Solihull schools join forces over carbon emissions challenge


Schools from across Solihull joined forces to explore how they can reduce their own carbon emissions and play their part in tackling climate change.   

Solihull Council brought together representatives from 10 schools alongside innovators, academics and the Council at STEAMhouse in Birmingham – a centre for collaborative innovation powered by Birmingham City University where entrepreneurs, students, businesses and organisations co-exist to solve real-world problems and develop new ideas.

The unique ‘Low Carbon Schools Solihull’ STEAM Challenge Event looked at the role that schools play in creating climate resilient communities and the steps that can be taken to lower their own emissions.

The challenge was explored through a series of activities which ranged from collectively visioning the sustainable school of the future and developing a plan of action to get there, to crafting newspaper articles to help bring their plans to life.

Attendees also had the chance to take to the ‘soapbox’ giving presentations on the tools, methods or changes that can enable schools to lower emissions and help deliver their vision for a greener, healthier, and happier school. 

Some of the ideas discussed included retrofitting school buildings with energy-saving measures, introducing sustainable travel initiatives, and developing green lesson plans and events to encourage behavioural changes.

The event supported the Department for Education’s Sustainability and Climate Change strategy, which aims to educate pupils on climate change, build climate resilience, create a better environment for future generations, and achieve the UK’s net zero emissions target.

Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Planning, said:

“Schools are at the heart of our communities and can be a catalyst for community engagement, helping to inspire and educate the next generation on the environmental challenges we face.

“To see so many schools engage with us on this critical issue and how they can help Solihull achieve its net zero emissions target by 2041 is really encouraging, as even small steps today can make a big difference to our future.

“We want schools to continue the conversation and put into action their own plans to contribute to this goal and are encouraging them to find out more about how Solihull Council can support by visiting our climate change and sustainability campaign, Your Future Solihull, at”

The event was hosted by Solihull Council and Birmingham City University, designed and facilitated by STEAMhouse, and funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

Paddy Bek, Head of Service Innovation and Experimentation at STEAMhouse, said:

“STEAMhouse is all about bringing together people from different organisations to tackle challenges which have the potential to transform lives, so it was fantastic to work with Solihull Council to help open conversations on how schools can contribute to the borough’s ambitious carbon emissions target.”

Lucy Walters, Finance Manager at Marston Green Junior School – one of the schools in the borough to attend the event – said: 

"The Low Carbon Schools Solihull event was a great opportunity to share ideas and I have already started researching some of the suggestions to expand on the work with our own Eco Team of carbon-conscious pupils.”  

Other schools who took part included Monkspath School, St Patrick's CE Primary Academy, Solihull Academy, Peterbrook Primary School, Light Hall School, Langley School, St Augustine's Catholic Primary School, St Peter's Catholic School, and Widney Junior School. 

Speakers at the event included National Education Nature Park Senior Programme Officer Martin Harrison, CEO of The Building Alliance and Visiting Professor at Birmingham City University Mike Leonard, Energy Confidence Founder Phil Beardmore, Solihull Council’s Climate Change & Sustainability team, alongside Cllr Mackiewicz.