Back in February of this year, Liverpool had the UK's Prime Minister on hand to open a new school. Tony Blair commented, "What the children will learn about at this school is that the environment is something that matters and it's something we can cherish," he said. "Maybe through this school and what I've seen here we can offer a vision for the future of education in our country and for the country itself." He was opening the St Francis of Assisi Academy. The school is the first inter-faith school (50% each Catholic and Anglican), that focuses on the environment. Design-wise it features a solar atrium (which is said to provide 3% of the schools energy), roof garden and furniture made from recycled materials. But what is more interesting is that 'environment' is built right into the Academy's curriculum. 11- and 12-year-olds, for example, are provided with a garden for each class, and integrated into their maths classes are real world lessons on calculating the purchase of materials for their own patch of soil. "The impetus behind the campaign for a green academy came from the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev James Jones. He and [head teacher] Mr Burke believe the focus on the environment will switch disaffected youngsters back to learning." And although only recently opened, it would seems this is having some effect, with many pupils reported to be studying harder. There are plans to roll out more schools of a similar disposition. Via ::The Independent, plus The Scotsman and Government News Network. PS. St Francis of Assisi is the Roman Catholic patron saint of nature.