During our TPM in October we visited Yuverta College in Nederweert. This pre-vet school invested in the development of a green paradise at their school to attract new students.
The amount of students entering the school declined during the years from more than 450 students in 2010 till almost 240 in 2019. Because of this decreasing trend the quality of the school was under pressure and actions were needed to attract more students.
The new director of the school Marisol Becerra beliefs in the power and attractiveness of a green learning environment and invested with her team in the greening of the environment of the school both outside and inside the school.
First of all the tiles at the schoolyard were removed replaced by a natural pond and garden, a vegetable garden and a wooden open outdoor classroom. The old ugly wall surrounding the garden was also renewed through an inspirational green artwork. They call it the green paradise to indicate that it is a very friendly and attractive place to learn, work and relax.
The interior of the old school was also tackled. Through a partnership with a local nature photographer the hallways and classrooms were changed into green classrooms by adding beautiful pictures at the walls of landscapes, animals, plants and flowers. Even the lockers of the students were changed into green lockers by adding a large picture of a butterfly.
The effect of these changes were very clear. Teachers, students, parents and visitors were very enthusiastic and really felt at home in this new green paradise. This year the inflow of students has increased instead of declined. Will this be beginning of a rising trend? And is this the effect of greening of the learning environment? It is is not certain, but there seems to be a positive effect.
But how did she get the budget for all these changes?
Her main advise is to be active and creative to realise different kinds of budget. There are all kinds of budgets which can be applied for and can be combined for you own benefit. Also think about sponsoring and crowd-funding. A lot of companies, even MC Donalds, want to help and allocate money for greening, sustainability and education. So connect to your environment en invest in developing a good network with local partners.
This Good Practice makes clear that investing in an attractive and inspirational learning environment is important and will support the raise of students entering your school.
It also makes clear that connecting with partners in your local en regional environment is important because it can help you to realise your ambitions and goals. Invest in a proper network with companies, other schools and your local government.