5 Tips to Reduce Paper Usage in Schools

If we don’t take climate action, the collapse of our civilisation and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon

– Sir David Attenborough

A new study has found that primary schools in the UK produce 45kg of paper waste per pupil per year and according to BESA there are over 10 million pupils in the UK!

So, the question is what is your school doing to reduce your paper usage in schools? Here’s our 5 top tips for how you can start your journey to saving paper in school. 

Top Tip #1

Stop Printing Your Parent Letters and Newsletters

How many letters that you print do you think get stuck in the bottom of a child bag never to be seen again? Our bet is, there’s a lot more than you think!

Weekly newsletters are great for keeping parents up to date with what is happening in your school, but why are you printing them? Majority of people, in fact 96% of people according to Office of National Statistics have access to the internet at home, 79% of them have a smartphone. 

Instead of printing, post your newsletters and other parent letters on your website and/or email them to parents. The switch to online is not only going to reduce your paper usage but it’s also going to make the information more accessible.

Just make sure that you still cater for those who don’t have access, give the option to print a newsletter as requested. For other parent letters, what about creating a mailing list for parents you know cannot access online?

Top Tip #2

Switch Paper Processes to Online – Parents’ evenings, consent forms, data collection

Let’s talk about paper processes; parents’ evenings, school trip booking forms, consent forms, meal selection… the list goes on.

So many schools are still using paper to retrieve information from parents for various different things and there are SO many tools available to do all of this online.

Not only is using paper for these processes bad for the environment, it is costly , it is time consuming and data is difficult to keep secure and GDPR compliant.

Reduce your paper usage by switching online and receive your responses directly from the parents online with no need for any paper. 

School Spider (little plug) have a school app and website login for parents to complete all of their consent forms, trip bookings, parents evening bookings and payments online. You control what goes out and manage all your responses quickly and easily.

There’s also free tools available such as Google Forms or Survey Monkey where you can create surveys online.

Top Tip #3

Utilise Your School Website – Communicate, Teach and Market

Your school website is a great place to deliver information for both parents, pupils and prospective parents online without the need for ANY paper. 

Having a website where you can manage your own content means that you open yourself up to a huge teaching, communication and marketing tool. 

TEACH – Ever thought of creating a whole pupil learning platform? Full of resourceful links, homework sheets, videos and more accessible to your pupils online?

COMMUNICATE – Having a parents area section – Filled with important letters, newsletters, galleries and news about what’s happening in school

MARKET – Use your website to market to prospective parents. You can upload your prospectus, upload videos of your school or a welcome from the headteacher and have you admission guide and any forms to complete all accessible online

All of these website features will really help you on your way to reduce your paper usage!

Top Tip #4

Online Pupil Learning Tools and Homework

We have all had to adapt to this being online due to COVID, something not many schools have ever thought to do before.

Having an online learning area for pupils saves a HUGE amount of paper. Having an area where you can securely provide homework to your pupils, resources and have discussion with your pupils online is a great tool to stay connected and also massively reduce paper waste.

Checkout our pupil VLE or free tools like Google Classroom. The switch to online homework is going to be more and more popular come 2021 and if it’s something you can take on, it could make a huge difference.

Top Tip #5

Introduce, Implement and Teach to Recycle

Paper usage cannot always be avoided, so when you do have to use it make sure you are recycling. 

Make sure that your pupils and staff understand about climate change and the impact that not recycling has on the environment. It is important to make sure that you have recycling bins dotted around the school to make it a no brainer. 

” Together We Can Make a Better World “



Jodie Woodward

Brand and Communications Manager

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