St Peter’s eco champions win Green Flag award

Eco Council members with campaign poster and action plan

An eco-awareness campaign has won St Peter’s CE Junior School a coveted Green Flag award that honours the important strides children are taking towards a more sustainable future.

It is awarded by the Tidy Britain Group that runs the nationwide Eco Schools programme and has really caught the imagination of pupils of all age groups.

An Eco School Council was elected and an environmental review investigated areas where the school is already doing well and where improvements can be made.

This led to an action plan with three main areas to focus on:

  • Marine – children are collecting soft-plastic waste at lunchtimes to reduce plastic going to landfill with eco-arts messages delivered through music, art and drama to underpin the awareness drove.
  • Waste –  Eco School Council taught classes about composting and class monitors ensure composting of fruit and vegetable waste from lunchboxes and at playtimes. There are recycle bins in classrooms and litter-picking sessions at lunchtimes.
  • Energy – to reduce the amount of energy wasted there are signs on light switches which children are allowed to switch off. Class energy monitors check that lights and computer screens are switched off, with spot checks carried out around the school.

The council meet to decide on new eco-friendly actions to take; share ideas from their classes and lead assemblies, class meetings, campaigns and competitions.

Members recently took part in a special training day at Polo Farm in Canterbury with other schools learning about travelling to school safely, eco choices, eco products for home or personal use and had lots of fun plogging (picking up rubbish whilst jogging).

The St Peter’s green team has organised an eco-recycling competition encouraging reusing and repurposing. They made new clothing items, games from rubbish and one pupil suggested a ‘positive vibes’ jar for when a little encouragement was needed.

The group is also encouraging people to walk to school, helping to reduce the number of cars and emissions – they are asking drivers to watch their speed and park responsibly as well.

Head Teacher Tim Whitehouse is full of praise for the way pupils have embraced and engaged with the eco awareness challenge. He said: “The green flag award is thoroughly merited.

“As a school we are very aware of the need to improve our environment generally and to be responsible for the waste that we generate.

“The response of our Eco Council has been fantastic and is an inspiration for all our pupils to be more eco-friendly.

“Looking after their environment is an important message that we reinforce and that our pupils flag up in their home surroundings too.

“Our children are developing a social responsibility to each other and the environment through the work and awareness of the Eco Council, and it is something that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.

“Respecting each other and respecting where we live and our world in general is just part of our school ethos – and the way we care for our surroundings is part of that vital lesson that St Peter’s embraces.”

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