GREEN FLAG AWARD
The Green Flag award is part of the Eco-Schools’ programme, showcasing work and learning that schools do to highlight how we can help and protect our planet. Participating schools can achieve the level of Green Flag by submitting an online application and answering a series of questions based on the Eco-Schools’ ‘seven steps’: Eco-Committee, Environmental Review, Action Plan, Curriculum Links, Informing and Involving, Monitoring and Evaluation and Eco-Code. We are required to submit evidence showing the efforts we have taken to work towards the Eco-Schools’ ten topics. We have to choose three topics each year to specifically focus on. The topics we can choose from are: biodiversity, energy, global citizenship, healthy living, litter, marine, school grounds, transport, waste, and water. At HSMP this year, we have chosen Biodiversity, Transport and Waste. Our Eco Representatives (2 per class) meet with the Y6 Eco Captains for an Eco Council Meeting once a fortnight to help make our school a greener place. We write regular Eco updates for the Highcliffe Headlines and The Hub to send the Eco message out to our wider community.
(Please see the Eco Captains' page on the website in the Children's section)
Biodiversity is the amazing variety of all living things on our planet. It also applies to the habitats in which these living things are to be found.
An Eco-School can care for biodiversity by showing positive attitudes and values for the health and well-being of local habitats, plants and animals, as well as humans and by using the outdoors to learn about biodiversity. At HSMP we have been using and enjoying our school grounds with Forest Schools and Fresh Air Club.
We have brought plants inside with the help of our local community. The Eco Captains asked for donations of plants and pots on our newsletter, wrote to our Church and Stewarts garden centre and now each classroom has plants to look after. In Year 5 Science lessons they have been learning about plants and have taken lots of cuttings that we are nurturing ready to distribute.
In Year 4 we have been learning about pollinators and in our English lessons we created a fact-file about bees and then wrote to our local MP and council to ask for more habitats for the bees in our local area.
Eco-Schools is encouraging schools, wherever possible, to move away from car usage to more sustainable ways of getting to school. Our growing use of cars has a variety of environmental and health consequences. The more we use cars, the more the air becomes polluted. Exhaust fumes are harmful to health. The gases and chemicals released by engines make a large contribution to global warming and air pollution. Also, accident statistics show that our roads are dangerous, and heavy traffic and delays cause stress. Sustainable transport is any means of transport which reduces fuel consumption, pollution and car use. This includes cycling, rail and bus transport, walking or even travelling by scooter. Walking, scooting and cycling to school are excellent forms of physical activity and are also extremely beneficial to our mental health and the journey to school can make an important contribution to increasing our activity levels. Current research also suggests that more active children arrive at school more alert and focused, ready for the day ahead and this impacts on the results they get from their learning.
We are currently earning badges if we can actively travel to / from school.
Everyone produces a certain amount of waste, and schools are no exception. Most school waste is made up of food, paper and packaging waste.
At HSMP we are trying to:
Every classroom has a scrap paper drawer so that sheets are reused.
Every classroom has a recycling bin.
Every classroom has a lunchtime soft plastics recycling box that Eco Captains empty every Friday. Crisp packets and lunch wrappers as well as shrink-wrapped plastics can go in here. We have also reminded children about taking their food waste home in order to compost it.
The Eco Captains have provided each staffroom with correctly labelled bins for recycling.
Every year we decorate the school with decorations that we have made. This year instead of buying and using brand new craft materials, at least two of the decorations had to be made with recycled materials. After Christmas we collected used Christmas cards and clean plastic bottle tops from our community in preparation for next year. Hopefully all our decorations will be made with recycled materials next year!
We take part in Switch Off Fortnight every year. Each class has Energy Monitors who are responsible for checking lights and equipment are turned off when not in use and that doors and windows are shut at the end of the day.
We are conscious that by not recycling we can generate more litter. We have some litter pickers in school and we are working out a rota for classes to use them. We are hoping that we will be able to litter pick in our local community too.