Students at Richmond School and Sixth Form College have earned a prestigious international accreditation recognising their work in making the school more environmentally friendly.
Eco-Schools is an international education programme that encourages young people to explore sustainability and climate change and take appropriate action.
The students in Years 8 to 13, who are keen members of the school’s Eco Club, collaborated with Mrs Weston and Miss Spittlehouse to conduct an environmental review, assessing how eco-friendly their school is.
They reviewed everything from the school’s recycling practices, to energy usage, to how environmental themes are covered in classrooms.
Building on their findings, the students and teachers planned a year of activities that would enhance their green-credentials.
The group connected their work to three Eco-Schools topics: waste, biodiversity and energy.
Activities included the creation of an eco garden, hosting a free dress day for Just The Job, a local charity, and beginning their campaign on reducing plastic waste.
The students regularly care for their eco garden and have been most appreciative of donations of plants from the Newton-Le-Willows Climate Action Group and the BBC’s Green Planet TV series.
They also initiate frequent litter picking groups, going around the school and college site to keep the area waste-free.
Freya Clements in Year 9 said: “I really enjoy taking part in Eco Club because I want to make the school a more sustainable place to be.
“I like doing things like planting new flowers and making new houses for wildlife so we can make the school more colourful.”
Isla Simpson in Year 9 added: “Eco Club is great because it’s making the school a better and more sustainable place and it’s great we have the green flag to recognise this.”
Miss Spittlehouse said: “The students have shown strong leadership in planning and delivering the project for the good of the school, college and our current students, as well as demonstrating fantastic care and stewardship for generations of students to come.
“They have worked tremendously well to develop the ways in which our school can be a better environment for all.’
The students have already been out in the community spreading the word about their passion for the environment and the work they are spearheading in school and college.
Eight members of the eco-club took part in Richmondshire Climate Action’s Group’s ‘Heat, Eat and Meet’ event when they actively took part in discussions with other community groups and members of the public about how we can strive for a more environmentally and affordable future. They engaged with the public about a range of different topics including: the benefits of composting, growing our own food, ways to reduce our energy usage and how to create a more caring community.
To find out more about Eco-Schools head to www.eco-schools.org.uk.