We work on Eco Schools themes in lots of ways, and we use different things to help us:
The Eco Schools scheme has a website with lots of information, as well as the basic framework that we need to follow to get an Eco Schools Award.
Their website is here: www.eco-schools.org.uk/
We also use The Pod's website, especially for things like Energy projects, such as Switch Off Fortnight. Their website is here: www.jointhepod.org
Because a lot of our work has focused on biodiversity, school grounds and healthy eating, we also like the Co-operative's Green Schools Revolution website, which is here: www.co-operative.coop/green-schools-revolution/
Another place we get inspiration from for our outdoors work is the Royal Horticultural Society's Campaign For School Gardening, which you can find here: apps.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening/
Green Flag Assessor's comments: "The work with Forest Schools is excellent. Both the Eco-Coordinators and the Eco Committee are committed to the Eco Schools Programme. Well done and keep up the great work."
4th May 2013: Biodiversity
Our original survey of the school grounds pointed out how poorly we scored on biodiversity. That was the original inspiration for the garden.
We planted many different things, including wildflowers in a small area near the playground, and they were still flowering in November 2012. Now we can see some of the flowers that self-seeded from last year are flowering again, which is fantastic news.
The fruit bushes are also doing well, and the black currants have flowers on them ready to open.
June 16th 2013
Even more self-seeded wildflowers are appearing, along with insects who are appreciating them!
We've already seen carder bees, and there are also white-tailed bees - which you can see in one of these photos on a currant bush.
There are also leaf hopper eggs in 'cuckoo spit', doing well safely placed at the bottom of stems of long grass. We have deliberately left the grass long in places to allow wildlife to have a habitat.
Spring Term 2013
15th March: Red Nose Day!
We had our last Eco Committee Meeting of the term today, and at the beginning of next term we'll be choosing new committee members again! No one wants to leave, so after a big discussion we decided that we'll review this idea next term, to decide what we'll do next year.
We also decided to make our own Eco Committee badges, rather than having expensive, bought ones that everyone loses! We'll put it to the vote with the Eco Monitors before we finally decide.
Because we're very good at doing very fast displays, we did an Eco Committee Red Nose Day collage, which you can see on the main school notice board, with jokes and customised red noses!
And finally, lovely Mrs Gallimore wore her nose for us! Thankyou, it's great!
4th February: Green Flag Award - We did it!
The Eco Assessor, Mrs James from Long Eaton School, and spent lots of time with the Y6 Eco Committee members, and two Y6 Eco Monitors. They showed her round the school and the garden, and showed her our website and lots of folders of work - and told her about all their hard work. We are really proud to have gained our Green Flag, and there was much excitement when it was announced in assembly!
we never waste a chance to come up with something new...
We were having our Eco Committee meeting on the day that our assessment was postponed. The school had just had this week's copies of First News, and Mrs Williams showed us an article about the Total Green School Awards. Half way down the page we noticed a picture of a river dragon called Mizuchi, made from old drinks cans (it's on page 8). It's been made by pupils at a primary school in Long Eaton, and it gave us a great idea (or rather, lots of ideas, because that's what always happens when we have a meeting!). Mizuchi is a mythical Japanese river dragon, which will protect rivers and streams local to the school… so we decided that we would like to make an eco mascot from recycled materials, who can show everyone that we are Eco!
It's going to be a Recyclosaurus Rex!
We think that we can make it with a big, open, tooth-filled mouth - that you can put your rubbish into, which falls down into a rubbish collecting bag or bin. We then realised that we could make a few different ones, that could go in different places, perhaps in the garden or around school, with one large one outside the main entrance!
We did some sketches of ideas, along with some names and slogans… what do you think?
January: Assembly for Green Flag Assessment!
The assembly went really well, with lots of Eco Committee members and Eco monitors taking part. Naomi, our Eco Committee chairperson, pretended to be the eco assessor, and everyone else talked about all the things that we have been doing, by showing our website to the school.
January: Switch Off Fortnight Maths project display, Y6
It might have taken us a while, but it's been very complicated! Nothing we did seemed to be straight forward, but it's been a very interesting process, with lots of maths!
Four children from 6K analysed the electricity readings for the whole school, and readings from the ICT suite. We asked the city council to put a special monitor in the ICT suite, as we thought this would be a good area to target for energy saving.
Very confusingly, we had the highest electricity use of the whole year in the first week of SOF! After a lot of thinking and detective work, we found out that this was because of two electric heaters that had just been bought for the ICT suite, as it is not connected in to the main central heating, and is a very cold room - especially at the beginning of the week when school has been empty all weekend.
Our readings were better in the second week, as the heaters were removed to be used elsewhere in school.
We thought there might be a link with how cold the weather had been, so if it had been really cold (and dark / cloudy), classes might have turned up their heating, and needed the lights on more. So we got weather readings for the East Midlands, and compared these to our electricity readings. Unfortunately, this didn't help explain the high energy use!
We worked out how much it cost to run the heaters per day and per week, and also how much the PCs, monitors and printers cost. We accidentally found out that our older school computers are more expensive to run than newer ones, and that investing in new equipment would save money in the long term.
We learned that electricity is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), and that different power inputs and outputs are given on appliances like the electric heater. If you're trying to work out how much they cost to run, you can use different formula, depending on what measurements you have:
Watts = Volts x Amps
Amps = Watts / Volts
Volts = Watts / Amps
January: School has been buzzing with Stargazing this week!
Especially Y5, who have been exploring Mars! In the last meeting of the outgoing Eco Monitors, we had ideas to help the new Monitors in their jobs, but we also made some Eco Shooting Stars - there's nothing like looking into the universe to make you realise how precious Planet Earth is...
We will be appointing new Eco Committee members and Eco monitors this week (starting 7th January), and should know who all the new people will be by Friday! Mrs Cavannagh has handed in her class' nominations already! The Committee's first task will be to take over and update the class Eco Noticeboards! The Eco Monitors will be starting a new energy monitoring programme.
We had a meeting of the original committee members, and made a fantastic Eco Tree, which you can see on the school Eco Noticeboard. All the out-going members received a Pod Certificate in recognition of the work they have done. We also had ideas for the new committee members, to make their job easier. A big thank you to all those members who are stepping down!
We have lots of work that we will be doing, including looking at Green Procurement, developing work in the garden, and looking at Fairtrade...phew!
Fairtrade Fortnight 25th February to 10th March 2013
Waste Week 11th to 17th March 2013
Spring Term 2013
We look at our Action Plan, and decide what we can do this term. The Action Plan is really big (it's up on the wall next to the main Eco Schools notice board), and it has information about what we are planning to do for Eco Schools, and what Eco Schools theme each thing fits into. The Action Plan is made from all the information we got after we did an Environmental Review of the whole school. We did this over a year ago, so we have reviewed it (because we have done a lot of work, so things will have changed) and added some things, and taken away other things. We take a chunk of the action plan to get a Term Plan. This may change as we decide to move things around, but it's good to have a rough framework for what we're going to do:
1. Committee and monitors, all years
i. meet with original members to summarise and thank them. ii. appoint new members for both, iii. have first meetings and give new tasks (see 5, 6 and 7 below)
2. Energy project, Y6:
i. prepare graphs and information for display, ii. make recommendations for saving energy
3. Keyhole garden, Y5:
i. continue garden, eg fill with compost ,ii. choose and order seeds
4. Fire pit: decide which year group can help.
i. build seating and fire area
5. Action plan: New section to complete - Green Procurement, Eco Cttee
i. identify areas that we can change, ii. investigate changes we can make, and present to Mrs Woodhouse
6. Class noticeboards
i. give this as first and very important task to new committee members.
7. Green Flag, whole school
i. prepare assembly with eco committee to tell school about Green Flag, and importance of class noticeboards and putting information on them.
8. Fairtrade Fortnight 25 Feb - 10 Mar: Illuminate, Mr Fishwick
i. meet to design project, to include fair-trade tuck shop and cooking in school
i. using summary of work for all year groups, identify links with eco projects
10. Waste Week (the Pod) 11th-17th March:
i. theme is recycling to give new life to waste. We'll make shopping bags from old fabric,
including denim. Either lunch or after school sessions.
11. Establish gardening team: all year groups
i. get a group of children available to do gardening tasks at lunchtimes, including weeding, mowing, planting etc,
including washing 'red house' (greenhouse), planting up new trees and bog garden.
12. Visits to the woods: all year groups
i. find out if any classes will want to go, ii. find out how funding for transport will work, iii. see if there are any funding options - ask Mrs Woodhouse
Nearly the end of term, December 2012...
There will be a few changes now, as the first Eco Committee of the year sees some people staying on and some changing!
We're doing this so that as many people as possible get chance to lead the Eco Committee and our Eco projects.
We've had the Christmas Fair, and raised £44.30 by selling all the things we made - well done everyone!
Our energy project is nearly completed, and the data will be available for the school to see soon.
Happy Christmas everyone!
January: Extra roles for Y6 Eco Committee and Monitors
Because the Y6 Committee members are into their second term, they decided they needed specific jobs: we have someone to monitor and log the bird feeding station, and also log any birds that people spot. There is someone who will make a survey of wildlife in the garden each week, keeping a survey book of all their finds. Another person is keeping the main Eco Noticeboard updated, so that means going to all classes to ask for contributions.
Another group from the old Eco Monitors wanted to set up The Green Team, who meet at lunchtime once a week so that they can use the ICT suite to do project work. So far, they want to do some research into how we use and recycle paper. They're very keen!
Suggestions for the new committee from the old committee!
Everyone agreed that it's very hard to get people to do things for you! Committee members said that although their classmates were interested and excited to contribute ideas and news for the Eco noticeboards, it was very hard to get them to actually do it!
So we came up with some suggestions that might make it work better:
1. Send a letter home to ask for something specific, eg a news item, or recipe for our forthcoming recipe book. That way you are also involving parents and families, and maybe grandparents etc. too!
2. Have an Eco Assembly, so that everyone, including teachers, knows what we would like them to do.
3. Have rewards! For example, badges (like the Eco Warrior badge) or small gifts like ID guide books for people who really make an effort over a term.
4. Only the people who really make an effort to contribute can be selected to be on the Eco Committee; they have to prove they are dedicated!
5. Have a quick activity at the time when you ask for information, eg get people to write down their favourite meal when you're asking for recipes; if you're asking for news items, get them to write down there and then what sort of things interest them.
We'll put this information into the Eco Schools folders that every class has, and hopefully this will be helpful for committee members in the future!
Great News!! December 2012:
We have just been able to submit our application for our Eco Schools Green Flag Award!
If our application is good enough, we will be visited by a special assessor at the beginning of March 2013, and they will decide if we qualify for the award.
In the meantime, we will keep on working on all our projects, following our Action Plan, and generally keeping on with our Eco Schools work!
Our main Eco Schools notice board
We were able to put this giant notice board near the dinner hall, right next to where everyone comes in for lunch, so everyone sees it at least once a day!
We change the notice board once a week, to make sure everyone is kept up to date with what's happening on the various Eco Schools projects in school.
Our Action Plan is also there.