After an academic year of hard work and dedicated eco-action, Ravenscourt Park Preparatory School (RPPS) have been awarded the prestigious Eco-Schools Green Flag Award!
Eco-Schools, the largest sustainable schools programme in the world, has designed a Seven Step Framework which places young people at the heart of environmental action, empowering them to introduce and lead environmental education in their schools.
Completion of all seven steps results in the awarding of a Green Flag, an international accreditation that has been recognised by organisations such as UNESCO for over 25 years.
RPPS started working towards the accreditation with the formation of their Eco Warriors Club in September 2020. The Eco Warriors are the group of pupils and teachers that support and help create our environmental policy in the school. It is led by Year 2 Teacher and Environment & Sustainability Lead Ms. Davies. Read here to see what they got up to in the first term of joining the Eco-Schools programme.
Since then, in order to complete the Seven Steps framework, RPPS have focused on three main topics within the school – waste, energy and biodiversity.
Within these topics a number of different policies that demonstrate the school’s commitment to environmental action have been established.
- A no laminating policy, this reduces reliance on plastic, as well as the energy needed to run the lamination machine
- Food recycling through ReFood, which provides an alternative to sending unwanted food to landfill. Instead, they provide a safe, secure, closed-loop end-to-end solution using Anaerobic Digestion facilities to create renewable energy as well as nutrient-rich biofertilizer
- Battery, ink-cartridge and pen recycling using Terracycle
- A push towards the use of renewable bottles rather than single-use plastic bottles
- Cling-film is no longer used on pupil’s food at break and lunchtime
- Creating scrap paper draws in the classroom and encouraging printing onto scrap paper where possible
- Next term they are hoping to introduce glue recycling as well as snack wrapper recycling, also through Terracycle
- Numerous posters around the school designed by the Eco-Warriors to ensure that lights and whiteboards are turned off when not in use
- Switch Off Fortnight, whereby the whole school works together to ‘switch off’ all unnecessary electrical equipment with the aim of saving energy – computers, lights, whiteboards
- The plant wall in the playground
- Making ‘seed’ paper in Eco Club
- Building a bug hotel for the playground, which provides a multitude of benefits to all types of minibeast and insets such as ladybirds, bees, spiders and woodlice. Bug hotels can be used as a safe place for minibeasts and insects to shelter, lay eggs, raise their young and seek refuge from predators – all of which encourage bio-diversity. The RPPS bug hotel is even more eco-friendly due to it being constructed from upcycled garden materials and re-purposed items that are no longer being used for their original purpose.
- Over the summer holidays, the school is encouraging pupils to take part in the Big Butterfly Count, a nationwide citizen science survey aimed at helping the Butterfly Conservation assess the health of our environment.
Additionally, throughout the year RPPS have worked hard to find ways to incorporate links to the environment and sustainability into the formal curriculum. For example, one week was themed entirely on the topic ‘There is No Planet B’.
Furthermore, throughout the period of Remote Learning, there were numerous ‘At Home’ challenges to continue the pursuit of sustainability in the school’s three key areas.
For example, pupils were encouraged to research what could and could not be recycled in their local areas, they were asked to consider how they can reduce food waste by checking the use-by dates of items in the fridge and trying to incorporate these into dishes for dinner!
Pupils were challenged to look out for all the different plants, animals and insects in their local areas, thinking about how they could have a positive impact on their local eco-systems. This was done through the examination of wildlife, trees and more. Consequently, when pupils came back to school, they explored the ‘Great Tree of London’ which is situated right on the school’s doorstep in Ravenscourt Park!
One of the final steps necessary to complete the award is the creation of an Eco-Code. Collectively, the RPPS eco-committee worked hard to create the RPPS Eco-Code, a rallying call for sustainability that everyone in the school can get behind.
Posters of the Code are displayed all around the school so that all members of the RPPS community can get involved and do their bit to promote sustainable practices around the school.
After all of the hard work that has been put in by all the school’s pupils, staff and Eco-Warriors members, it is an absolute delight that they have finally achieved the Green Flag award.
They will be continuing the encouragement of ideas for any future eco-endeavours all with the aim of generating meaningful, long-lasting change, making RPPS an ever more sustainable and environmentally friendly school!