The school's ECO flag, now hanging outside our school.
Visit the government's ECO School website for more information about the ECO Schools programme.
Our ECO Code
We are saving electricity
We are being healthy
We are recycling
We are caring for our environment
We are saving water
We are exercising and making healthy choices
Heathly/ECO Schools - Fiona Hawkins
What is an Eco School?
The Eco School awards encourage schools to think about a range of areas including waste reduction, energy saving, healthy living, water, biodiversity, transport and travel. Full accreditation is achieved through an audited programme of commitment and activity by the school and students.
First is a Bronze Award, which is given to schools who have carried out an energy and recycling audit, and who have created an Working Group, on which both the staff and children are represented.
The Silver Award is achieved once the school agrees on an Eco Code. We have a copy of the code in every classroom, we also have an Eco notice board in KS2 corridor to promote Eco News.
To achieve the Gold Award and have the right to fly the Eco Green Flag the school must demonstrate its on-going commitment in several of the key 'Eco-friendly' activities.
St Barnabas has focused on the following areas:
- Energy Saving: We achieved Level 1 Energy Certification award in March 2006 from the Energy Saving Trust.
- Eco Warriors: This is a group of children who daily check our use of energy. They take weekly meter readings, and to attain Level 2 we will be analyising the readings and introducing ways to reduce energy consumption. We have also focussed on water consumption; we check taps are off and promote water aid. We have a recycle squad who check at the end of each day that waste is in the correct place.
- Healthy Living: This links to 'Healthy Schools' - an award we recieved in May 2006. The school has an accessable water fountain, and we encourage all the children to drink plenty of water.
- Recycling: There are recycling boxes in all the classrooms, and we have set up a paper trail to ensure that every piece of paper is used to the full. We also collect water that is left from the water jugs to water the plants.
- Composting: We now compost waste from the school kitchens and have reduced the kitchen refuse by 75%. At the start we included fruit waste, but unfortunately that attracted too many fruit flies around the composter.
The whole experience has been very educational for the children (and the teachers!). Year 5 and Year 6 visited a landfill site and a recycling centre at Stanton Harcourt All the children have been fantastic and if it wasn't for them we would not achieved all that we have. They are our Eco Warriors, Composters, Recycle Squad, Water Collecters, encouraging the whole school to behave in an environmentally responsible fashion.
They have also put in an enormous amount of effort in to the Healthy Schools programme. The elder children take turns as Lunchtime Helpers and Playground Buddies to promote healthy a diet and lifestyle. The PTA has provided support by funding our 'Fruity Fridays' and the 'Trim Trail' equipment.
How we did it ... - Thomas, Year 6
Last year one of the teachers decided to get a team together of teachers, teacher assistants and 4 children in years 5 and 6. We all started on getting a few recycling bins in every class (Eco centre) and compost bins, also talking about how to make our school as healthy as we can.
Soon after we became eco as well (after lots of work), we had lots of visitors coming in and talking all about the environment and electricity at the end of the day all the visitors gave each child a; energy saving light bulb, recycling box, water hippo, calico bag, lots of information leaflets and badges.
Some of the things we do include bird feeding (bread and food from the kitchen), recycling, composting, eco warriors (who go around the school checking the lights in every room and ticking a board if they are off), playground buddies (for healthy schools it's the older children teaching and helping the younger ones), computer monitors (a group of children to check computers in the I.C.T room are off), putting posters up around the school with facts on, putting labels on taps (to remind people to turn taps off), recycle squad (a group who check rubbish is in the right bin). The school went down from 7 bags a week to 1 bag a week including the kitchen waste.
Here are some questions for Mrs Hawkins the organiser of eco schools:
What got you interested in eco and healthy schools?
"It's going to be you, your children and their children who suffer if we don't act now."
How did you feel when we got the flag?
"I felt really good as we had put so much effort into it; it's the whole school who worked hard. Every class recycles and the cooks compost everything."
Were you surprised when we got the flag?
"I was really proud we managed as a school to achieve it."
Our Eco Week includes:
Tuesday - Recycling Day: Talk from Eileen Robinson Oxfordshire Council about recycling. KS2 Fashion Recycling show at 2.30, England recycled flag KS1 and recycled musical instruments with KS1
Wednesday - Water Day: All classes will carry water between them for 3km . Other water related tasks. We have Water Hippos in all the toilets at school.
Thursday - Energy Day: Power station assembly, energy saving activities, solar car, and then lots of freebies at the end of the day, including water hippos, calico bags to use instead of carrier bags, energy efficient light bulbs.
We have a world in the KS2 corridor where the children have written pledges on hands, For example, "I will remember to turn off the light when I leave the room". This is for both parents and children, so come along and make your pledge!