Our Solar Project: Let the sunshine shine on us!

by Let The Sunshine Shine On Us! in Sutton Valence, England, United Kingdom

Our Solar Project: Let the sunshine shine on us!

Total raised £9,659

raised so far

+ est. £1873.00 Gift Aid



We are a green school and want to install solar panels on the roof so we can offer our pupils a bright future powered by renewable energy.

by Let The Sunshine Shine On Us! in Sutton Valence, England, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 16th December 2019 we'd raised £9,529 with 242 supporters in 27 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

Who We Are

We are Sutton Valence Primary School, a small community primary school in rural Maidstone, Kent. We are a green school and are constantly looking for new ways to lead our school community towards a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable future. We are therefore passionate about reducing our carbon footprint and the impact that our school has on the local community and the wider environment. This is demonstrated by a consistently green approach in how we educate our pupils, subsequently both supporting and encouraging them to believe they can make a difference to the long-term sustainability and the future of our planet.

Our school has previously won local awards for the green initiatives and opportunities put in place by our pupils and staff. In 2018 we were winners of the Green School Awards, winning both "Best Nature Conservation School (Maidstone)" and "Overall Nature Conservation Champion”. Furthermore, only two months ago our school was voted Runner Up in the Kent Life Garden of the Year awards, in the "Primary School Garden Of The Year" category. The school subsequently featured in the November edition of the Kent Life magazine.

Sutton Valence Primary School is committed to recycling, upcycling, and re-using of all resources where at all possible, and this commitment is further evidenced in our ever-improving Forest School provision. Our green approach, and constant evolving and development of schemes to further this, is rolled out to pupils in all year groups and through all areas of our curriculum.

What We Want To Do

We want to make our dream a reality!

Our project catchline of “Let The Sunshine Shine On Us” reflects our simple goal – to reduce our demand on fossil fuels and instead use energy from sunlight to generate electricity to power our school. In turn, this project reflects the ethos of our school and we hope to lead by example; to educate and inspire others to make greener choices and switch to renewable energy strategies.

As a school we have recently explored the option of solar panel installation on the roof of our school in order to make the switch to renewable energy. We have established that our school is a suitable site for solar panels. We have sought advice from industry-leading experts and plan to install a micro inverter system of 100 high efficiency solar panels, which will help us to reach our goal of becoming a zero bill eco school where both learning and play are powered by the sun.

Why Do We Want This?

Because we want to run on sun!

Solar panels convert the sun’s energy, which is available readily and at no cost, into electricity that can be used to power our primary school. This energy is clean and green, as solar panels do not emit any air pollution or release greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide. These gases are produced when fossil fuels are burned, leading to rising global temperatures and climate change. Our school wants to dramatically reduce, and eliminate where possible, its contribution to climate change by shrinking our carbon footprint. Our pupils are educated and encouraged to understand that they, as individuals, can make a difference by making smart choices that consider the impact of a particular activity on the environment.

The roof of our school has already been confirmed as a suitable site for the installation of solar panels which means that the only hurdle between our school and its goal is funding. Renewable energy has an upfront cost that our school budget simply cannot stretch to, but once installed the rewards and benefits are immeasurable! By using renewable energy to power our school, we can rest assured that the consistent source of this energy, the sun, won’t run out resulting in a greener educational space for our current pupils, and those in years to come.

Did you know that if we could capture all of the sun’s energy shining on our planet for just one hour, we could power the entire world for a whole year! Once installed, our solar panels would also be used to instil in our pupils and their families a deeper understand of, and consistent interest in, playing their part in building a sustainable future for everyone. Our school believes in leading by example and it is our hope that, alongside taking steps to make ours a zero bill eco school, we can also inspire wider environmental awareness throughout our local community and beyond.


How We Will Make This Happen

Our appeal to you via Crowdfunder is part of a wider fundraising strategy that will hopefully enable us to raise the £42,000 required in order to install solar panels on the roof of our school. We hope to attract the interest of businesses great and small, those that share our passion for renewable energy and being green, local organisations, families and individuals, and indeed anyone that will support our goal, help us achieve it, and therefore “Let The Sunshine Shine On Us!”. We are putting our dream out there in the public domain, and therefore in front of people that really can help us to make a difference. No pledge is too small; we encourage our pupils to believe that just one person and one idea can change the course of something that is much bigger than them. This appeal is no different at all – your pledge, however large or small, could make a difference and make our goal achievable.

There is simply no risk. Our solar project will definitely go head; our renewable energy system will be installed as soon as we reach our fundraising target. Once the installation is complete, we also intend to hold a switch-on celebratory event to which we will invite all those who support us in making it happen.

Clean energy for a bright future; something our school wants for each and every pupil that shares our journey.

The History Of Our School and Village

Our school is situated on the edge of the village of Sutton Valence, overlooking the Weald of Kent. It serves the three Suttons - the villages of Sutton Valence, Chart Sutton and East Sutton.

The 'old school' was built in 1914, on a site adjacent to the A274, almost completely surrounded by orchards. Attending children, aged 5 to 14 years, were catered for in 5 classrooms. A wooden partition separated two of these rooms which could be opened to create one larger room/hall. Remnants of the partition can still be seen at the back of the current Year 5 classroom. The present toilet block next to Year 6 formed the fifth classroom.

During the Second World War an air raid wardens' post was built at the southern end of the playground. The shelter for the school was situated at the other end of the playground on the site now occupied by Year 1. Children from London were evacuated here during the war, and the school worked part time sessions to accommodate everybody.

In the 1950s the two classrooms, now Years 3 and 4, were constructed, closely followed by the dining hall, kitchens, and assembly hall. The brick shelter and an old wooden canteen/kitchen had to be demolished for these new buildings.

The present Key Stage 1 area was built in the 1960s to replace two mobile classrooms, which had been erected on the bank alongside the hall. Later, a swimming pool was constructed alongside this new building in the early 1970s. At this time, the children had to cross the main road to use the recreation ground for sports and games, or use the small area of grass remaining on the north side of the site. It was not until the early part of the 1990s that the kitchen closed and became a work room (now the headteacher's office). A library was established at the opposite end of the dining room. The nature garden/pond area was developed at about the same time. In April 2007 our office block was completed linking the original 1914 building to the rest of the school. This meant that the school library could be rehoused into the old office and a small family and small group work room set up.

In September 2007 the school was granted planning permission to renovate the remaining Air Raid Warden Post into a family/community room. The room provides a permanent home for our wraparound service.

In 2016 we installed a school Forest area. We started small with a shed to keep our tools in. This has grown into a larger area that includes our chickens, covered area for studying, and a fire pit. We have also developed an area for our school allotment. We use all of our outdoor space including the making of dens in the forest tree area. 

The earliest mention of the village of Sutton Valence itself was in 814. Both Iron Age and Roman artefacts have been found in the area over time. Sutton Valence features a castle which was built in around 1150, the original manor being owned by the brother of Harold who later became King of England in 1066 only to be defeated by William the Conqueror. At this time, the village was recorded in the Domesday Book under the name of Sudtone (South Town, or Sutton). In the 14th century, the wooden St Mary's church was rebuilt using local ragstone, a grey limestone, which was possibly quarried in nearby Boughton Monchelsea.


This project offered rewards

£10 or more

£10 Reward

We will keep you informed of our project progress, latest news, and installation date once total funds are raised. Feel involved and part of something special, because you have helped to make our project happen.

£20 or more

£20 Reward

Guided tour of the school and of the solar equipment installed, as well as VIP invitation to our celebratory switch-on event once the installation is complete, where you will join staff and pupils for delicious nibbles, drinks, tea and cake as well as other supporters like yourself who have helped make our dream a reality.

£30 or more

£30 Reward

Have your name, or the name of your organisation, added to the Solar Project section of our school website to be displayed online and in the public domain for many years to come as a Thank You for your support in making our project happen.

£50 or more

£50 Reward

We will etch your name, or the name of your organisation, on an individual leaf on our Thank You Tree which will be displayed at our school for everyone to see for many years to come as a Thank You for your support in making our project happen.

£150 or more

£150 Reward

A special Thank You card, designed by the winner of our school drawing competition, to deliver a huge thank you from our pupils who will benefit directly from your pledge as an investment into a cleaner and brighter future for them.

£200 or more

£200 Reward

As a public thank you your pledge will be announced during our celebratory switch-on event which will be attended by the press, as well as on our website and Facebook page, and in our school newsletter. You will be invited to display any marketing material at our event both internally and externally as a representation of your incredible support.

£275 or more

£275 Reward

A tour of the school and Forest School area, and the chance to enjoy a hot chocolate with some of our staff and pupils, and roast marshmallows over the campfire.

£405 or more

£405 Reward

A simple, direct donation of £405 will pay for one of the one hundred required solar panels to be installed on the roof of our school!

£750 or more

£750 Reward

Forest School lesson and campfire cookery experience! Come along to out Forest School and gain some survival/bushcraft skills in whittling, lighting fires with flint and steel, identify trees/wildlife, and have a cuppa made in our Kelly Kettle.

£1,000 or more

£1000 Reward

A handwritten letter from some of the pupils at our school, thanking you or your organisation for helping them to have a brighter, cleaner and greener future.

£10,000 or more

£10000 Reward

Your extraordinary pledge will be recognised with a room named after you or your organisation at our school as a commemoration or your incredibly kind donation and support. A plaque will be put on the door for all visitors to see and recognition will be announced at our celebratory switch-on event, which will be attended by the press.

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