The Eco- Committee
The first step in the Eco-School’s programme is to form an Eco Committee. At the start of each new school year St John Fisher School holds an election and if a pupil wants to be on the Eco-Committee they have to write explaining why they would be a good representative for the class. Following this process two children are chosen from each class in Key Stage 2. If children aren’t elected to be on the Eco-Committee they still have the opportunity to join in with eco campaigns and projects.
In addition to the pupils, St John Fisher’s have the Site Manager and a Governor as part of the Eco-committee. The Committee meet most Wednesday at lunch time. In the near future we are looking to start an Eco-Committee in Key Stage 1.
St John Fisher’s have found that the Eco-Committee has become increasingly popular over the last few years. We have Energy Warriors to check if pupils are switching off lights when not in use, Litter Monitors who go on a regular litter picks around the school grounds and Waste Watchers who check recycling bins in classes and at lunch time.
Once the Eco-Committee had been formed, their first task is to conduct an Environmental Review of the school. Conducting this review enables the Eco-Committee to investigate what the school is doing well and what areas need to be worked on.
St John Fisher’s conduct their Environmental Review at the start of each new school year by the Eco-Committee. From the results of the overview the Eco-Committee identifies their strengths as well as areas in need of improvement .and this then forms the basis of their Action Plan. Last year we identified an issue with wasting water and the water hippopotamus have been placed in the water system. This year we identified an issue with litter in the playground and therefore litter monitors have been assigned and House Litter Bins have been placed in the playground to encourage pupils not to drop litter; each house has its own dedicated litter bin and points are awarded on a regular basis to the house who collects the most litter. Opportunities are given to plan and design litter posters to raise awareness about the problems associated with litter in our community. A local clean-up campaign was successful but we now need to think about how we can sustain the momentum.
The Eco-School Action Plan is developed out of the Eco-Committees Environmental Review findings and enables the school to identify what areas they need to improve on and consequently what activities and projects to undertake to tackle these topics.
Using The Pod
The Eco-Committee run the Pod’s campaigns leading on the activities and keeping the whole school informed. The Pod’s resources cover energy, waste, water, transport and biodiversity. St John Fisher found the Pod Year Planner to be a very useful tool, enabling us to plan our school activities in accordance with upcoming environmental awareness days, events and campaigns. As a school we discovered that holding campaigns such as Switch off fortnight, Waste week and Gardening Day often led to the generation of ideas where activities could be continued. It also proved to be a good aid in achieving a whole school approach, getting the parents involved and making everyone aware of the school’s commitment to achieving sustainability.
The Pod’s take-it –home worksheets help to involve families in eco activities and education.
The Eco Code is displayed in each classroom and pupils are aware of it.
Linking sustainability to the curriculum
When trying to fit sustainability topics into the curriculum, St John Fisher tends to get inspiration from lessons plans and school resources available on The Pod and other sustainability websites.
Examples of our Themed Curriculum in 2013- 2014 in year 5 and 6 include : Welcome to Our World (Science-Living Things in their Environment), Short Circuit (Electricity, Green Fingers), Push Me, Pull Me (Geography- Trade, environmental change and sustainability, History- Transport), All Creatures Great and Small (Science-Nutrition,, Geography-Comparing places around the world).
2014-15 Themed Curriculum includes topics such as Singing in the Rain where we are looking at water and its effect on landscapes and people.
Awards and recognition
Eco Schools is an international programme which rewards schools for working hard on environmental topics to make the world a better place. It works by involving the whole school - pupils, teachers and other staff together with parents and members o of the local community. It encourages teamwork and helps to create a shared understanding of what it takes to run a school in a way that respects and enhances the environment. Eco Schools is a recognised award scheme that accredits schools who make a commitment to continuously improve their environmental performance. There are 3 levels of award: Bronze, Silver and the Green Flag. St John Fisher has been accredited with all three. Previous to achieving these St John Fisher gained the Basic 21 Award from Birmingham City Council. We have now also received a national Leading Aspect Award for all our efforts. .
Having completed our School Eco-Garden project, St John Fisher School will now apply for the Bio-Diversity Award. Having successfully bid for an Awards for All Grant of £10,000 we are now developing our Forest School, working with the Eco Team, Forest School Professionals and all the children and their families in the school community. We are planning to hold a Forest School Community Day in the Spring/Summer Term.
We have now gained The Leading Aspect Award in Sustainability
BirminghamCityCouncil Potatoes Growing
Vikings for Schools
Walk to School Week
Healthy School Week
Switch off Campaign
Local Clean-up Campaign
Our new project-Forest School
In conjunction with our Eco Garden , our new project- Forest School- is another inspirational process that will offer children at St John Fisher further opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem, team working skills and also learn to become more independent through hands-on learning experiences in a” woodland” (natural environment with trees). Those who are unfamiliar with woodlands and green spaces can become confident in using them and this can form the basis of a life-long relationship with natural spaces.
The Forest School approach to learning in the outdoors is rooted firmly in the key progressive education theorists of the past one hundred and fifty years - from Froebel to Steiner, Vygotsky to Montessori, Dewey to Gardner – all of them put the child at the centre of their own learning; all talk of the importance of children being allowed to explore the world with appropriate support. Interestingly, many were themselves significantly influenced by the great outdoors. Forest School encourages children to explore their own innate learning in the richest classroom we have – the outdoors.
We have also gained The Leading Aspect Award in Sustainability which recognises this area is outstanding in our school; environmental issues are explored in the curriculum and our pupils from an early age are capable of sophisticated thinking in relation to sustainability. We promote enquiry- based learning, creativity and innovation.
We are working towards achieving our second Green Flag Award early 2016.
The Eco Team & Staff Eco-coordinator Ms Georgeta Bardella
St John Fisher Catholic Primary School