Bredon Hill Academy Eco School Committee
The Garden and Rural Eco Action Team at Bredon Hill Academy 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 classroom 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 seven-and-a-half-mile expedition summarises and celebrates our ambitions and ethos and every member of our school community is involved in the event.
The nine key environmental topics
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.
Bredon Hill Academy is located at the foot of Bredon Hill, one of the most important wildlife sites in England, with a diverse range of habitats including areas designated -
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the European Commission Habitats Directive.
National Nature Reserve.
With areas managed by -
DEFRA 'Environmental Stewardship' schemes.
Our school site is managed and used with consideration for the many species we share our space with. By preserving historic features and building new habitats we have created a rich resource to study and enjoy.
Our work to improve the diversity of habitats and encourage biodiversity has been recognised with Awards from Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.