In recent years, environmental change and sustainability have become more prominent topics in our everyday lives due to the media now frequently reporting on global climate change-related events (wildfires, deforestation, glacier melt, increased frequency of extreme weather events, desertification) as well as the noticeable effects in our local communities (flooding, reduced bee populations, plastic pollution, changing weather patterns).
Our students are increasingly considering their own social responsibility and developing an understanding of how we can create positive change globally and in our local communities. In 2018, Rushcliffe students started working towards the Eco-Schools Award, which provides specific goals that the students, the school, and our community can work towards.
The Rushcliffe Eco Committee, chaired by our sixth formers, was established to provide all students the opportunity to voice their concerns and share their ideas for change. The Eco Committee have made fantastic progress across the school through raising awareness and leading a variety of events, including:
- EDF Energy Switch Off Fortnight carrying out energy audits, delivering assemblies and form time quizzes.
- Big Battery Hunt with Duracell -recycling nearly 2000 batteries.
- Walkers & TerraCycle crisp packet collection-recycling over 6300 crisp packets.
The Committee have also made noticeable change to the way our school runs, for example:
- Working alongside the Healthy Eating Ambassadors to improve the sustainability of canteen utensils, packaging and ingredient sources, such as farm-assured bacon.
- Running plastic bottle awareness campaigns & assemblies, which led to installation of plastic bottle bins around the school site.
This hard work has culminated in the achievement of the Bronze, Silver and ultimate Green Flag Award and then Green Flag Award with Merit. The students were also recognised by ITV Central News with our Year 9 students talking about their achievements as well as thoughts on the wider global environmental situation.
However, the work doesn’t stop there. To ensure sustainability, the Eco Committee will be evaluating the success and impact of these achievements to inform their future activities and help continue to raise awareness and positive change amongst our students and wider community.
Future targets include:
- Collaborating with the Site & Facilities Team to consider the sustainability of our grounds and future developments -for example we will be planting over 400 trees from the Woodland Trust.
- Working closely with our international partner schools to work on eco projects together.
- Developing Year 6 transition days around global awareness and sustainability.
- Continuing to plan and deliver a fantastic calendar of events to build upon the success of those in previous years.
Sustainability has also moved to the forefront of learning across the wider school, for example:
- Microplastic experiments in Science.
- Researching food packaging in Food Technology.
- Analysing plastic and air pollution data in Geography as well as taking part in debates regarding the future of energy sources in our country.
- Creating environmental campaigns during Bright Days, focusing on ‘think globally, act locally.
“Eco chic’ project in Design Technology to recycle, reuse, repair and rethink how to turn unwanted or discarded items or material into a new must have useful product.
- Designing sustainable cities of the future during lockdown with consideration of food, water and energy sources.
If you would like to get involved in the Eco Committee and our work around the school and wider community then contact email@example.com.
There are a fantastic range of opportunities and for all students to get involved, including planning, running and evaluating projects, and developing skills such as project management, teamwork, and increasing your environmental awareness.
These skills and environmental knowledge will be vital for current and future generations as they enter a working world that requires a global awareness, understanding of cultures, and a consideration of the impact workplaces and humans are having on the environment and climate.