The Sea Company

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


We received a letter from Mr Green saying that he was concerned to have received a report from the electrical safety officer saying that there were a whole series of faults and hazards in our company HQ. He was also concerned about our very high electricity bills and wanted these to be reduced somehow. He said that if these problems were not sorted out our building might be under threat of closure.

After a brief discussion we found out that some colleagues knew quite a lot about electricity and some didn’t so we decided to find out as much as we could before addressing the problems. Over the next week we made our own circuits to make a bulb light up, found out about switches and added switches to circuits and did a survey of the building to find which items worked from batteries and which from mains electricity.

We then went into role as electrical safety officers, looking round our building for faults and hazards. The children worked in pairs with clip boards, making notes as they went around. This seemed to work brilliantly – I’d say 100% engagement as they did their job – so simple as well!! They found loose and broken wires, cracked socket cases, broken walls revealing wires, faulty lifts, sockets near sinks etc etc.They then had to go back to their office and write up their report, listing the faults and work that needed doing to remedy them. The following day one of the reports was read out to our colleagues who decided which jobs we could do ourselves and which jobs needed professional electricians. Then back into role as electricians / company workers sorting out the faults. They also made safety posters to put up round the building. I came back in role as the safety officer to re-inspect the building and the children showed me all their repairs – of course the building passed the test with flying colours!!

To try to cut down on bills we also made posters telling people to turn off lights etc when not in a room. We also began to discuss alternative sources of electrical power. Some of the children knew about solar power and thought that this might be a cheaper source of electricity and also better for the environment, so we decided to look into this. The children looked up information in books and on the internet and drew diagrams to show how electricity is made from sources such as coal and oil. They then found out about solar, hydro and wind power and looked at how a model car with a solar panel worked in the playground, making it stop and start by blocking out the sun.

After a company meeting most of them felt very strongly that we should convert our building to both solar and wind power, even though the initial outlay might prove to be expensive. We came up with a series of questions that we emailed to the council. Luckily my husband is a town planner whose area is sustainability so he emailed back with lots of advice about what to do, how to do it and grants available. We then wrote to Mr Green explaining what we had done to solve all the problems he had outlined and with a plea for him to give us the OK to convert to solar and wind power. They were thrilled when they got his positive reply but a bit nervous to hear he was coming the next day to inspect our newly refurbished reception area and to look around the whole building ……

Mr Green reminded us in his letter that we need to make sure that our company aims and values are be clearly displayed in our new reception area. We discussed what these might be, (changing the wording to ‘our promises’ which the children related to more readily). They came up with some incredibly thoughtful ideas which they then prioritised, giving very strong reasons as to why one promise might be more important than another . I was so pleased that their promises and prioritising was very much based on their increasing knowledge and understanding of what our company is about e.g. they were adamant that the most important issue was safety, both for company members and visitors – I felt this had arisen from re-enacting the dangerous salvage, from the practical test in the divers’ exam and from the work on electrical safety.

These were our final list of promises:

∑ To always keep people safe
∑ To always be kind
∑ To always do our best
∑ To always get the job finished
∑ To make everyone feel at home
∑ To restore things carefully
∑ To always be on time


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