Queen Elizabeth II High School is celebrating after becoming the first school on the island to gain a Green Flag under the Eco-schools programme www.eco-schools.org.uk. The programme is an international awards programme that guides schools on a sustainable journey, providing a framework to embed eco principles into the heart of school life. To gain a green flag, schools need to have set up an eco group, have carried out an environmental audit, and having drawn up an action plan, implement projects in three of the nine sustainability topics.
The assessors met with the eco-committee and were very impressed with the level of enthusiasm and commitment, and the number of projects undertaken by the school community.
Projects started in 2007. The first project called ‘tREeCYCLE’ focused on offsetting carbon emissions for school journeys by planting over 3,000 trees and encouraging students to walk, cycle and travel by bus . Project ‘Paper Cycle’ resulted in decorated paper recycling boxes being placed in all classrooms to collect waste paper and over 2,500 newspapers have been re-used and turned into fuel briquettes for the elderly. ‘Project Gambia’ was inspired by a trip to The Gambia with Concern Universal. A group of students saw first-hand the impact climate change was having. They came home determined to educate people about how to, and why they should, reduce their carbon footprint. Whole-school initiatives such a ‘Switching Off’, ‘Goodbye to Standbye’ and battery recycling have begun to reduce the School’s carbon emission. As a result of our efforts, the School is now ranked first out of more than 14,000 schools for sustainable credentials in EDF's Programme ‘The Pod’ – www.jointhepod.org. The School has also raised £3,000 for Concern Universal so that they can continue their work to help those affected by climate change.
Many students have been involved in gardening projects, with students in the allotment club growing vegetables to use in home economic lessons. School quads have been ‘greened up’ which has enhanced the School environment. Over the years many bird, bee and bug boxes have been made. Students have also taken part in Big Tidy Up Initiatives as well as Green Day.
The assessors noted that the School had actually evidenced work in all nine topic areas.
The assessor commented
'Eco-Schools is embedded into the curriculum and the whole school approach through site staff, admin, works department, ground staff and students from all year groups. It also has the full support of the Head Teacher and SMT'.
The Head, Sue Moore, said
'I am extremely proud of the leadership of the eco-committee and the commitment of all the School community in gaining this prestigious recognition of the work we do in such an important area. We are flying the flag with pride!’
The School would like to thank HSBC and Appleby Partners for all their support.