Environment & Sustainability at Whitnash Primary School
Given the escalating environmental crisis, it is strongly felt that we are doing our school, children, community and planet an disservice by not promoting the right education to address this serious issue. Furthermore, it is no longer acceptable to ignore the negative impact schools have on the environment. Schools generate a great deal of waste, and given the urgency of the environmental crisis, it is no longer sustainable for business to continue as usual. Change is needed.
For many years Whitnash has tried to develop an Eco School and due to other priorities, it is often pushed aside. Given the heighten news coverage, COP26 and young people’s involvement in the environmental campaign, our school aims to ensure that environmental awareness is firmly injected into the heart of our School Improvement agenda and the curriculum.
In an Ofsted report back in 2010, Ofsted stated, ‘We want to ensure that the providers we inspect and regulate are contributing to a sustainable future’. The Department of Education also states it is committed to sustainable development and believe it is important to prepare young people for the future. In addition, being a sustainable school is argued to raise standards and enhance young people’s wellbeing. Therefore, by raising the profile of environmental issues and having the high expectation that such issues remain a key focus of our work will also enhance any judgements made of our school in the future.
Whitnash Primary School is becoming more environmentally active through a cross-curriculum approach and the Eco-school programme as we endeavour and aim to:
Include and engage staff, governors, pupils, parents and the local community in a commitment to improve the world today for tomorrow's children.
Share good practice with pupils, parents and the community thus encouraging them to adopt the initiatives.
Promote food and drink themes of their healthy eating schemes, improve school catering, reduce food and related waste and promote health awareness.
Conserve and monitor the use of energy and water.
Improve the local well-being of the wider community through their website and regular education for sustainable development related days or weeks of education and action.
Promote awareness of climate change through cross curricular activities and share the responsibility with the wider community for promoting and practising policies which show concern and care for the future of the global environment.
For more information about our school's approach please click on the links below:
Link to our School Sustainability Action Plan
Link to our School Improvement Plan
Our school is keen to work in line with Eco-Schools programme and aims to work towards the Green Flag Eco-Schools Award.
Each year children will be able to apply to become their classes Environmental Leader. To apply children are asked to write a short paragraph about why they feel they should be nominated as their classes Environmental Leader. They will be selected based on their passion for making a difference to our planet and the environment. Elected Environmental Leaders will work with a group of our staff who have put themselves forward to join our 'Green Working Party'. Together they will create our annual Sustainability Action Plan and work towards raising the profile of environmental issues in school, locally and wider. They will also decide on key initiatives, measure our school progress and report back to the governors, parents, and their peers on the progress our school has made.
The Green Working Party
This party is made up of staff members who are passionate about raising the profile of environment education and sustainability. Staff members put themselves forward to work on the school's green initiatives, support our Environmental Leaders, lead assemblies with children and support the school with the implementation of the Eco-Schools Programme and progress with our Sustainability Action Plan and the wider School Improvement Plan environment target.
What is Eco-Schools?
Eco-Schools is the largest sustainable schools programme in the world. It is an international award programme that guides schools on their sustainable journey, providing a framework to help embed these principles into curriculum and the heart of school life. Its mission is to help make every school become sustainable and to bring about behaviour change in young people and those connected to them so that good habits learned in schools are followed through into homes and communities. Through the award system it provides a framework which helps schools to recognise good environmental practice and identify areas they need to improve on.
As Eco-Schools we are able to enjoy and share many benefits which include:
Enhancing our school curriculum
Linking with the community and sharing our sustainable expertise
Improving our school and its environment
Saving money through energy saving and other sustainable activities
Receiving recognition and publicity for our sustainable achievements
What’s more, by addressing environmental issues in school and reducing waste, we save money, which can be reinvested elsewhere.