Recently Whitchurch Church Of England School was awarded ‘Silver Eco School’ status, an initiative lead by teacher Sam Ottewell.
Eco-Schools is an international award programme that guides schools on their sustainable journey, providing a framework to help embed these principles into the heart of school life. Eco-Schools is one of five environmental education programmes run internationally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). There are 46 countries around the world that run the Eco-Schools programme, linking more than 40,000 schools – from the UK to France, from Morocco to South Africa.
The school followed a seven-step process which addressed a variety of environmental themes, ranging from litter and waste to healthy living and biodiversity. The children are the driving force behind Eco-Schools – they led the E.C.Os (Environmental Community Operation) and carried out an audit to assess the environmental performance of the school. Through consultation with the rest of the school and the wider community it was the pupils that decided which environmental themes they wanted to address and how they were going to do it.
In order to get the Silver Award many changes were made to school life. Such initiatives as ensuring every class has recycling and reuse boxes, introducing chickens, having an allotment, reducing kitchen waste by giving it to the chickens, having compost bins and having a Green day where each class spent the day focussing on a particular sustainable issue.
It is thanks to all the committment and hard work of the children, teachers and members of the community that the school has come so far in such a short time. When the children were asked what they thought of the Eco School project, some responses were:
“We think the improvements we have made have made a real difference. We enjoyed Green Day, especially looking at what the other classes were doing.”
“I think monitoring our food is a good idea so we learn not to waste.”
“I like being an eco school because it means we are helping the environment.”
The school has an action plan for the future and hopes to achieve its ‘green flag’ status, making it the ‘ultimate’ green school .
With Sam’s departure from Whitchurch School the initiative will be taken over in the new school year by Francis Salter.