips to the festival, one school will
be crowned national winner and will receive £5,000 to super-size its STEM lessons.

Register now to be the first to receive our curriculum-linked toolkit. It will help you support your class or STEM Club to push the limits and take on this challenge.

Teams will have until late April 2016 to submit their entries.

    Visit Make the Future

Join us with students aged 11-14 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, on Thursday 30 June or Friday 1 July 2016. It’ll be a great way to round off the summer term.

At the festival, you’ll take a journey into the future of energy. Students will have the opportunity to explore how people use and create energy in everyday life. They can take part in hands-on activities, interactive science shows, competitions and engaging careers experiences.

They’ll also be able to watch student teams from across Europe who’ve designed and built hyper-efficient vehicles. The teams will be competing in Shell Eco-marathon to see how far they can travel on one litre of fuel.

Please note that your school might be eligible for a travel bursary.

Schools are saving money by using eco-friendly technology

Eco-friendly technology that will reduce your school’s carbon footprint and running costs.

The attitude that “for something to be eco-friendly it must be expensive” has become somewhat out-dated – particularly when we consider the advances in eco-friendly technologies over the last decade or so.

In fact, in the modern world eco-friendly technologies are typically much more cost-effective. And eco-friendly charging trolleys for the laptops, Chromebooks, iPads or tablets in your school are no exception to this.

The Power Management system, which is built in to the ABS charging trolleys supplied by NUWCO, features an energy-saving timer module which will help to reduce both your school’s carbon footprint and your school’s running costs.

And to further save your school money, the timer can be set to charge your school’s devices at the time when electricity is at its cheapest, including in the evenings and at the weekends.

What’s more, in the event of a computer or the mains having an electrical fault, the Power Management System and the charging trolley’s plastic shell will ensure that the fault is isolated at once.

Our plastic charging trolley, which is 100% recyclable, also has the added benefit of it being 70% lighter than a traditional metal charging trolley which will of course make the process of moving the trolley around much easier.

To review all the details and see the pictures please visit our site at

Just choose the device that you think is right for you, click on that trolley, and you will be able to see a full description, including the dimensions. You will also be able to download the product specification and device compatibility sheet – in fact, everything you need to know.

If you have any questions please do call 01628 666 775 or email me at

Ashley Hutton

17 super secondary schools

How does your secondary school plan
to meet local demand?

The BBC has reported that councils will have to generate a predicted 80,000 additional secondary school places in order to accommodate the increase in the number of pupils who will be graduating from primary schools over the next four years.

It has been decided that rather than building new secondary schools, some 17 existing secondary schools will be expanded and transformed into what will be known as “super-sized” secondary schools – which should be a more financially viable option for councils.

Naturally, there are some concerns about whether the same standards of behaviour and academic attainment can be maintained following the expansion.

However, School Minister Nick Gibb doesn’t believe this to be a cause for concern and is quoted in TES as saying, “If you look at Shanghai, their schools are very large and they produce some very high standards of education.”  Shanghai High has more than 3000 students and is considered as one of Shanghai’s top state schools.

Regarding the benefits of super-sized schools, Head teacher Tony Alexander said: “We are able to provide a broad curriculum that other schools could not afford. And we have a wide range of children with different qualities and attributes, which can only be good.”

Whether your school has plans to be super-sized or not, it is likely that some expansion will be necessary in order to meet local demand. This can bring the added benefit of being able to choose the design of your new classroom so that it represents your school’s values.

For example, if being eco-friendly and providing pupils with plenty of learning outside the classroom opportunities is valued by your school, you may want to have a classroom built which represents these values, such as those from The Learning Escape.

The Learning Escape’s classrooms are bathed in natural sunlight, warm in the winter, cool in the summer and are able to withstand whatever extremes of weather climate change throws at them.

They are designed to be eco-friendly, not least with the option to have sun pipes, living sedum roofs, solar water systems and solar power systems installed.

To see the Learning Escape classrooms that schools have designed and that we have built recently, just click here.

Or to discuss any aspect of your project or to book a free survey, just call us on 0800 917 7726. You can find more information on our website.

What’s more, there are leasing options available to your school and you can find more information about financing here.

Link to the BBC’s article: