01 July 2011

A team dedicated to helping the county’s young people learn more about waste and recycling through educational trips, events, and activities has received a national accolade for quality.

The Northamptonshire Waste Education Team has been awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge for its ongoing work with schools and other education providers countywide.

The team, which is funded by the Northamptonshire Waste Partnership and Northamptonshire County Council, carries out waste management lessons and activities in the classroom and assemblies. It also organises educational visits for young people including trips to the Waste Education Centre in Northampton , tours of landfill sites and road shows with the Waste Education Bus. During the last academic year 22,000 pupils across the county were visited by the team.

The LOtC Quality Badge is awarded by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, a national body that aims to make it easier for teachers to identify providers of quality educational visits. Organisations display the Quality Badge as a signal to schools that their team has met required standards, so teachers do not need to carry out their own risk or quality assessments.

To gain the accreditation, the Waste Education Team demonstrated how the information and support they provided to teachers and schools helped to enhance the learning of their pupils, as well as how the team evaluate and develop its work to improve the quality of the service it provides.

Councillor Chris Millar, chairman of the Northamptonshire Waste Partnership, which consists of all seven district and borough councils and the county council, said: "Achieving this badge is excellent news and really recognises the quality of the service that the Waste Education Team is providing.

"It will also help to reduce red tape and provide assurance for schools and colleges across the county that want to enhance their pupils' learning of waste and recycling through experiences outside the classroom."

Councillor Ben Smith, Northamptonshire County Council's cabinet member for Environment, said: "This is a real coup for the Northamptonshire Waste Education Team as it shows that they offer young people the type of high quality learning experiences they really benefit from. I'm thrilled they have received this official recognition for their efforts."

The LotC Badge was launched two years ago as part of the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto, a national initiative to ensure young people are given more opportunities to have these experiences as part of the curriculum.

For more information about the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge, please visit www.lotcqualitybadge.org.uk