Skip navigation

22 January 2008

One of the UK’s most famous doctors and respected author, Hugh Montgomery, has launched ‘Project Genie’– an innovative national education project, which aims to empower children to reduce carbon emissions in schools and in their homes - at Lauriston School in Hackney.

At the heart of Project Genie is a children’s book "The Genie in the Bottle", which tells the simple story of global warming and suggests ways each child, school and family can reduce carbon emissions and their impact on the environment. The Learning Trust is working with Project Genie to deliver books and teaching resources across Hackney, which will then be rolled out to schools across the UK.

Hugh Montgomery is an intensive care consultant and Director of the Institute for Human Health and Performance at University College, London (where he discovered the "first gene for human fitness"). Hugh and his family live in Hackney. Most recently Dr Montgomery was on TV presenting the prestigious Royal Institution Christmas Lectures series over Christmas.

Eleven other Hackney primary schools have signed up to test the project. To monitor the project schools receive an ‘OWL’ - a new wireless technology that measures how much energy is being used. In just one day of implementing Project Genie with the ‘OWL’ at Lauriston School – carbon emissions were reduced by 50 percent.

The Learning Trust CEO Alan Wood said, “Project Genie is a great new project linking reading with the very serious issue of global warming. The project aims to give the book to every child in the country aged 7-11 so they take responsibility for helping save the planet - it’s exciting to have it launched in our borough.”

Lauriston School’s Sylvia Taylor said, “The book and OWL have been very popular with the children – they are very interested in learning how to look after the planet. Our school is doing everything to help reduce carbon emissions and we are inviting Hugh back in six weeks to show how much energy the school has saved.”

Dr Hugh Montgomery said: “Climate change is an immediate threat and children know it. In Autumn 2007 a survey by E.ON showed that 20% of 7-16 year olds were concerned about global warming but only 3% about street violence. They are right to be concerned: it is today's children who will face the consequences of inaction. Project Genie aims to let children take control, by equipping them with the knowledge and skills to help schools, families and communities work together. Already, Lauriston School has seen its carbon emissions reduced by half – if this continues it will equate to significant energy cost savings throughout the year.”

‘Genie in a Bottle’ is also available for sale from Victoria Park Books. For more information

Launched in October 2007, Words Unite is a year-long, community-wide campaign from The Learning Trust and funded by Team Hackney to engage everyone in reading and aims to raise literacy levels across the borough.

The campaign includes a fun packed schedule of reading activities, initiatives and events run by schools, community and volunteer groups, libraries and adult education centres. More information can be found on the campaign website

For interviews with Alan Wood, Hugh Montgomery or Lauriston School, please contact:

Kathryn Hughes
PR Consultant
0203 249 1072

Notes to the Editors:

The Learning Trust is the not-for-profit company which runs all the education services for the London Borough of Hackney

Team Hackney is Hackney’s strategic partnership which is dedicated to improving the quality of life for everyone in the borough by bringing together the different parts of the public private, community and voluntary sectors

About Words Unite – Get Hackney Reading

Words Unite is a community-wide campaign to Get Hackney Reading. The year-long project aims to encourage adults, children and young people throughout the borough to become enthusiastic, independent and inquiring readers. It’s all about inspiring people to read more, to read together with family and friends and to enjoy all the different ways of reading.

The campaign goal is for people in Hackney to:

have good reading skills, which will help them to achieve economic well-being
use their reading skills to access information and increase their knowledge
have a culturally rich experience through reading
read for pleasure and enjoyment

The campaign is being led by The Learning Trust, the not-for-profit organisation, which runs all the education services for the London Borough of Hackney and is responsible for Hackney schools, day nurseries, play services and adult education. The campaign is funded by Team Hackney and involves schools, community groups, libraries, voluntary organisations and local community representatives.

In Hackney, the need to improve literacy, numeracy and key skills is greater than in any other London borough. (The London Strategic Action Plan for Skills for Life in London, 2006.)

Many pupils in Hackney’s schools perform below the national average in reading and the associated skills
Hackney is the lowest performing local authority in the country in terms of reading and writing
Almost half of all adults in Hackney have a lower level of literacy than that expected of a school leaver
Hackney’s employment rate is 55%, some 13.6% percent lower than that of the wider London economy, which is currently 69.1%

By looking at reading, we can also tackle some of Hackney’s key priorities contained in the Local Area Agreement plan which are:

Successfully tackling educational under achievement
Reducing unemployment for 18 – 24 year olds
Increasing access to low cost home ownership
Reducing the rate of violent crime and criminal gang culture
Reducing health inequalities for children and young people

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Kayak PR in the following categories: Children & Teenagers, Education & Human Resources, for more information visit