School stories

Case studies

Here are four case studies outlining a whole school approach to sustainability learning from school ethos, to managing resources, teaching and learning.

You can read them online or download a PDF version. We would like to thank and congratulate the schools involved.

Primary Schools

Aldavilla Public School

An outdoor learning area

A strong environmental conscience can be communicated through our students to family, friends and the wider community to create wellbeing for all.

Community Projects Co-ordinator, Aldavilla Public School

Aldavilla Public School opened in 1992 and is located west of Kempsey in a rural setting close to the Macleay River and Stuart McIntyre Dam. In 2010 it has an enrolment of approximately 250 students, with a significant percentage of Aboriginal students.

Read the Aldavilla Public School story (PDF 801KB) or Word version (DOC 50KB)


  • strong school ethos and Principal support
  • student leadership via the Student Parliament
  • building sustainability into the curriculum
  • networks and partnerships driven by the Community Project Coordinator and students

Our goal

Environmental conscience classes encourage student leadership, cooperation, tolerance and environmental sustainability.

All Saints Primary School

We will be successful when what are now called 'environmental initiatives' becomes a normal part of everyday practice within the school.
Rose-Marie Hoekstra, Principal

Staff and students of All Saints Catholic Primary School
Staff of All Saints Catholic Primary School

Founded in 1828, All Saints Catholic Primary School is the third oldest Catholic school in Australia. It is very close to a large shopping centre in Liverpool in Sydney’s south west, so has limited open space. In 2010 it had 662 students. Students come from 54 cultural backgrounds and 90 per cent are from a language background other than English.

Although the neighbourhood is becoming increasingly urbanised, there are natural areas of the Georges River, Chipping Norton and Heathcote nearby.

Read the All Saints Catholic Primary School story (PDF 794KB) or Word version (DOC 42KB).


  • school ethos, governance and leadership
  • focusing on curriculum organisation and teaching and learning
  • accessing support and funding
  • creating biodiversity in an urban area
  • networks and partnerships, including a focus on parents and the home.

Our goal

The students’ capacity for understanding sustainability has grown, but it needs to be continually supported to keep the school active and focused on sustainability and environmental issues.

Bungwahl Public School

"Everything we make is always made from scratch, teaching the kids essential life skills that they will carry with them through the rest of their lives."

Nikki Dixon, Kitchen/Garden Specialist, Bungwahl Public School

Bungwahl Public School is a small government school in the lower North Coast region of New South Wales, which has served an isolated rural community since 1876.

We value learning, communication, respect and safety.

The tranquil location of the school offers a range of opportunities for environmental study. In 2011 the school won a United Nations Award for their Kitchen Garden program.

Bungwahl Public School garden

Bungwahl Public School garden

Bungwahl Public School - possum in the chicken coop

Bungwahl Public School - possum in the chicken coop


  • delivering an excellent education in a warm and nurturing environment
  • school values of learning, communication, respect and safety
  • one of the first nine schools in NSW to join the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program

Our goal

"We feel that our students are developing an appreciation of the rituals and tastes of the table that will last a lifetime"

Sue Hobbs, Principal

Cringila Public School

Environmental Education works with kids on the fringe of learning. It empowers them with knowledge and skills and develops their trust in teachers. It gets learning happening.

David Lamb, former Principal

Cringila Public School has an enrolment of 156 students with three percent indigenous Australians, 45 percent from an Arabic background, 35 percent from a Macedonian background and ten percent from an African background. Historically the school has catered for children of migrant workers and new arrivals to Australia, and has a strong multicultural heritage.

Cringila Public School is adjacent to a steel works, and is five kilometres from the centre of Wollongong. The school also operates as a venue for many community groups including several preschools, a community church, a meeting centre for health and child development organisations and the Arabic Community Languages School.

Hear the students talk about their sustainable kitchen garden.

Read the Cringila Public School story (PDF 580KB) or Word version (DOC 60KB).


  • an understanding of how the parts benefit the whole
  • a focus on the best learning outcomes for students
  • a model for permaculture practice in education
  • outstanding networks and partnerships

Our goal

Gardens are designed and built to support the restoration of local plant, animal and bird habitats, and to acknowledge the school community's cultural heritage.

Secondary schools

Chevalier College

Be the best person you can be by caring for other people, the community and the environment.
A student, after returning from Kiribati

Chevalier College is a 66-year-old congregational Catholic co-educational high school with approximately 1150 students. It is owned by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSH) and operates within their Charism. Chevalier has 100 acres of well-maintained grounds in the NSW Southern Highlands.

Read the Chevalier College story (PDF 548KB) or Word version (DOC 35KB).


  • school ethos, governance and leadership
  • building sustainability into the curriculum
  • students leading change through an immersion program and student leadership structures
  • networks and partnerships

Our goal

The school motto is Fortes in Fide (Strong in Faith). Students are encouraged and supported to be the best people they can be and to be the best carers of others they can be.

Special education schools

Kelly's Plains and Mary Brooksbank

Kelly's Plains School, celebrated Schools Tree Day 2010 by planting native oaks, bottlebrush and acacias to improve their native garden

Mary Brooksbank

Mary Brooksbank School provides quality education for students with special education needs aged from 4-18 years. Read about their Life Skills Harvested in Garden Program and view the photo gallery.

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Page last updated: 27 February 2015