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Leadership and Sustainability. Alex Christides Stuart Close Robbie Collinson Ross Yule . Bucksburn Academy Sustainability/Environmental Education. Key Themes in our work 1 What is the environment? 2 How does it work? 3 What are we doing to it? 4 What can we do to help it?

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Leadership and Sustainability

Alex Christides

Stuart Close

Robbie Collinson

Ross Yule

bucksburn academy sustainability environmental education
Bucksburn Academy Sustainability/Environmental Education

Key Themes in our work

1 What is the environment?

2 How does it work?

3 What are we doing to it?

4 What can we do to help it?


World Wildlife Fund –Psychology and Sustainability

Natural Change Project – research

People are not making the necessary lifestyle changes required

to protect the planet. Traditional approaches are not working.

Humans need to experience the natural world to learn how to

care for it. Leadership and good communication also crucial.

vision for our environmental work
Vision for our Environmental work
  • Give young people outdoor experiences to make them want to care for the environment and sustain this interest throughout their lives.
  • Cater for every ones needs and interests. Find peoples strengths.
  • Give them responsibility to lead outdoor activities, learn new skills and build teams of enthusiastic people who will bring change.

Who was John Muir and why is he an important person?

John Muir(21 April 1838 – 24 December 1914)

was a Scottish-born Naturalist and author. He emigrated to America and

believed all people should experience wilderness to gain a love and care

for nature. He believed that as human beings, nature is crucial to our

health and wellbeing. We need to interact with nature to develop our love

and care for it.

At Bucksburn Academy we use the John Muir Awards to discover wild

places in our community and look after them. The awards help the pupils

develop greater care for nature and helps them to make lifestyle changes

in a spirit of fun and adventure.

For more information see:


Project 1: Sclattie Wood

In partnership with Aker Solutions and Bucksburn Newhills Community Council

For their John Muir Award children and adults have to discover a wild place,explore it, take care of it and tell others about their experience.On June 12th 2010, November 6th 2010 and May 20th 2011, we had “Woodland Community Days”. Here pupils, teachers, members of the community and Aker Solutions staff worked at improving a green space in Sclattie Wood . An outdoor classroom is being created. The activities we undertook were as follows:

Cutting back branches and overgrown shrubs

Making and putting up bird/bat boxes

Making clay faces on the trees

Litter picking

Sclattie Wood

Designing tents for an outdoor classroom – in collaboration with the Art department

Clearing and marking out the path

Planting bulbs and plants

The S5/6 John Muir Award class work each week in the wood as part of their new course and these pupils will be trained to deliver the JMA in their communities, workplaces, universities and collages. This will aid life long involvement.


Project 2: Community partnerships with the National Trust for Scotland

In our Castle Project we have been working at Castle Fraser,

Crathes, Drum and Fyvie Castles. (see NTS letter and display)

On these projects we have:

Cut back overgrown plants and shrubs

Put in paths for wheelchair and public access to the castle grounds

Played environmental games and learned about nature in the castle grounds

Working with NTS at local castles

Planted native species of trees and plants

We discovered wild places and took care of them and gained our John Muir

Discovery Award for doing this.

For more information see:


“All people need to have a sense of place and feel they are part of, and belong to a community before effective environmental work can be done and sustained”

Teacher at Bucksburn Academy


Leadership skills through the projects




Pupil Perspectives. Brain Storm of the skills we believe we are developing

through our environmental work:

  • Making bids for money to fund projects
  • Enterprise skills
  • Building teams and partnerships which make the most of all the teams experience and skill levels
  • Negotiating and prioritising tasks.
  • Assessing on site the jobs to be done
  • Delegating and team approach
  • Choosing equipment
  • Developing knowledge and how to use it safely
  • Effective communication skills, supporting, sharing, learning
  • Problem solving, building skills, teaching others
  • Assessing the work done, evaluating strengths, weakness and improvements

Personal Development

  • Sense of responsibility
  • Working in intergenerational and differing ability groups
  • Experiences of inclusion
  • Confidence
  • Team skills
  • Physical ability develops
  • Reporting back successes in community talks, articles
  • Taking skills learned forward into adult life
  • Wanting to be involved more in Eco work
  • Continuing John Muir Awards at University, Collage, Work and in local community as an adult.

Comenius Regio Eco Schools’ Net: Leadership Research

In partnership with Aberdeen City Council, Italian partners and the University of Aberdeen

Deepening understanding and skill base.

What is a leader?

How do leaderships skills develop?

How can we assess and evaluate leadership skills?

Where is leadership in our projects and how can we progress these?


Video Interviews

Bucksburn Academy Responses


Questionnaire Responses from Bucksburn Academy

  • Over 130 pupils have experienced John Muir Awards
  • 100 responses to the research questionnaire on leadership.

Results so far are showing:

Lots of fun and adventure working and exploring.

Great atmosphere on the JMA days.

JMA valued personally and as an employment tool

JMA work had helped build confidence, improve

behaviour and relationships. “People see me better now”

Pupils exploring the outdoors more in their own time

Pupils were more aware of the environment now and

wanted to care for it.

no one off projects embed the work in the community

Developing Leadership: The Community Model

No one off projects. Embed the work in the community

Bucksburn Academy Community Model

JMA now part of the school curriculum in S5/6 personal development courses. JMA foster understanding, motivate, bring action.


Developing Leadership Capacity

Curriculum for Excellence through Outdoor Learning

1 The importance of Outdoor Learning and its contribution to the Scottish Government’s strategic objectives towards creating a more successful country.

2 Develop self evaluation instruments and tools to aid the assessment of outdoor, sustainability/environmental education at Bucksburn Academy.

3 Devise strategies and techniques to develop leader capacity in pupils at Bucksburn Academy both within the school and in their community.


Curriculum for Excellence: The Ten Dimensions of Excellence

Engages young people in the highest quality learning activities

Promotes well-being and respect

Develops a culture of ambition and achievement

Values and empowers its staff and young people

Learning and Teaching

Develops a common vision among children and young people, parents and staff

Successful learners

Confident individuals

Reflects on its own work and thrives on challenge

Fosters high quality leadership at all levels

Effective contributors

Responsible citizens

Works together with parents to improve learning

Works in partnership with other agencies and its community

Focuses on outcomes and maximises success for all learners