Making a successful cluster
The work in this project cannot be carried out in isolation as good pollinator habitats need to be connected. One school can have a pocket of exemplar pollinator habitat, but offered in isolation the populations that this small patch can sustain are unlikely to be viable in the long-term.
This school cluster driven approach has been adopted to facilitate local landscape connectivity not only for the benefit of pollinating insects but also for the benefit of the children. Where these school clusters are successful their pupils will be involved in an exciting, long-term real world landscape scale project that reaches beyond each school perimeter. Pupils within the clusters should also benefit from a continuation of their learning as they transition from primary school to secondary. When a cluster works and stands together this will in turn represent a more powerful voice for change in support of a national movement for pollination.
- Establish cross-departmental groups which represent each school community (with representation from SMT, pupils, parents, teachers, support staff and the wider community.)
- Establish a steering group with a representative from each school group within the cluster.
- Commit to at least three face to face meetings of the group per annum.
- If time is limited, be smart and consider integrating steering group meetings into a standing meeting structure e.g. cluster or transition meetings.
- Linking the aims of the Polli:Nation project to the transition programme could be a shrewd move.
- Establish pupil Polli:Nation committees who will represent their respective schools at other events in the cluster thus facilitating the sharing of information and skills.
- Establish an online virtual cluster using social media.
- Each cluster will be provided with a dedicated web space on the Polli:Nation website to share what is happening and for sharing of best practice more widely.
- Invite representatives across the cluster when there are shared learning opportunities e.g. relevant training or new practical conservation experiences.
- Pool resources across the cluster e.g. buy in bulk, share tools, collaborate over lesson plans etc.
- Speak with a unified voice when approaching businesses, the grounds maintenance team, external environmental agencies etc.
- Be open about the developments you want to do as the impact on biodiversity will be stronger where you consider local needs and how to connect together.
By the end of your introductory workshop you will have formed a shared vision, which will be developed further during your workshops. This is the document your facilitators will use during your workshop.