DOWNLANDS ECO SCHOOL
We celebrate the fact that we are a successful Green Flag school with our certificate renewed in 2017. The eco schools assessor commented:
‘It is clear that the school has a strong ethos of environmental stewardship and great to see top-level support for the Eco-Schools work. The school is doing a remarkable job with numerous projects and initiatives underway and in the pipeline to improve its sustainability. The students I met are fantastic young people full of enthusiasm, commitment and fresh ideas for making the school greener’.
This Year we will once again seek to renew our eco status so it is going to be a busy one!
In 2017/18 we kicked off the year with SUSTAINABLE SCHOOL FORTNIGHT in November with an emphasis on recycling and litter. Mr Cole and eco club led assemblies for each year group.
The idea was to post pictures to celebrate the positive things that were done to encourage more students and teachers to act more sustainably
It was moderately successful and we have around 120 followers but some spam has mean’t that the sustainable school site has been put on hold for now, we are looking for a small team of upper school students to take this on.
During ‘Switch off Fortnight’ and over the space of two weeks we monitored electrical use across the school during break and lunch. Certificates were awarded to the departments who remembered to ‘switch off’ rather than ‘leave on’
Our annual energy use for the 2 weeks last year was a little more than last but we have had a large new building and an increase in students. Congratulations to Languages, Science and PE for achieving Gold certificates. As a school community we still need to focus on wasting less energy.
During ‘Waste week’ – we focused on reducing waste and litter and organized a lunch time litter pick. We also organised a poster competition: 1ST PLACE was Nina Walford who won £20 for her ‘Bin it to Win it’ poster. Runners up were: Lily Ellis-Somerville, Lily Turner, Athena Ganpatsingh, Isabel Lunnon, Kayden Grierson, Farah Shippam; each won a £5 prize
We completed a survey about plastics in the canteen with the aim to raise awareness and reduce the amount of plastic used in school. Parents can help by encouraging the use of less packaging and refillable drinks bottles for packed lunches.
Students in year 7 and 8 also took part in the West Sussex wastebuster home recycling challenge as a science homework.
During ‘Walk to school week’ we organised a school travel survey for staff and students to find out their walking habits – this helped us to update the school travel plan. We completed a walk more challenge (or cycle) that led to a draw for a £50 voucher. This was given to the school by the organisation ‘Living Streets’. The draw was won by Year 7 student Frank Gransden. Around 200 students returned their cards documenting that they had walked more than normal. Thanks to all staff and students who took part in the survey.
We built a rain fed planter in the library courtyard fed by a diverted drain pipe. The planter was dedicated to one of our much loved pupil Daisy Bushnell who passed away during the school year. A plaque has been installed on the planter with Daisy’s name on it and it features a colourful array of plants that flowered through the summer. Thanks especially to volunteers from the Ouse and Adur rivers trust who made this possible.
Mr Cole has continued to meet twice regularly with a group of pupils in the Eco Forum. Students in the forum have been concerned about recycling and litter in school and whilst the new suite of recycling bins are being used quite well we are still not litter free.
During ‘Healthy eating week’ students took part in a form based healthy eating quiz with winning teams from each form enjoying a tub of strawberries for their efforts. Thanks particularly to Ms Reid from food technology for helping to organise this.
Madhavan Varadharajan and Nathaniel Tomsett presented news from the eco forum at the Governors report back session in the summer term of 2018.
Eco club took place last year on Tuesday/Wednesday lunch times and it was attended by a small but committed bunch. Students have taken part in many different activities. They have audited the schools energy use and have continued to monitor Downlands Half Century Wood. They have planted new trees where gaps have arisen and have noticed that the willow whip circle is growing well.
This year the Eco Forum will meet in the science room s8 on Wednesday lunchtimes every week 1 and Eco club takes place every Thursday after school from 3.05 – 4.00pm. We look forward to welcoming new members to both of these regular activities. We would especially welcome new students from Year 7.
Mr P Cole