We’ve deliberated, totted up the scores and collated the judges comments so we can proudly announce The Green Awards Education Winners.
Schools and nurseries are making huge strides in both the sustainable fabrics of their buildings and the sustainably focussed education they’re sharing with pupils and teachers. We hope you’ll be impressed by The Green Awards Education Winners.
Best for Outdoor Learning
GOLD: Outdoor Owls
Outdoor Owls is a nursery which takes children outdoors 10 hours a day, 51 weeks a year come rain or shine. They operate during the winter in their dark and cosy winter wonderland which they also say has lowered sickness levels significantly. Inspired by nurseries in Copenhagen, Outdoor Owls in the first nursery to operate a ‘move out’ model. Children living locally as well as those picked up on London mini bus routes are able to share the natural forest environment in Cobham.
Stimulating first hand experiences in nature include daily adventure walks, they grow their own food and plants and they plant a new tree for every new child who joins. The EYFS curriculum is followed outdoors and children are encouraged to take safe risks, growing up to be resilient and independent.
The team of outdoor educators is an eclectic mix of people from all background and includes a zoologist, professional dancer and marine biologist, all dedicated to improve childhoods, connect children with nature and grow future custodians of our planet.
Our judges said:
“I think this organisation is fantastic. Really love the opportunities they are giving children to learn from and love nature. Also increasing access to nature for inner city children.” Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
“An innovative educational concept for outdoorsy families and robust children.” Melanie Sanderson, The Good Schools Guide Managing Editor
“We love the idea that children are growing up to be more resilient and even healthier – reading that sickness levels have lowered is incredible. Outdoor Owls are more than worthy of being amongst The Green Awards Education Winners.” Victoria Evans, Editor
SILVER: Brighton College Prep School
Brighton College Prep School’s Beach School provides nursery-aged pupils and beyond to develop holistically through a range of hands-on learning experiences in a coastal environment. The children are encouraged to explore the natural resources on our doorstep in a setting that supports freedom and inspiration to cultivate a love of outdoor learning. The Beach School initiative is a part of the curriculum from Nursery to Year 8. As the pupils progress through the year groups, they participate in our annual Make a Difference Days where they take part in beach cleans and help their local community.
Kindness and mindfulness are key assets in this entry: kindness rocks are created by pupils painting inspirational messages for others to collect and yoga and mindfulness activities take place at the beach. Through team-building exercises like scavenger hunts, friendships grow and educational learning is enhanced.
Children also discuss ways to protect endangered species and now the school is a proud sponsor of CREA in Panama, a non-profit organization that offers educational and research opportunities to biodiversity rich rainforests of Panama.
Our judges said:
“I love the way this offers a completely integrated and holistic approach to education for pupils of all ages, from benefiting the individual spiritually, emotionally and academically to supporting the environment and local community.” Melanie Sanderson, The Good Schools Guide Managing Editor
“I like the idea of the kindness rocks and spreading lovely messages”. Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
“Helping children understand their place on the planet both locally and internationally through CREA is something to be applauded.” Victoria Evans, Editor
BRONZE: The Budding Foundation
The Budding Foundation is a tiny Sussex based charity that has made a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of young people over the 10 years it has been running. Founder Clive Gravett has a horticultural background and works in close association with Tates Garden Centres to promote outdoor learning by donating seeds, plants, equipment, advice and his time to hundreds of local schools, colleges, gardening groups, community gardens and charity organisation projects.
Many schools and organisations do not have the funds in their budgets to improve their outdoor space and so the charity’s work enables them to not only make necessary improvements but to actively involved young people in their transformation; many of which do not have the privilege of having their own gardens. The charity recognises the importance of outdoor learning for mental health and wellbeing. The charity also runs a Museum of Gardening to educate both children and adults on the social and cultural history of gardening.
Our judges said:
“Brilliant that they offer this support to schools for free, including donations of seed etc. Also, can see the importance with engaging the students in the ‘greening’ work they do. They also consider mental health and wellbeing in their outreach.” Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
“Wonderful to see a charity springing up that has the potential to make meaningful changes to the way city dwelling children understand where their food comes from and the benefits of gardening.” Melanie Sanderson, The Good Schools Guide Managing Editor
Green Early Years
One of the key aims at Little Downsend Schools is ‘Inspiring a Global Perspective’. At the heart of work at the nurseries is a desire to protect the environment, and by incorporating sustainability concepts and active environmental learning into the Early Years curriculum, staff aim to help children understand the importance of reducing waste and taking care of the environment.
Food waste bins help the children understand the importance of reducing food waste, and how through composting, waste can be turned into a valuable resource. In the Little Downsend gardens, seeds are planted in recycled containers and wildflowers in wildflower garden areas. Last year they created a Platinum Jubilee Garden of wildflowers for the Queen’s Jubilee.
Recycled materials are used for junk modelling and only eco-friendly glitter is used. Last year children created a large ‘sea-scape’ piece of art using recycled materials, which together with a healthy cake sale run by the children, helped to raise money for the Sealife Trust. Litter picking is carried out regularly and is used to teach the importance of keeping the environment clean and tidy, not just in school, but in across the local community.
Meat-Free Mondays educate the children about healthy eating, sustainable food choices and environmental awareness.
Since last year, nursery children have enjoyed taking part in Duracell’s The Big Battery Hunt, collecting a grant total of 1052 batteries last year! Posters up on the walls throughout out Little Downsend School have been created by the nursery children, to remind everyone to turn off lights to conserve energy and that walking to school is better for the planet.
Our judges said:
“Brilliant start to your sustainability journey, well done.” Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
“With everything from eco-friendly glitter to wildflower gardens, Little Downsend has got all eco bases covered!” Melanie Sanderson, The Good Schools Guide Managing Editor
Babbu is the UK’s first online nursery™ designed to support, reassure and empower parents and their children in the first critical few years. We are driven by a simple but ambitious vision: a world in which no child is left behind. We are firmly committed to democratising access to Early Years education and aligned to the UN Sustainable Goals, which state that by 2030 all children should have access to high-quality, Early Years education. Babbu’s business model is buy-one-give-one, whereby it offers access to the product free of charge to the UK’s most disadvantaged families via charitable partnerships.
Having spun out of a full-flexible, PAYG nursery during the pandemic, Babbu has been developed with Early Years experts, parents and clinical psychologists to promote healthy development in children 0-5
Built by parents and Early Years educators, we have distilled decades of scientific research and pedagogical theories, including Maria Montessori and Forest School to make it easy, accessible and fun; and put the tools, resources and expertise, seemingly reserved for the ‘nursery elite’, into the hands of parents and carers everywhere, navigating this journey with very little support.
As a business, Babbu is focused on building a better future for everyone. The curriculum reflects this by recognising and celebrating diversity, by ensuring all our activities utilise low-cost, or no-cost resources, by encouraging a love of nature, by encouraging recycling, reusing and reducing household waste, by teaching our children about the world, by recognising neurodiversity and learning difficulties and incorporating Makaton sign-language in all our videos.
We are striving to attain B Corp Certification by 2024, which underscores our commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
Our judges said:
“Brilliant that they support families less advantaged families with the buy-one, give-one project.” Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
“We applaud Babbu’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility and will watch how they continue on their sustainability journey with enthusiasm.” Victoria Evans, City Kids Magazine Editor
Green Junior School
GOLD: Downsend Junior School
Downsend already has an Eco-Schools Green Flag under its belt, in recognition of a commitment to pupil-led environmental action. The establishment of our Wellbeing Garden – as well as providing a calm haven for children to relax and connect with nature – introduced a sustainable focus and commitment to biodiversity, through planting for pollinators, the use of compost bins and bug hotels.
Dedicated teams of Litter Busters in the Junior School can regularly be seen walking around the school grounds in all weathers with their litter pickers and promoting healthier, wrapper-free snacks at playtime. The use of single-use plastic has been driven down through less laminating and students have even found creative ways to reuse plastic in art.
The school also received the RHS Gardening for Schools 5-Star Gardening Award last summer.
Eco clubs and Year 3 students have learned about climate change and participated in The Climate Coalition ‘Show the Love’ green heart campaign. Green hearts galore appeared in the well-being garden and children wrote excellent persuasive letters to our MP for action against climate change.
There is a new hedgerow planted along the school drive, as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy for her Platinum Jubilee, and regularly children combine plant growing and selling with fundraising efforts.
Most recently, eco teams took part in the RSPB Big Schools Bird Watch 2023, the RHS Big Sow seed sowing, and the Big Spring Clean 2023. They have also been working with their transport coordinator on reducing the number of cars with engines idling in our car parks at pick up times, producing flyers to hand out to ‘offenders’ and educating them on the effects on our planet and how easy it can be to make a difference.
Community initiatives have seen Year 6 students take part in a conservation project on Ashtead Common, creating a ‘dead hedge’ to conserve local paths.
More eco-initiatives over the past year have included:
- The Duracell Big Battery Hunt
- Green Planet Seed Bombs
- Tower in Bloom Wildflower Project Spring/ Summer 2022
- Plant sale at Y2/3 sports day and fundraising shared with The Patchworking Garden Project
- Growing plants to share with Ukrainian families event in Ashtead May 2022
- Food Waste Week – in conjunction with our catering team
Our judges said:
“Downsend has managed to achieve an incredible amount in the road to sustainability. I’m also very impressed that they encouraged students to write to their local MP, as well as taking part in many national projects.” Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
“Great to see this school making such a sustained and concerted effort to consistently improve their eco-credentials and educate their pupils about the importance of being kind to the planet.” Melanie Sanderson, The Good Schools Guide Managing Editor
SILVER: Liberty Woodland School
Environmentalism is taught as a core skill by a specialist teacher at Liberty Woodland School. Pupils feel a deep connection to the natural world, developing into the future custodians of our planet, while simultaneously developing high levels of personal well-being, healthier bodies and strong mental and emotional health.
Learning at LWS is project-based, with intellectually challenging, cross-curricular goals co-designed with the pupils to be meaningful, relevant and purposeful to children’s lives. Projects culminate in a celebration of learning with a public exhibition, where children present their learning through the term. Project-based learning develops pupils into critical thinkers, creative problem solvers who are excellent communicators and collaborators.
Last year, pupils hosted a London-wide community festival called ‘Save Our Futures’. The festival included speakers from COP26 and the Ministry of Eco-Education. There were also multiple local sustainability-focussed London community stalls. The children became environmental influencers, choosing one area of environmentalism, researching it deeply then using their research alongside a study of influential behaviours, to produce influential communications to the general public. The event will be repeated this year.
Other successes include:
- ISA award winner for Excellence in Sustainability, 2022.
- Installation of a ground source heat pump providing hot water and heating – no gas on site
- Installation of solar panels on building roofs, moving closer to being a self-sufficient school.
- Building a growing tunnel and garden beds to allow children to grow our own food.
- Moving snacks and lunch menus to be 60% plant-based, 27.5% vegetarian and 12.5% organic and sustainably farmed meat consumption – all food waste composted.
- Installation of rainwater storage to ensure all water used for play is rainwater.
- Creation of a school pupil led eco-committee, facilitated by our Head of Environmentalism.
- An environmental review leading to an sustainability action plan to reduce the carbon footprint of the school, become litter-free, improve waste management and enhance school grounds to be more attractive to people, plants, animals and insects.
- Working towards becoming a carbon zero school.
Our judges said:
“Liberty Woodland School has achieved a huge amount on their road to zero carbon and a more sustainable school. Not only have they completed a huge amount of structural work reducing their greenhouse gas emissions but empower their students to become environmental influencers and custodians of the planet.” Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
“We were blown away by the list of initiatives being undertaken, not only to ensure the school itself makes minimal impact on the environment but to ensure its pupils take their learning forward into their adult lives.” Melanie Sanderson, The Good Schools Guide Managing Editor
BRONZE: St James Prep
St James Schools have been at the forefront of promoting environmental-friendly practices for over four decades. Creating a vegetarian school in 1975 was a reflection of a belief that humans should be kind to themselves, others, and the environment in order to grow holistically.
St James Preparatory School and its pupil-led Eco Committee have been awarded Green Flag Status by the Eco Schools Group. The Eco Committee meets weekly to work on various projects, including improving the school’s litter recycling system, reducing energy and plastic use, and planning assembly presentations to raise environmental awareness. They have also implemented No Power Days, where the school switches off all non-essential electricity for a day.
The Eco ambassadors are passionate about their roles and regularly petition the school offices and senior management with their initiatives and projects. It has also published an Eco-Code to ensure that St James Prep maintains high environmental standards for years to come. A newly created vegetable patch, which holds six different planting stations for pupils to grow plants and vegetables makes growing fun and has resulted in several flower-growing competitions.
There are also two Forest Schools on site where pupils can play, learn, and discover. One of them is an area developed with the council in Marcus Garvey Park, just outside our school gates. Our Forest School educates Reception and Year 1 pupils by allowing them to visit the sites on a weekly basis, experiencing the seasons and a wide range of outdoor educational activities.
Year 6 pupils also have a residential holiday at Bushcraft in Oxfordshire, where they spend four nights camping without running water or electricity. This adventure not only heightens their awareness of the world’s limited natural resources but also reinforces their understanding of the importance of living sustainably.
Our judges said:
“What amazing work and fantastic that you are empowering your students to petition for different projects. Keep it up!” Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
“A leading light in environmentalism in schools.” Melanie Sanderson, The Good Schools Guide Managing Editor
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Kew College Prep
Kew College Prep is committed to a greener future for its children, staff, parents and extended community. Working towards increased sustainability, the school and its Eco Warriors focus on recycling, using eco-friendly materials, using only push taps and hand dryers in toilets, and reusing scraps for projects. The school is also currently in the process of getting its own Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation.
Some recent ecological achievements include making bird feeders for the National Bird Watch; setting up bird feeding areas in the school garden; planting with recycled materials; whole school litter picking as part of the Great British Tidy; procuring a clothes recycling bank; hosting a clothes swap; recycling batteries as part of the Big Battery Hunt; and recycling crisp packets, bread bags paper and pens.
Children also produced environmental art using found materials such as plastic straws, bottle caps, plastic wrappers and modcroc. In the future, the school is committed to increased recycling, increased planting to attract nature and more teaching into renewable energy.
Our judges said:
“What a brilliant start to your sustainability journey. Keep up the good work and don’t forget to collaborate with other schools/ organisations as it’s a great way to progress and learn from others.” Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
“Encouraging to see KCP making a convincing start in improving their their eco-credentials.” Melanie Sanderson, The Good Schools Guide Managing Editor
Read on for more of The Green Awards Education Winners
Green Senior School
JOINT GOLD: Putney High School
Few schools can lay claim to having won a coveted RHS Gold Medal, but Putney High School GDST did just that, when the Royal Horticultural Society chose its Biophilic Classroom project to be exhibited in the Discovery Zone of the world-renowned Chelsea Flower Show. The project was the first education-based study of its kind, re-framing how schools think about wellbeing, and environmental impact using simple, affordable steps to improve the classroom environment, based on scientific and behavioural findings.
As a design for the future, the project has captured the imagination not only of staff and students at Putney, but of educationalists around the world. Over 10,000 plant guides for schools have been given out and the research has been downloaded over 2750 times. The principles are being rolled out across the Junior and Senior schools.
Putney High Students recognise their role in and responsibility for the planet and enjoy caring for their part of it: a leafy corner of south west London campus which is also home to 32 species of trees with over 300 insect, 7 mammal and 15 bird species. This year an Ecologist in Residence is building on the school’s environmental learning with phenology projects that are encouraging pupils of all ages to learn more about ecology on a local level, through data collection and greater understanding of diverse habitats and protected species.
Outside of lessons, staff and students enjoy every opportunity to just be “in nature”. There are outdoor classrooms, a Bluebell Stage for both performance and physics experiments, a well-attended Gardening Club and a Junior Science Garden where younger pupils learn about plant culture and crop productivity. Climate change and future sustainability inspire Putney’s many entrepreneurial minds. Young Enterprise finalists and Year 8 Amazon app designers have found competition success winning awards for reusable sandwich bags, a ‘’Bare Ocean” campaign and the “Infinite School” app to recycle school uniform.
More broadly, Putney has been recognised by the World Land Trust and Transport for London (Gold Travel Award) for its ongoing commitment to carbon balancing and reducing pollution, and the work doesn’t end there. There are biodiversity house challenges and Putney’s elected student Eco-Committee pass on the baton every year, encouraging direct action through the school’s “Breathe” programme and harnessing student power to tackle environmental issues in the borough and beyond with simple initiatives to reduce levels of pollution and waste. Through the curriculum and the many activities beyond, Putney’s holistic approach to ecological learning enriches everyday life for the whole school community.
Our judges said:
“Is an ecologist in residence a unique feature? It’s a first for us! This, and PHS’s other initiatives make it a front runner in ecological education. Bravo!” Melanie Sanderson, The Good Schools Guide Managing Editor
“Brilliant work achieving RHS Gold Award and the Gold Travel Award.” Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
JOINT GOLD: Leighton Park School
Sustainability is one of Leighton Park’s core Quaker values. The importance of environment is reflected in the curriculum, and particularly emphasised in the interdisciplinary, cross-curricular projects, and expansive co-curricular programme.
In recognition of COP26, in November 2021, the school ran a series of events:
- Sixth formers making a documentary after attending COP26
- a whole school debate on the pros and cons of degrowth versus innovation across different economies
- each year group representing a continent, and each tutor group representing a country
- a giant jigsaw entitled ‘Together for our Planet’ curated through our Art Department which involved a dozen local primary schools
- and Year 9 and 10 Drama students visiting three KS2 schools to deliver a climate change play.
More recently, students from Year 8 through to the Lower Sixth joined the University of Reading for a Climate Change Action Planning Workshop. Leighton Park students created a sustainability game ‘How Bad are Bananas’ which kept primary school pupils engaged with sustainability issues. Pupils recorded the experience with a follow up documentary.
Also in March 2023, two teams of Year 7 students from NEWTs (Nature, Environment and Wildlife Team) Club joined the President of COP26, Sir Alok Sharma, for a youth Climate Summit entitled ‘There is Only One Earth’ at Green Park Business Park. The event united local schools and brought together climate experts from the University of Reading, and an energy consultant from Reduce Energy Ltd. The aim was to come up with pupil-led pledges in teams and for the delegates to collaboratively choose one pledge to commit to as schools for a year – with the ambition to meet annually going forward.
The Eco Schools student-led groups have achieved the coveted Green Flag Award, and the school has planted over 1,200 trees on the park this year, with the community also sponsoring a project to re-wild an area of the ancient Caledonian Forest in Scotland.
Our judges said:
“An extremely impressive firm commitment to change-making at a high level.” Melanie Sanderson, The Good Schools Guide Managing Editor
“I love the idea of creating documentaries which enable students to share their experiences and learnings from quite remarkable access to key climate summits.” Victoria Evans, Editor
The school opened in 2015 with the aim to provide a bilingual education in a green environment. Governors, staff and students collaborate to achieve their Net Zero target by 2030. The school’s Green Committee, driven by students, was formed in 2018 and the Green Symposium was born out of the COP26 summit in 2021.
A list of achievements:
- Eco Green Flag 2021-2023.
- Over 100 solar panels are fitted to the building which generates over 60% of daily usage.
- Smart LED lights used school-wide. They work out how much natural light streams in through the large windows and brighten or dim accordingly and have sensors which switch off automatically.
- Smart metres fitted to measure electricity and gas.
- Updated, smart building management system which talks to the metres and allows staff to see where energy consumption can be reduced.
- Bee housing for many years on the roof terrace.
- The Primary gardening club collaborates with the school’s gardener and teachers to learn about plants and flowers.
- Forest School on the campus.
- Students educated to remove food waste, eliminate unnecessary emissions and to think about green solutions. Collaboration with ReFood who uses the UK’s most advanced Anaerobic Digestion technology to provide an end-to-end recycling process that creates renewable energy and fertiliser from our food waste.
- The Green Committee meets with the school’s caterers to discuss how this area of the school can support the Net Zero target. At least one day every week is meat-free.
- Partnered with Wybone who produce the recycling bins. Wybone chosen due to their sustainable mission to use innovative methods to reduce their carbon footprint and their impact on the environment.
- The school provides a number of special bins in which to dispose of batteries safely.
- The Green Committee has been campaigning to educate their peers on single-use plastics.
- All staff were given a reusable hot drinks cup and all single-use cups were removed. Staff were asked to think responsibly about their impact on the environment.
Our judges said:
“The school has achieved so much is just a handful of years. It’s amazing to see what can be achieved when you have whole school buy in. Keep up the good work.” Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
“Making giant leaps in creating a sustainable school site.” Melanie Sanderson, The Good Schools Guide Managing Editor
SILVER: St Anthony’s School for Boys
While access to the popular leafy green surrounds of Hampstead Heath is a fair walk away, the school has compensated for this with several initiatives. Gardens where summer gardening clubs take place dot the open spaces of the school and over the summer, those opting to do gardening club get to choose and plant bulbs and care for the plants themselves.
Every classroom has its own plant growing experiments and children from all year groups up to and including Reception and Year 5 are taken once every half term on nature walks and to workshops in Hampstead Heath where they learn about wildlife, their natural habitats, rare plants, butterflies and other insects and most things in between ranging from animals with exoskeletons to sustainable living. The workshops are also related to curriculum topics and cover science, geography and humanities.
The school has an eco-warriors club that meets every half term and children are invited to express ideas about better recycling at the school, about how to work towards becoming a zero carbon emissions school. The children are invited to present ideas on what initiatives aside from what the school is already doing could be introduced.
There is a focus on understanding that lights in the classroom are turned off when leaving, to borrowing bags and litter picks from the council and taking to the streets in clean up operations in the local area. Children are encouraged to speak to the head of the school once a term to discuss ideas, projects and what they have been engaging in during the term.
Children participate in workshops at Kew Gardens which deliver key messages about making sustainability and learning about the impact flora and fauna have on their daily lives. They also learn about what they can do to create awareness and support environmental campaigns that they can either create or subscribe to.
The school has also subscribed to the Home Run app which parents access for daily class room and outdoor activities updates to minimise paper reports and notices. It also reduces school traffic, congestion, and offers alternatives to driving which in turn, helps reduce CO2 emissions and help local authorities and parents to work together to reduce school run traffic.
Our judges said:
“Brilliant work on nature projects, educating the students on importance of wildlife and biodiversity.” Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
“Making a solid contribution to education pupils on the importance of caring for the environment.” Melanie Sanderson, The Good Schools Guide Managing Editor
Best Student Initiative
Cottesmore is engaged in developing the “Sustainability Programme for Schools” run by The Kindness Bank, and has introduced a new subject, Sustainability, as part of the curriculum. The timetabled sustainability lesson provides a hands-on education in how the pupils can make the school and school site more sustainable. There are units in everything from resource management to re-wilding and habitat conservation.
One of our units incorporates the NFU’s Farmvention and STEMvention programmes and has the children design, cost, grow and serve up a sustainable menu – each Cottesmore girl and boy has the opportunity to create their own garden plot and are fully involved in the entire process, conducting market research, applying maths and actually growing their own produce that can be cooked in the kitchens for lunch or supper. They learn about food supply chains, carbon footprint and soil fertility, not to mention develop entrepreneurial skills which are going to become essential during their lifetimes.
As part of the new Sustainability subject, Cottesmore Croft was born. Cottesmore Croft is a sustainable and holistic farming project, with the pupils at the heart of it. Initially, Cottesmore boys and girls measured a site of the school estate. They researched which animals could go on the site, what we would need to construct in terms of infrastructure and where we could sustainably source those resources on the school estate. The first coop was created from an old bookcase and chicken run from the frame of an old swing! Since then, the project has expanded beyond all hopes and now has several structures including a duck house, quail run and farrowing barn as well as two new chicken coops made from old shower units! The children absolutely relish constructing the farm and for many of them it is the highlight of their week. They have been genuinely empowered by the idea that they can scavenge through other people’s unwanted material to create functional structures.
Cottesmore Croft rescued ex-battery chickens adopted from the British Hen Welfare Trust, rescued ducks from Fresh Start 4 Hens as well as own home-grown Indian Runner Ducks and Japanese Quail. There are four pigs and is taking part in a Saddleback breeding programme with the Rare Breed Survival Trust in order to safeguard one of our most charismatic native breeds. The pupils are fully involved in the entire process and are particularly passionate about it being financially sustainable. Through the design of egg box labels and the creation of a cashless honesty box that uses QR codes, Cottesmore Croft sells produce to parents and the public. That money is then reinvested in the farm, with the older pupils monitoring accounts and making decisions on reinvestment.
Our Judges said:
“Getting sustainability on the curriculum is something all schools should be considering – well done Cottesmore!” Melanie Sanderson, The Good Schools Guide Managing Editor
“We can’t love the idea of a sustainable school farm more! What a wonderful way to learn about welfare, nature, sustainability and hard work! The fact that sustainability is now a curriculum subject is something all schools should look at.” Victoria Evans, City Kids Magazine Editor
SILVER: The Village Prep
As part of PSHE, Year 6 participate in a project called The Village Business Awards (V.B.A) – a scheme which focuses on community engagement, fundraising and sustainability. Our Year 6 students are presented with the challenge of forming their own company and creating handmade products to sell, working with a budget of £150 loaned by the school.
This year, Year 6 girls are determined to build on the good practice of our school’s Eco Committee. They have called themselves the ‘Sustainable 7’, designed a logo to be reflective of their goals and created product ideas centred around the theme of sustainability – be it in the materials used or products created. Throw pillows are being created from clothes no longer wanted; candleholders are being designed using recycled props and cardboard, recycled fabrics are being used for wrapping and the girls are also making bird feeders using recycled materials.
Year 6 will also spend a day with Heath Hands to learn about conservation work, and to get stuck into some clearing, planting and litter picking and have the opportunity to help out at Little Village Camden. Both charities embody sustainability and do amazing work in the local community.
Going forward, our girls are determined to make The Village Business Awards even more sustainable and environmental focused and use them to raise greater awareness about environmental issues. Plans for the future (that our Year 5 girls are currently talking about!) include inviting speakers to come in and speak about sustainable business initiatives, more volunteering work and engaging with local businesses as part of the awards.
Our judges said:
“It is brilliant to hear that it’s the students who want to invest in and support more sustainable businesses. Helping to open their eyes to potential future ‘green’ careers and job opportunities.” Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
“The Village Prep’s Sustainable Seven are doing a fantastic job in paving the way for future students to continue the greenification of their school and community.” Victoria Evans, City Kids Magazine Editor
BRONZE: Falcons School for Girls
The Eco Team’s Clothes Swap initiative started with a Christmas Sweater Swap and now there’s a Summer Clothes Exchange which pupils have loved, refreshing seasonal wardrobes in a responsible, economic fashion. Left over clothing has also been donated to local charities.
The Eco Team also recently took part in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Big Seed Grow there are plans afoot to share plants, herbs and vegetable produce, from these donated seeds, with local neighbours in the community for their gardens and allotments.
Our judges said:
“It’s great to hear schools encouraging new ideas from students to give them autonomy over projects and build confidence.” Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
“We applaud Falcons Girls and their Eco Team for the plans and initiatives they’re putting in place for school and community green projects.” Victoria Evans, City Kids Magazine Editor
Green School Building
Eaton House The Manor produces 60% of its own electricity through 142 solar panels, and more are planned in the future. Within the school, some 90% of the schools’ lighting is now low energy. Classroom fittings are daylight LED fittings that produce as near to natural light as possible, and intelligent lighting systems ensure lights are not left on unnecessarily.
The site has over 300m2 of Green Roofs, which help to reduce sulphur dioxide and nitrous acid levels in the atmosphere, providing enough oxygen for 210 people per year, as well as providing a diverse habitat for wildlife. It also has over 100m2 of Living Walls, producing 172.8kg of oxygen and removing 233.8kg of CO2 from the air every year, with more planned. The school contains grey water, saving over 25,000 litres of fresh water every year to irrigate the plants.
The school’s waste is zero to landfill, with at least 60% being recycled each month. By recycling cardboard waste, the Manor site has helped to save 230 trees in the past 12 months. Pupils are also taught that it is critical not to build up plastics in our oceans, or pollute our air with excessive emissions, and a number of experts have come to talk to them about that. All the schools have ‘Green Days’ and there are often unique events that turn the pupils’ minds to this critical issue. We are committed to continuing and increasing our involvement in these ‘Green Days’ and are now actively looking at ways the pupils themselves can plan and deliver ‘Green Days’.
Contractors are encouraged to visit the school sites using sustainable modes of transport where possible and all pupils are asked if they can walk, cycle or scoot. Cycle parking for pupils and staff is provided and staff can benefit form the ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme.
Our judges said:
“Love the fact that you haven’t just focused on solar and energy on roofs but also green roofs to improve biodiversity and air quality. Brilliant to hear you have done both structural and behaviour changes throughout your school and educate students in what is happening.” Suzanne Gibbon, Let’s Go Zero
“The team at Eaton House The Manor has shown that with commitment, older buildings can be upgraded to lower carbon emissions and contribute to a more eco-friendly future. Let’s hope that other schools can learn from the example.” Victoria Evans, City Kids Magazine Editor