17th July 2020 — The Eco-Schools programme provides a unique opportunity that empowers pupils to lead change within their school and have a positive impact in their wider community. The programme encourages pupils of all ages and abilities to work together to develop their knowledge and environmental awareness.
St Ives started work towards this award in September 2019, with the sole aim of earning it before the end of the academic year. The school called it their ‘Big Green Master Plan’ and their first activity was to do a full environmental review of the school, with everyone having an input on what they thought they were doing well and what they needed to improve.
From that review, the school formed an Eco-Committee, made up of Eco Monitors who were selected by the pupils. The Eco-Committee then analysed the Environmental review and used it to build the ‘Big Green Master Plan’. This plan involved projects and initiatives that ran throughout the whole academic year, starting with a Pledge Tree. Every pupil made a pledge of what they would do to help the environment. They then wrote it down and stuck it on the Pledge Tree, which was placed on display in the main school hall, for everyone to see. Pupils saved water by switching from baths to 3-minute showers and encouraging their families to do the same. Pupils saved energy by taking metre readings and monitoring energy use, with an Eco Monitor in each class being responsible for turning off lights every time they left a room. Pupils cut down on food waste by 75% by consciously only taking food they knew they were going to eat. Pupils helped plan a hundred trees by working with the organisation Just One Tree and paying £1 to come to school dressed in green. At Halloween, pupils swapped costumes instead of buying new and equally did the same at Christmas by holding a Christmas jumper swap, as well as making tree decorations out of natural materials and making paper chains out of recycled paper.
The school also held three green festivals throughout the year, each focusing on a different area of environmental learning. The first was called Reduce, Recycle and Reuse. The second focused on Product Lifecycles and Energy and the third taught the children about Upcycling.
The culmination of these activities led to the Eco-Schools Green Flag awarding the school with their award at the end of their Summer term. Not only that, but within days, the school also received the news that it has been shortlisted for an award in the Environmental Category at the Independent School of the Year Awards 2020. The final results of this will be published in October.
Mrs Kay Goldsworthy, Head Teacher of St Ives, said: “Whilst we are undoubtedly thrilled to have received our Eco-Schools Green Flag, and a shortlisting for an award in the Environmental Category at the Independent School of the Year Awards 2020, it has been watching the children embrace all the environmental actions and learnings this year that has given me the greatest pleasure. I am convinced that what they have learnt this year will change their behaviour both short and long term and make them better global citizens in the future.”