South Wilford Endowed Church of England Primary School were recently awarded the Green Flag award after working tirelessly and passionately over the last year. Not only did the school receive the award, they also did so with honours receiving a Distinction grade.
The Eco-Schools programme enables staff and children to have an active part in taking care for the planet. This drive to help is seen throughout the Trust, with Children’s Parliament making sustainability and renewable resources some of their focal points for the year to come. The Eco -team worked hard alongside the Transform parliamentarians to implement changes that would have a beneficial impact on our environment.
In order for a school to receive the award they must participate in the following seven step process: Eco-Committee, Environmental Review, Action Plan, Curriculum Links, Informing and Involving, Monitoring and Evaluation, Eco-Code. For each step, the Eco-Committee had the opportunity to investigate their own surroundings and take ownership for the programme. The members of the club took the initiative to give everyone the chance to take the minutes from the meetings, enabling each child to gain new skills. The support from their headteacher and the governors only empowered the children further and highlights that their hard-work and effort is vital and valued.
This support gave the children the confidence to tackle some of the trickier aspects of the programme, most notably the Environmental Review. The review is a great way to identify environmental initiatives already taking place in the school, areas for improvement, and opportunities for quick eco-wins. The children proactively found the answers they needed for the review through the input from school stakeholders, such as the Office Manager and the Forest School Lead. The children showed their resilience and considered the impact their actions would have and which would be the most beneficial.
Not only did this have an impact on the children in the committee, one of the steps involves the Eco-Committee to inform their wider community and their school about their progress and achievements. This includes; pupil-led feedback, newsletters and a whole multitude of fruitful collaborations with individuals and organisations in the local and wider community. The Eco-Committee are now currently working with one parent on recycling crisp packets. The new allotment area, which is now used by all children throughout school, was created after working closely with the community and PTA to make this available to the school.
The children had a variety of proposals such as changing from paper hand towels to hand driers which the school was able to do. They presented their case and were listened to by a panel of teachers, which showed the children that their ideas were valued and that they could help to implement change. The Year 6 children also planned and completed a sponsored run to raise money for the Nottingham Wildlife Trust. The school have started recycling pens as this was something that the children noted were used a lot and they also try not to use any single use plastics alongside this. The school held an environmental week to celebrate King Charles’ coronation earlier this year and each class led a project during this. These included creating bug hotels, bee friendly gardens, pond clearing, litter picks, writing to MPs and improving the wildlife area. The school farm continues to be a great resource and has become more of an animal sanctuary over the last few months.
At the end of the programme, the Eco-Schools team has emailed the school stating:
“This is testament to the strong sense of ownership and pride that they have and shows that they are working hard to involve and educate all around them.
Your hard work and dedication have clearly inspired young people and empowered them with the belief that they can positively impact our planet – this is something incredibly special. We have loved reading about your journey this year and have been impressed by how your Eco-Schools work has united pupils, staff, families and the wider community to bringing about so much positive and impactful action. It gives us great pleasure to award you an Eco-Schools Green Flag with Distinction – congratulations!”
Headteacher, Natalie Aldridge adds:
“I am extremely proud of the effort and commitment the children at South Wilford have made in supporting our eco-journey. They have taken the time to really understand why the changes are important and ensured that what they do will be sustainable in the years to come. They planned everything carefully and set targets for themselves, ensuring that what they wanted to happen actually happened. They are true leaders!
Being awarded the Green flag with distinction is testament to their curiosity, love, respect and bravery which are all our school values’. Now we will work really hard to drive our eco-journey forward even further and we are excited to see where we can go in the future.”
We are incredibly proud of all the hard work that the children and staff of South Wilford have displayed over the past year. This programme has given the children the opportunity to gain leadership and teamwork skills as well as showing them the impact they can have on the wider community. At Transform Trust, we strive to give our children the chance to have their voice heard, especially to promote change. Well done South Wilford – keep it up!