Whitehorse City Council

Sustainable Schools

As part of its Sustainable Schools Program, Council encourages local schools and early years services to become more sustainable by offering funding assistance for Whitehorse schools and early years to participate in selected State Government-endorsed sustainability programs that will help them to be more environmentally sustainable. Additionally Council is a member of the Eastern Alliance for Sustainable Learning (EASL) which offers professional development, networking and other educational sessions to sustainability educators within the member council areas. More information about EASL and sustainability programs in schools and early years is below:

Sustainability programs in schools and early years

Interested schools and early years services may apply for Council funding assistance for the following State Government-endorsed sustainability programs:

  • Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (SAKGF)
  • ResourceSmart Schools (schools only)
  • Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP) (schools only)

Whitehorse schools and early years will be contacted directly by Council in November each year with information to apply for the next round of funding assistance available.

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program

The Victorian Pleasurable Food Education Package (VPFEP) is run by the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (founded in 2001), endorsed by the Victorian Department of Education, and is available to all Victorian schools and early learning centres. This is a new, flexible model that is based on the successful Kitchen Garden Program, now operating in over 800 schools across Australia. It does not require costly infrastructure or staffing as the Foundation works closely with schools and centres to start small and keep costs minimal.

Schools and early learning centres are equipped to establish a kitchen garden program that helps children form life-long healthy food habits through harvesting produce grown, and preparing nutritious food from garden produce. The program provides a real response to the growing global childhood obesity crisis, attempts to address the burden of disease, and supports World Health Organization recommendations for food literacy in schools.

For more information, visit the Victorian Pleasurable Food Education Package website.

ResourceSmart Schools

ResourceSmart Schools logoThe ResourceSmart Schools program (previously known as Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative Victoria [AuSSI Vic]) has been delivered through Sustainability Victoria and the Department of Education since 2003, with over 1,000 Victorian schools having participated in the program. Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies (CERES) is the regional service provider for schools participating in ResourceSmart in the Whitehorse area.

CERES logoResourceSmart Schools helps schools work towards a more sustainable way of life for schools, students and the wider community with real-life learning opportunities. The program helps schools embed sustainability across all learning areas in the Australian Curriculum, enabling students to develop leadership and problem-solving skills and confidence in their ability to make a difference.  Schools save on utility bills, reduce resource use and greenhouse gas emissions, improve biodiversity and reduce landfill waste. Schools receive ‘stars’ as they progress through the framework, aiming to become a 5-Star school that demonstrates leadership and mentors others.

For more information visit: 

Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP)

SWEP logoThe Schools Water Efficiency Program has been delivered through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and the Department of Education and Training since 2006. SWEP provides all Victorian schools with water and energy efficiency education that is grounded in real-world experience.

Schools that participate in the water monitoring package are fitted with two data loggers that track the school’s water consumption and enable them to quickly detect leaks and faulty appliances, which can then be rectified, resulting in water and cost savings. As of 31 October 2017, 962 participating SWEP schools have saved more than 4.4 billion litres of water that would have otherwise cost them more than $12.5 million in water and sewage related charges. In the City of Whitehorse, 18 SWEP schools have collectively saved more than 33 million litres of drinking water that would have otherwise cost them more than $126,000.

More than 170 schools across Victoria are currently participating in SWEP’s electricity monitoring package.  By accessing interval data and gaining a better understanding of their consumption participating schools have been able reduce their overall electricity consumption by as much as 20%. Schools have been able to track and use electricity consumption data from SWEP to deliver successful business cases for the installation of energy efficient devices that have further contributed to school savings.

For more information visit the SWEP website.

Eastern Alliance for Sustainable Learning (EASL)

EASL logoThe Eastern Alliance for Sustainable Learning (EASL) is comprised of 5 member Councils, of which Whitehorse City Council is one (the others being Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, and Yarra Ranges). The Alliance provides the opportunity to deliver a range of programs typically beyond the reach of individual councils.

EASL offers professional development, networking and other educational sessions to sustainability educators within the member council areas. These sessions are primarily for teachers, parents and others within the educational community who have an interest in sustainability education.  EASL helps to support its members in delivering their respective objectives for environmentally sustainable, resilient, thriving and engaged communities and adds value to each member Council’s existing strategies, policies and plans.

EASL provides a number of sustainability initiatives to those within the member council areas and is committed to promoting innovative learning and teaching that fosters environmental citizenship; advocating for a strong and consistent commitment to learning for sustainability; and building capacity of local education providers and member Councils to deliver effective sustainability initiatives to their communities.

For more information about EASL’s events and activities, and to subscribe to EASL’s newsletter, visit the EASL website

Other Council programs for schools and early years

Recycling education for schools and early years

Whitehorse City Council in partnership with its kerbside recycling service provider, Visy Recycling, offer schools and early years free education sessions about recycling. These sessions aim to give to students and the wider community the tools to get recycling right at home and understand the benefits of why we do it. The sessions run for approximately 45 minutes and covers the following topics:

  • Why recycling is important
  • What materials can and can’t be recycled at home
  • How we can reduce waste
  • How recyclables are separated and sorted at Visy
  • What Visy makes with recycled materials

Sessions best suit an average class size but arrangements can be made if there are additional people that would like to be involved. If you are interested in booking a recycling education session, please send your enquiry to Natasha Primo from Visy Recycling. In your email please provide the number of participants and some dates and times that best suit you.

Composting Rebate

Council’s Home Composting Incentive Program has been extended to schools as well as residents. It is a $30 rebate to make it easier and cheaper to convert kitchen organics and garden prunings into compost. Schools can apply for the rebate when they buy $100 or more of eligible composting products from local suppliers within 12 months prior to the claim date.

For more information, visit Home Composting Incentive Program.

ParksWide Environmental Education Program

The Environmental Education Program is a free service run by Council’s ParksWide officers and a team of knowledgeable volunteers. The program provides environmental and sustainability education for local schools, pre-schools and a diverse range of community groups in bushland settings.

For more information visit Environmental Education Program.

Sustainable Transport

Visit Sustainable Transport Options for Students for more information.

Youth Services

Council’s Youth Services Unit provides a broad range of programs and support services to young people aged 12-25 and their families in the City of Whitehorse. The services aim to empower all young people in the City of Whitehorse to make a healthy and safe transition into adulthood in a community where they are valued and respected.

For further information regarding the services provided by Council’s Youth Services Team, visit Youth Services.

Whitehorse Early Learning Services (WELS)

Council's Whitehorse Early Childhood Services consist of five long day care centres that provide care and education for children between the ages of zero and six years.

Visit WELS for more information.