AuSSI - Who is involved?

At the national level, AuSSI is a partnership of the Australian Government and the state and territory environment and education agencies, as well as the Catholic and Independent schools sectors. It is coordinated by the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. AuSSI is being implemented in each state and territory using a variety of different models and is currently operating in almost 3000 schools (30 per cent of schools nationally), in all states and territories.

AuSSI's vision is: For all Australian schools and their communities to be sustainable. Because of the holistic nature of this vision, a wide range of individuals and groups can play a valuable role in AuSSI's success, including students, school leaders, principals, teachers, other school staff, parent groups, community members, businesses, local government and non-government organisations.

Government

Australian Government, state and territory government, education and environment agencies have:

  • embedded environmental education for sustainability into state and territory policy and curriculum frameworks
  • shown leadership and commitment to sustainability by making changes to their own operational practices, policies, training processes and facilities management
  • cooperated with schools on specific sustainability actions
  • contributed to school sustainability planning
  • supported schools with resources, program ideas, auditing expertise and grant opportunities
  • provided professional learning and pre-service training to ensure teachers and trainees are able to engage in continuous development of the knowledge, understandings and skills to support studies in education for sustainability
  • trained students and school-based staff in sustainability matters
  • acknowledged AuSSI and AuSSI schools in discussions, planning, public communications and resourcing
  • supported sustainable infrastructure policies
  • supported sustainable resource management strategies and reporting
  • recognised schools and school networks publicly for sustainability successes
  • recognised staff and students for sustainability achievements
  • coordinated and sponsored student sustainability councils and forums
  • developed mechanisms to enable schools to share resources and examples of good practice
  • supported schools to implement sustainability education and environmental management
  • formed partnerships with AuSSI schools to assist them to work towards sustainability
  • cooperated with schools on specific sustainability actions
  • provided resources, program ideas, auditing expertise and grant opportunities provided professional learning and training to ensure teachers are able to use environmental management processes within AuSSI
  • trained students and school-based staff in sustainability matters
  • supported the development and implementation of environmental management plans in schools
  • engaged schools in the environmental agency's sustainability programs recognised schools and school networks publicly for sustainability successes recognised staff and students for sustainability achievements
  • coordinated and sponsored student sustainability councils and forums.

Students

The most important participants in AuSSI are students.

If a school is implementing AuSSI, it is vital for students to be meaningfully involved and given ownership of the process.

Students learn a great deal by being involved in sustainable school initiatives and they can shape the way such initiatives are prioritised and developed.

Decisions about what to focus on in AuSSI - what levels of aspiration to set, how to engage others, when to publicise and celebrate successes - can all be informed by students.

School leaders

School leadership teams, including the Principal, Deputy and Heads of Department, can play an important role in supporting progress towards sustainability in their schools, from communicating the initial idea to supporting others with ongoing ideas and encouragement.

School leaders can:

  • give their support for sustainable school actions and learning
  • support professional development initiatives on sustainability and environmental education for sustainability for teachers and non-teaching staff
  • make resources and time available for teachers to plan and implement appropriate classroom and whole school initiatives in sustainability
  • support the development of whole school sustainability action plans
  • involve students and teachers in the development of these plans
  • ensure these plans are informed by Indigenous people's knowledge, experience and perspectives
  • support the development of policies that identify sustainable school operations
  • engage parent associations and student committees in the development and implementation of these policies
  • establish a School Sustainability Planning Committee
  • share progress reports with parents and the school community
  • recognise teaching, non-teaching staff and students publicly for sustainability efforts
  • publicise and celebrate whole school achievements in sustainability
  • engage with local community organisations, including environmental and Indigenous groups
  • support the development of partnerships with government and non-government organisations to implement sustainability initiatives
  • support the establishment of relationships with local businesses for cooperative actions and support
  • encourage and actively participate in local media opportunities to showcase school sustainability activities and learning.

Teachers and other school staff

School personnel play a vital role in helping the school learn about and become involved in AuSSI. They play an important role in the planning, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of sustainable school initiatives.

Teachers and non-teaching staff can:

  • use teaching and learning approaches based on systems thinking, critical reflection, futures thinking, values clarification, and critical and creative thinking
  • employ action learning strategies
  • envision, discuss and explore different futures
  • relate learning to local, national and international sustainability issues
  • ensure learning is continuous, ongoing and relevant to the world in which students live and work
  • relate learning to the use and management of resources across the whole school
  • explore where sustainability can be integrated into different subjects
  • work with other schools, co-create initiatives, share and develop locally relevant networks
  • set the tone for others to follow
  • model positive attitudes and values with regard to AuSSI
  • communicate a shared vision of a sustainable school to all school staff, students and the wider community
  • use the school grounds and surrounding areas as a focus for AuSSI
  • introduce sustainability policies and practices
  • integrate sustainable practices into their lives.

Parent groups, individual parents and local community members

The involvement of a school's P&C or P&F group, individual parents and local community members is invaluable, because it is through their engagement that broader community changes towards sustainability can be achieved. They can:

  • support schools to implement education for sustainability and environmental management
  • form partnerships with schools to assist them to work towards sustainability
  • cooperate with schools in implementing sustainability actions
  • visit the school, talk at assembly and engage in classroom discussions
  • engage other parents and community members in what AuSSI is all about
  • support schools with resources, project ideas, expertise and writing grant submissions
  • sponsor school-based sustainability projects
  • get involved in the development of sustainability projects, e.g. school garden, worm farm, no-waste lunch boxes
  • write relevant articles for the school newsletter
  • recognise students and teachers publicly for sustainability achievements
  • coordinate and sponsor student sustainability councils and forums
  • encourage and support a sustainable lifestyle in the home, garden or wherever children and young people are growing up so that the messages received at school are reinforced
  • support schools to take a more active approach to sustainability.

Businesses

Businesses, particularly local ones, and their personnel have an important role to play within AuSSI. They can:

  • support schools to implement sustainable and environmental management activities
  • ensure that their goods and services demonstrate high environmental standards that reflect energy efficiency, waste minimisation and conservation of natural resources
  • form partnerships with AuSSI schools to assist them to work towards sustainability
  • cooperate with schools on specific sustainability actions
  • visit schools and contribute to school sustainability planning and actions
  • support schools with resources, program ideas, auditing expertise and grant opportunities
  • sponsor school-based sustainability projects
  • support the development and implementation of sustainability management plans in schools
  • engage schools in their sustainability programs
  • recognise schools and school networks publicly for sustainability successes
  • recognise staff and students for sustainability achievements
  • coordinate and sponsor student sustainability councils and forums.

Local government

Local government can:

  • support schools to implement sustainability education and environmental management
  • form partnerships with AuSSI schools to assist them to work towards sustainability
  • cooperate with schools on specific sustainability actions
  • visit schools and contribute to school sustainability planning and actions
  • support schools with resources, program ideas, auditing expertise and grant opportunities
  • support the development and implementation of sustainability management plans in schools
  • engage schools in their sustainability programs
  • recognise schools and school networks publicly for sustainability successes
  • recognise staff and students for sustainability achievements
  • coordinate and sponsor student sustainability councils and forums
  • invite schools to make use of their local government facilities, e.g. council chambers.

Non-government organisations

A range of non-government organisations and community groups can be involved in a wide variety of ways. They can:

  • support schools to implement sustainable and environmental management
  • form partnerships with AuSSI schools to assist them to work towards sustainability
  • cooperate with schools on specific sustainability actions
  • visit schools and contribute to school sustainability planning and actions
  • support schools with resources, program ideas, auditing expertise and grant opportunities
  • provide professional development and pre-service training to ensure teachers and trainee teachers are able to use environmental management processes within AuSSI
  • train students and school-based staff in sustainability matters
  • support the development and implementation of sustainability management plans in schools
  • engage schools in their sustainability programs
  • recognise schools and school networks publicly for sustainability successes
  • recognise staff and students for sustainability achievements.