Pupils achieve coveted Eco-schools Green Flag

Pupils at a Harrogate school have won worldwide recognition for their environmental efforts.

Youngsters at Highfield Prep School have been widely praised by the international education programme Eco-Schools for their action plan which included recycling, litter picking and even creating their own pond.

The school’s Eco Committee, which is made up of pupils, initially carried out a review of all the school’s environmental practices and came up with innovative ideas such as creating their own beeswax wraps in Design & Technology lessons and taking part in the national Great Big Spring Clean.

They have been rewarded with the coveted Eco-Schools Green Flag which recognises their commitment to sustainability and climate change.

Mr James Savile, Head Teacher of Highfield, said: “Earning an Eco-Schools Green Flag takes passion, commitment and a desire to make a difference. Pupils should be proud of their great work. They’re an inspiration and it makes us all feel heartened and positive about the future of our planet.”

The pupil’s plan included collaborating with the catering team to reduce waste, taking part in the RSPB Big School Bird Watch, and prompted the children to make more sustainable decisions about their home life such as using public transport and participating in Walk to School days.

Teacher Mrs Vicki van Zeller, Eco Lead at Highfield, said: “My aim going forward is that we embed issues such as climate change and sustainability into all areas of the curriculum and that it becomes part of daily conversations in school. Giving the pupils the knowledge and passion to make a difference.”

Adam Flint from Eco-Schools added: “We love the fact that the Eco-Committee is really inclusive and all pupils are welcome. Little touches like the Eco-Badges are an example of going above and beyond to make young people feel valued and empowered, which demonstrates that Highfield Prep is totally on board with the ethos of our programme.”
The judges said they were particularly impressed by the school’s imaginative ‘Rainforest Week’ during which the entire school was transformed to help the children learn about the challenges facing the rainforest and the impact of climate change on the planet. Staff surprised the children after a half term holiday by donning exotic costumes, covering the reception with plants and foliage and transformed classrooms into far-flung corners of the endangered world.

Mr Flint added: “Through the school’s efforts, they have engaged young people in environmental issues, taught them how their behaviour can make a difference, changed behaviours, empowered pupils, given them a voice and even educated their families…spreading learning beyond school boundaries.”

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