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Howe Dell Primary School

Our Eco School

What is ESD? 

Education for sustainable development (ESD) is a vision of education that empowers people to take responsibility for creating a sustainable future. ESD has its roots in the fields of environmental education and development education. It is not a new idea but extends current thinking and practice in light of the increasing importance of sustainable development issues. It involves learning about issues and acquiring the knowledge and understanding, values and dispositions, skills and aptitudes that will enable young people to participate and work towards solutions to local, national and global issues. It also involves the development of thinking and social skills through investigating relevant key ESD questions.


Our ESD journey. 

Stunning images of the Old Rectory Drive site, some of which are retained forever in our Main Entrance to remind visitors, we have a past in Hatfield

History of Howe Dell

Howe Dell School was originally set in a historical building close to Old Hatfield.


The school occupied the former parsonage of Hatfield, a mainly Tudor timber frame building with early 19th Century additions. It was a listed building of great historical interest and charm. Four classes were housed in the main building and three in the separate Medway Building.


The Assembly Hall, Music/Television Room, Office and Staff Room were in the large rooms of the house and the stone flagged Entrance Hall made an interesting and elegant library.  The upper storey of the old coach house provided two large adjoining rooms for an IT Suite, which was home to 15 workstations and used by all except the very youngest children. The ground floor of this building was used for cloakrooms and lavatories.


The architectural interest of the building provided an invaluable resource for study. The extensive gardens and grounds, which include a variety of shrubs and trees, were used for science and environmental studies, as well as providing excellent subject matter for art and imaginative writing.

Howe Dell is Hertfordshire’s first ‘Eco-School’.  It is also the first building in the world to feature a revolutionary new heating system that uses the school playground to heat and cool its buildings. We are lucky to have many eco features such as:

  • a pioneering heating, cooling and ventilation system which captures renewable energy to warm or cool the building
  • a wind turbine
  • electricity producing photovoltaic panels
  • roof lights and light wells which allow natural daylight to flood into the building, minimising the need for artificial lighting
  • high-performance windows to reduce heat loss
  • classroom sink tops and splash backs made from recycled yogurt pots
  • 'living' sedum roof areas which help to insulate the building and promote bio-diversity
  • a water recycling system


Howe Dell School was relocated in September 2007 to the centre of the new housing development on the disused Aerodrome site.  The £10m project incorporates nursery provision, a community centre and a child day care facility. The architects have included innovative 'sustainable' elements such as renewable energy, recycled materials, natural ventilation and lighting, water management and sustainable construction.

The development has turned out to be a tremendous success with the building and landscape forming a fantastic learning resource for pupils, teachers, parents and the community.

History of the old Howe Dell

Farewell to Old Rectory Drive

Ex Pupil Niam created a movie to showcase our Eco Discovery Bus facility on Kingfisher Island. Designed to enrich outdoor learning and reuse an old bus, funded by our Eco Conference which was led by staff for 90 delegates. This project has been supported by neighbouring businesses!

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Eco Discovery Bus Project, an update!


  • Lovely outcome from Leadership Day is attached, to help plan provision.
  • Meanwhile Y6 have collated Pupil Forum votes and the Wrap will be white on a blue background, including many designs by the children and logos from our PCL and F & F Tesco sponsors.
  • The concrete base is funded by PCL, via our new Governor Paula Stenning.
  • F&F have provided a generous £4,000 this is likely to fund the wrap, releasing more school funds to maintain the bus in the longer term.
  • Parental donations total contributions are £537.07 from individuals and Christmas collections.
  • Our PSA have agreed to donate up to £3,000, if required: this will contribute towards resources including at least  2 scopes for wild life and planet or star gazing and binoculars which will subsidise parental contributions above.
  • Dad Dan Clarke has helped review space and design so that seats upstairs are being removed for space and tables for a full class to be available upstairs. 
  • Facilities team are meeting with Mrs Massey to consider storage and additional resourcing before the end of term

All systems steaming ahead for this exciting initiative, instigated due to consultancy funds from our Conference involving many staff and additional Senior leadership traded roles beyond Howe Dell.

We asked where in the World do our family members live, to determine what a Global School we are! Meanwhile we also used virtual reality World tours and Reception pupils travelled with a real pilot to Morrocco on a role play plane! All of thiswas part of Where In the World Themed Week which aimed to inspire real reasons for writing.

'Nature All Around Us' Assembly Theme of the Week, inspires staff to share some of their observations.

Our Eco-School (A joint Eco and Computing project)

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A group of children from Years 2, 3, 5 and 6 were chosen to create a short film for visitors and Howe Dell families to inform them about our school's eco-features.

First we agreed on our group vision and what our aims for the film were.

Next, we split into sub-groups to plan and write scripts for different areas of the school grounds, which all contribute to our sustainability ethos.

Then we used the school i-pads to film ourselves before taking our clips to the editing suite.

Children from Year 6 used the school Acers and Windows Movie Maker to add special effects, captions and transitions to our finished film.

We even had our school Computing governor come and oversee our work. You can read her full report and see some pictures from our project in the Computing section of our school website.

Well done to Martha for taking up the challenge of recording Nature on Your Doorstep, which was shown in Assembly to 500 people on Friday. A great example of Pupil Voice impacting on learning beyond the classroom.

Eco Summit arising from photographic workshops to inspire writing results in a public exhibition at the Galleria!

Wind Turbine

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  • Howe Dell Primary School
  • The Runway, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9AH
  • 01707 263291