We began our ECOschools adventure in Autumn 2013 and by September 2017 we had achieved not one but two GREEN FLAG awards! We are now working hard to maintain and develop our ECOwork at Moorlands to earn our 3rd, hopefully during 2019!
Each term children from across school can put their names forward to join our "Moorlands Meteors" ECOteam, who meet every Thursday after school to plan and lead ECOprojects throughout school. We often have a team of between 20 & 30 children from 5 to 11! Their work is supported by ECOmonitors in each class, who keep an eye on energy use, litter etc and let Meteors know of any problems.
The first session of each half term is a meeting, when we are often joined by special guests (representatives of the governors, leadership team and parents). We look at recent achievements and how we are getting on with ECOprojects from our Action Plan and we plan our next steps. Our following sessions then might involve planning assemblies, working on our crops and garden areas, monitoring ECOmatters throughout school (eg litter, energy use) and a range of activities to learn and teach others about environmental issues. We have an ECOdisplay board on each floor where we share our work with the rest of school, and we keep our families up-to-date via our website and occasional newsletter pieces.
Read on to find out about some of our work.
Each year we hold an Energy project in school, where pupils are encouraged to think about how we use energy and the implications of wasting it.
How have we made a difference?
2015- Meteors gathered data to show that school was often hotter than it needed to be. Result: our heating was allowed to be turned down by 1 degree, making a difference to bills and reducing the need for lots of open windows!
2016- Our school got a new boiler. Meteors worked closely with our caretaker and bursar to monitor and suggest changes to our heating times and temperatures. This led to reduced energy use and lower energy costs over the next 2 years.
2018/19- Meteors started building a graph on our bottom corridor ECOboard to show daily energy use (08:30 to 15:30) on days chosen both at random and when something specific was happening (eg 'Dark Day', extreme weather etc). Our average monthly energy consumption is lower so far than last year.
In addition to monitoring and reporting on waste in our day to day school life, we also hold an annual focus on Waste, where we raise awareness of one or more aspects of our lives where waste needs a bit more thought.
How have we made a difference?
2015- Wasted lunchtime food was talked about in assemblies. Meteors monitored food waste over several weeks. We reduced the weight of wasted food, & after working with School Council & the kitchen staff, changes were made to the menus on 'heavy' days. We made a little leaflet for new families about our school dinners, and everyone seemed much happier with the range of lunches offered.
2016- our wrist band system of choosing dinners started. There were always 2 and mostly 3 choices of lunch (always brown bands for meat + green for veggie and often blue for fish based). Meteors weighed the wasted food occasionally through the year, having sticker weeks where we gave out stickers or merits for children trying hard to eat well. Meteors also worried that year about plastic packaging, and prepared an assembly to encourage people to choose products with less packaging and to reuse/recycle when possible.
2017- we held our first ever "Rubbish Fashion Show", with outfits made by each year group to highlight waste packaging. This formed part of Science week and was very popular! Also in Waste Week 2017 we saw a significant reduction in the amount of food wasted at lunchtimes, as Meteors gave out merits and stickers in exchange for empty plates and dishes!!
2018/19- A new menu system was introduced. We now always have 3/4 choices (one meaty, one veggie plus either jacket potato or pasta each day, each coming with a choice of 2 toppings). We also have a salad bar including bread, and usually a choice of at least 4 puddings (hot, fruit, buns, yoghurts, cheese & biscuits etc). Our kitchen team weighed the wasted food for us over lots of weeks. We were very disappointed to find some very heavy days early on, but discovered this was because jacket potato children often had too much. Meteors made posters to tell children they could ask for a smaller portion, then the waste was much less.
Our ECOgarden is tended by Moorlands Meteors, supported at times by the Prince William Awards children and 'Little Gardeners' occasional lunchtime club. Most of our produce is given to the kitchen to add to school dinners, and sometimes we sell our produce to families as a fundraising project. See our ECOgarden blog for updates and photos.
We have our very own recycling bank, so our famliies can donate good home textiles (clothing, bedding etc), bags and good, paired shoes to raise money for school activities. Bags of donated items can be put into the purple bank whenever the gates are open (7ish til 6ish)! The bank is half way down the side of our car park, near the grit bins.
If you have other unwanted things lying around home, you might consider rehoming them via ‘Huddersfield Recycle’ (part of ‘Freegle’). You can post ‘wanted’ or ‘offered’ notices and can arrange collection of things that would otherwise go to landfill or just continue to get in the way! Examples of successful rehoming in Huddersfield include all sorts from fruit bushes, food mixers, children’s clothing, computers, books, fence panels etc etc. The possibilities are endless! Go to https://direct.ilovefreegle.org to join in. There are also local groups on Facebook that allow you to post 'for sale/offered free/wanted' adverts to others that live near you. Let's work together to reduce what we throw away!
These are just a few of the ECOprojects that happen here at Moorlands, supporting and extending the learning that takes place in year groups' topics. Pupils often initiate their own ideas, from fundraising and awareness campaigns to small-scale surveys and other ECOprojects. We love that our children are caring and creative, and look forward to working with lots of you in our ECOwork this year!