West Park Academy takes part in The Eco-Schools programme as it provides a unique opportunity that empowers pupils to lead change within their school and have a positive impact in their wider community. The programme encourages pupils of all ages and abilities to work together to develop their knowledge and environmental awareness. Independent research into the Eco-Schools programme in England found evidence of the positive impacts on pupils, including increased confidence, development of leaderships skills, improved pupil well-being and behaviour and greater motivation at school.
The Eco-Schools programme consists of three structural elements – The Seven Step Framework, the Eco-Schools Topics and assessment for the international Green Flag award. While the Seven Steps are the most important aspect of the Eco-Schools programme - Eco Committee, Environmental Review, Action Plan, Curriculum Links, Informing and involving, monitoring and evaluation and ec0-code leading to the Green Flag Award! West Park Academy also work on topics to help give the programme even more structure; marine, biodiversity, energy, litter, global citizenship, healthy living, school grounds, transport, waste and water.
West Park Academy continues to hold the Green Flag Eco status. Since committing to the Eco schools programme, West Park Academy has gained its Bronze award in 2006, its Silver award in 2008, its first Green Flag Award in February 2015, its 2nd Green flag in January 2017 and its current Green flag in May 2019! This is part of the Eco Schools International award programme and many different criteria have to met before an assessor arrive to check that the school has everything in place.
This year the school will be continuing our work, and including the 10 areas – biodiversity, energy, global citizenship, healthy living, litter, marine, school grounds, transport, waste and water. This year we will be having a real focus on linking these areas into our curriculum and half termly topics so that all of our children are involved with having a positive impact.
This school year the three areas that we will be mainly focussing on are:
- Improving the school grounds
- Healthy eating
- Global citizenship.
Last year the Eco Warriors decided to focus on marine life as they were extremely concerned about the effect that plastic pollution was having on the world and in particular the marine life.
Following their own research, they created their own power point presentations to inform the rest of school. They also came up with 5 key messages for everyone to follow to help reduce plastic in school. These included:
- Use reusable packed lunch boxes instead of cling film and plastic packaging.
- Use coloured pencils instead of plastic felt tip pens. If you need to use pens, recycle them after you have used them.
- Use paper or metal straws, not plastic.
- Use reusable water bottles and fill up from the tap.
- Play with wooden toys not plastic toys.