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Eco School

Bredon Hill Academy Eco School Committee

Bredon Hill Academy Eco Committee is built on a solid core of members representing all areas of the school and local community.

At weekly eco committee meetings representatives from each form attend a meeting with the eco coordinator to discuss activities, ideas, projects and plans. This information is then taken back to the pupils form for further discussion and the ideas are re-evaluated at the next meeting.

The eco reps recruit pupils in their form to be responsible for various activities. For example, we have energy monitors who monitor and promote electricity conservation, waste monitors to monitor and promote recycling, species monitors identifying and compiling a database of species in our school grounds and habitat building clubs creating a wide range of habitats to encourage biodiversity in our wildlife area.

Pupils acting as gardeners work extremely hard at lunchtime and at a weekly after school club to maintain and improve our school grounds and environment, including caring for the school guinea pigs. They help to provide a haven of tranquillity at lunchtimes, create a space suitable for use in lessons, grow award winning fruit, vegetables and flowers in addition to a harvest to share with the school community.

The most enthusiastic and knowledgeable pupils who are able to share their skills effectively, act as head gardeners and manage the garden activities.

A few of our eco reps have been nominated as Eco ambassadors, pupils who have consistently completed eco tasks, for example writing articles about eco school activities, speaking in assemblies or at governor meetings or representing our school  and communicating our ideas to the wider community.

The Pinnacle of our year is the annual walk to the elephant or Banbury stone at the summit of Bredon hill. This expedition summarises and celebrates all of our ambitions and ethos and every member of our school community is involved in the event.

 

The nine key environmental topics 

Water 

We assess how much water we use by looking at the water meter and reducing unnecessary water consumption. We have water hippos in all our cisterns to reduce the amount of water used in toilets, and our taps automatically turn off after use. We have installed rain water collection butts.

Biodiversity 

We use our school grounds to introduce pupils to the natural environment and biodiversity in a practical way. Offering a safe and potentially exciting facility for outdoor education that can complement classroom-based activities. Each form has a pocket microscope and binoculars to investigate the species on our school site.

Wildlife garden

The area is home to a wide variety of species and habitats including some protected by UK and European laws.

The Swamp is natural clay and the level of water will rise and fall. The rocks and native plants provide habitat for newts, water voles, dragon flies, aquatic and other insects including a large wasp nest. The plank can be used as a seat if dry and depending on wasp activity. The large hollow log provides a habitat for hedgehogs. There is a maintenance path behind the swamp.

The Pond is lined with butyl rubber covered with a protective matting and stocked with ornamental plants. The deep end of the pond is edged with granite and rough slate from Wales and Cornwall. These rocks are not to be touched and define an area out of bounds. Pupils must stay a distance away from these rocks. The shallow end of the pond is indicated by smooth tumbled slate (a by-product from roofing tile production). This area is suitable for careful low-level investigation and interaction. The pond is already home to mosquito and dragonfly larvae, pond skaters, whirligig beetles, and a small frog. The many insects and spiders which live in the surrounding rocks attract small birds. A life ring, reaching poles and a net are attached to the oak tree nearby. The jetty can be used for seating up to a defined point and is designed to be used by staff needing access to the deep end for sampling or retrieval.

The Dipping pond is a sandpit style water feature for pupils to manage, suitable for hands, fish, and solar powered features. This interactive area can be used more freely and experimentally in contrast to the preservation area of the main pond.

The water vole ditch is fed by a spring that runs under our school, this is deep enough to attract water voles, a protected species which had young here this summer; it drains away under the field to a ditch by the badger sett. No interfering or disruption is allowed in this area.

The Sand pit is used for recording the tracks of visiting wildlife. The sand needs to be raked flat frequently but can be used for other activities. Pebbles, shells, and other natural objects can be added artistically to this interactive area.

The Bird hide is obscured but not hidden creating a good vantage point for quiet observation of the area. There are bird boxes, hedgehog houses and log piles which provide habitat for insects and hedgehogs here.

The Fire pit is a safe area for small well managed bonfires to dispose of small quantities of garden waste which is unsuitable for composting.

The Compost wall with green bins for making good compost for the garden and black bins for weed disposal. The wall also features the BHA colony bird box for sparrows, bat box, bee sand castle and an interactive bughouse with a space allocated for each form to manage. The logs under the bughouse are from our old garden bench are inhabited by stag beetles and the comfrey plant is used to make plant food. The green bins provide a useful surface for items. See posters for composting rules.

The pet enclosure contains animals which enjoy being spoken and read stories to quietly. Dandelions, grass, fruit, and bread can be safely fed to all the pets but doors must not be opened or closed. The cages should be approached from the front only and animals not chased or picked up.

The central woodpile is our oldest habitat and is home to hedgehog, snake and wrens and is surrounded by a mix of wildflowers beneficial to pollinators.

The Wildlife corridor runs from the bottom of the wildlife garden to the badger sett and Mr Taylor’s bonfire, this is the route for animals to access the area and for wheelbarrows to safely travel when disposing of garden waste to ensure no spillage on the sports pitches.

Behaviour- The garden provides an oasis of calm for wildlife and visitors. It contains delicate habitats and many hazards. Noise and activity must be kept to a minimum with no running, skipping, jumping, climbing, throwing, shouting or habitat disturbance. Timid beasts, bird watchers and others enjoyment of this special space must be respected. This is not the place for games, nagging or confrontation. Those enjoying the area should appreciate the work done by pupils who work hard to maintain it.

Learning opportunities- The area requires constant monitoring of species diversity. We record the trees and other features and add to our site maps including our Minecraft map. Recording the variance of conditions in the area enables evaluation of necessary improvements. The introduced rocks provide interesting examples of different geology. The area provides inspiration for art, sculpture, photography, poetry and prose.

Energy 

We carry out an energy audits as part of our Environmental Review and set targets for reducing unnecessary energy use through our Action Plan. As part of the (EU) European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), all state schools are required to display a certificate which rates their energy use on a scale of A – G .Our rating is currently B. We take part in a “Turn it off” campaign, and monitor our smart meter online at eco meetings. We have installed a large solar panel to provide power to our new building and we are investigating more alternative sources of energy.

To improve we will improve our rating and lower our consumption by encouraging extra vigilance and investigating a whole school reward for achieving our targets. We are also interested in making a display of interactive alternative energy examples for example a solar fountain.

Global Perspectives 

We ensure that we all consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of the decisions that we make on the local and global community, in the future as well as for the present. We take part in the village open garden weekend, opening our school gardens to visitors from far and wide, enter the local produce show and take part in joint eco projects with Ashton first school. Through our International Schools we maintain links with school eco groups in other countries. We collaborated with the international school project to install a weather monitoring station which we will use to monitor and compare climate changes, we now have a link to the data on our website.

To improve we would like to strengthen and expand our connections and improve our communications with other school Eco groups. We would like to arrange more collaborations and invite relevant speakers to school assemblies and events.

Healthy Living 

Bredon hill provides pupils with structure and consistency and opportunities for social engagement in addition to emotional support and the provision of a supportive, safe environment that gives pupils the confidence to learn. We actively promote health through the curriculum and in the way the school is managed both in its culture and ethos.

Our eco team influence the quality of the meals served within the canteen by providing fresh herbs, salads and fruit from the garden and allow staff and pupils to pick their own or taste prepared seasonal produce at lunchtimes and cookery lessons. We encourage pupils and staff to be more physically active both in and out of school, and to be equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that provide springboards to future long-term health. We contribute to our schools Healthy eating status

We use heritage varieties in our garden so that we can save seed to share with anyone who is interested in growing, we also take cuttings when our herbs need trimming to promote gardening.

Litter 

The eco committee received a grant from the Duckworth Trust to install a recycling bin in every classroom and staff areas to promote a whole school approach to recycling. This combined with a campaign to raise awareness in class and at assemblies, has been extremely successful and we are now focusing on reducing paper waste and recycling more food related items.

We took part in “The big tidy up” campaign from Keep Britain Tidy last year collaborating with Ashton first school and will be repeating the event this year. We also organise daily litter picks and surveys to identify problem areas and find solutions.

School Grounds 

We promote outdoor learning and provide the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the environment and sustainable development.

When designing improvements to our school grounds we consider how we can enable outdoor learning, including the ability to seat a whole class and ensuring our school grounds are in a safe pleasant state at all times.

Pupils work to improve a wide variety of different spaces to be used recreationally and also in lessons, most subjects make good use of our school grounds and frequently teach outside. Current projects include, improving our industrial garden, extending our heritage variety orchard on the turning circle and the creation of a plot for our international schools department to design collaboratively with our partner schools.

We have over half a mile of boundary trees and hedges, two gardens, a wildlife corridor, wildlife area with swamp, pond and wet and dry ditches, tracking sandpit, woodpiles and bird and bug houses. We have a diverse range of species on site and are passionate about preserving and improving habitat. We welcome visitors and advice and are committed to improving our school grounds.

Waste 

Reduce – We look at how we can change processes so that less materials are used or change consumer habits so that less wasted material is bought. This is something that we will start to focus on more now that our recycling has become so successfully adopted by the whole school.

Reuse – We encourage people to choose goods and products that can be used again. We look at alternative uses for unwanted items. Scrap timber is used to construct bug houses and compost heaps, we use scrap paper from the recycling bin for notes, old tractor tyres have been planted with flowers and used as seats, food buckets from the kitchen are used as garden trugs, old kitchen pots and pans have transformed into musical instruments and wooden spoons have become plant labels.

Recycle – We ensure that waste is processed and made into another product wherever possible. Composting is also recycling: the nutrients in organic waste are processed and returned to the soil to help more plants to grow. We compost fruit and vegetable peelings from the kitchen and DT room and are starting to extend this to packed lunch waste. We also recycle plastic, metal and glass in our green bins and all of our ink cartridges. Our clothes recycling is a huge success and has enabled the financing of many eco projects, we collect spare clothing and fabric in our dedicated recycling bin on the turning circle in front of the school. We are now offering a facility to recycle batteries and are looking at a solution for the cooked waste from the kitchens.

Transport 

Our aim is to use a school travel plan to encourage the whole school and community to think about the environment, promote sustainable travel and lead fitter and healthier lifestyles in order to improve health and development. We are concerned with improving road safety, reducing traffic congestion and pollution. We request that bus drivers turn off their engines when idle.