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St Mary’s School is awarded the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award!

St Mary’s School is awarded the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award!

The Green Flag award is awarded annually and encourages schools to make meaningful differences to their environment on a continual basis rather than as a one-off activity. Using The Green Flag resources we identified Waste, Transport and Healthy Living as opportunities where we could bring about significant and ongoing changes. 

“I am so proud of the St Mary’s School Eco Committee, especially its core members and all they have worked to achieve this year. The feedback from The Eco Schools Award was glowing and incredibly positive; it is wonderful that St Mary's School has been recognised for all it aims to do with relating to sustainability. In a time of uncertainty and extreme weather it has been heartening to work alongside such dedicated, thoughtful, passionate young people who care about protecting the environment now and in the future. I look forward to seeing what new ideas and ventures the students have in taking the school towards being more sustainable.” -Harriet Whiting, English Teacher 

To achieve a distinction, we completed the Bonus Educational Questions and Bonus Environmental Impact section.  

We followed the Green Flag’s seven programme steps with great success: 

  1. The Eco-Committee. This is a group of St Mary’s students who, supported by the school’s sustainability coordinator, are committed to identifying and delivering environmental projects to benefit the whole school community. 

  2. Environmental Review. We identified and evaluated areas for improvement within the school, rating them against the Eco-Schools criteria. 

  3. Action Plan. Taking our three chosen areas, we developed real activities to improve our eco-friendly environment. 

  4. Curriculum Links. As well as taking action, we felt that it was equally important to educate students about the need for change, and to bring  climate change issues to the forefront throughout the school curriculum. 

  5. Informing and Involving. We want our students to share their experiences and opinions about being more environmentally conscious. We actively encourage our students to discuss the projects they have been involved in with friends, families and teachers.

  6. Monitoring and Evaluation. This is now an essential part of our process to continually improve the effectiveness of the projects and goals that we aim to achieve. 

  7. Eco-Code. As a culmination of our hard work, we created an Eco-Code to help put their knowledge into practice, and to bring about real change in their surroundings and environment. 

These are the highlights of our successes so far, as well as the aspirations we have yet to achieve: 

  • Increased awareness about healthy lifestyle choices that will have a positive impact on the planet 

  • Created a School sensory garden with specially selected plants to engage the different senses, a comfortable seating area, bird feeders and fully booked bug hotel! 

  • Host regular outside yoga classes, promoting healthy living, mental health awareness, and the importance of engaging with the natural world 

  • We continue our themed “Eco-Thursdays” initiative where we spend lunchtime at the Botanical Garden and follow the Climate Change Plant Trail 

  • Students enjoyed mindfulness baking sessions where they baked nature-themed biscuits to foster a sense of appreciation for both nature and food.

Harriet Whiting, English Teacher, share why environmental issues and commitment to being active is important to the school and our students: 

‘The current situation that society and the world find themselves in, with extreme weather, extinction of animals, destruction of habitats and ecosystems as well as environmental injustice around the world means it is imperative that we all do as much as we can to mitigate the effects of climate change and prevent further damage on the environment. The students deeply care about this issue as it will unavoidably affect them in their futures and lives. St Mary's students are compassionate, thoughtful and considered so it follows that they wish to do all they can to protect and save others harmed by climate change, people, animals and ecosystems.’