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Visionary collaboration

Date: 7 Feb 2012

A visionary collaboration that educates pupils on sustainability, injected a little Latin spirit into Gwinear School in January.

A project created between solar PV installers, Plug into the Sun and Peru based Global Education brought the culture of Peru into the classroom for pupils in class 3.

Pupils were treated to an insight into life in Peru, they learned about the Amazon, were shown the similarities between the Spanish and English language and also danced to some salsa and musica negra – a fast type of music developed by South American slaves.

Cornwall and Peru share similarities in that they both have a history of mining, fishing and tourism, but it is also an exciting place to learn about because of its diversity.

“Peru is a very inspiring country because it has most types of climate, most of the worlds plants and animals represented,inspiring communities and incredible history, the list goes on and on.”

Gwinear School will now be set up with a link school in Pacasmayo, on the North Coast of Peru and north of Chicama, a surf spot famed for being the longest left hand wave in the world.

The link school in Peru will then not only communicate with Gwinear School, but they will also have solar thermal panels and a solar box cooker installed, part funded by the school and Plug Into the Sun.

By taking renewable technology into schools in Peru, the technology not only benefits the school, but parents learn that they can save money and resources by adopting these methods at home.

Gwinear school had solar panels installed in November last year by Plug into the Sun which have also helped to raise the environmental awareness among pupils and parents there.

Headteacher at Gwinear, Helen Scholes said: “We feel it is a great achievement to have these.  We are an Eco School, currently aiming for our Green Flag.  It is an important part of our ethos to demonstrate that we are a sustainable school.  Having the panels on the roof at the front of our school is a visual demonstration of this.  After they were installed, several parents commented on how pleased they were to see that we have been able to install the PV panels and how important it is for the children to learn about sustainability.”

Helen said that it was a number one priority for Gwinear School to raise awareness of sustainability issues, for the children and the community.

“We are educating our pupils for their lives in the twenty first century, and there is nothing more important than doing what we can to protect our planet for the future.  We found Tom inspirational.  He worked with class 3 and also led a twilight workshop for staff and parents.  Parents joined us for an assembly where children showed some of their work from the day.  Tom has also led a staff meeting to give us some pointers about becoming a more sustainable school.

“We are very grateful to Plug into the Sun for completing the installation of our PV panels so quickly and we are especially delighted with the chance for the link with Peru that this has presented.”

The solar panels are contributing to the economic sustainability of Gwinear and they have calculated the financial return in laptops. They hope to see a return of approximately five laptops, or the equivalent, every year.

Andrew Tanner, managing director from Plug into the Sun said that the project was a good cause and that it was good for school and pupils in Cornwall and Peru.

He said: “Tom has a massive impact upon people's lives. It may be somewhat intangible but I know the thousands of pupils and teachers that he meets every year will remember the message that he is sharing.   He's planting a lot of acorn ideas in young people's heads, some of which will grow into mighty oak trees!  Using the solar power installation is a great catalyst for developing the links between schools and communities.”