Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Being sustainable is an important part of the ethos of Forge Valley Community School. We are a Green Flag Eco-School and Fairtrade School. Our Eco-School teams plan and run activities which enhance our sustainable ethos. When our building opened our design came second at the Sheffield Telegraph Environmental Awards.
Our students learn about sustainability though many subjects in the curriculum as well as extra-curricular activities in Enrichment as well as through the Eco-Teams.
We have been fortunate enough to work with other schools on our eco-ethos, including Wisewood Primary School and Thrybergh Secondary School. We also presented at the National Eco-School Show in Sheffield during June 2012.
In February 2012 we renewed our Fairtrade Status. We learn about Fairtrade through the curriculum as well as extra-curricular activities such as Fairtrade Fortnight. As part of enrichment a group of students designing products to compete in the Tradecraft Fairtrade Competition. We are working with the canteen to ensure that all products that can be Fairtrade are. We are also starting to work with Pinders, our uniform suppliers to try and make our school uniform Fairtrade.
Energy and Water
We measure the amount of energy and water we use in the building. We are actively looking for renewable energy such as solar panels. We have a biomass boiler which provides heating for the building. We have solar heating which provides hot water in the sports block. We had a talk from SilvaPower which provided the Biomass Boiler and provide wood chip which is harvested locally in woodland 5 miles from school. A group of Y7 students were able to visit the woodland and find out more about where the wood comes from. We plan to run Switch off Fortnight, Eco-hours and Switch off Standby.
Procurement and Recycling
We recycle clothes (raising money for your Ugandan Expedition), batteries, plastic, cans and paper & cardboard, ink cartridges, mobile phone & toner cartridges. We carry out composting from the staffroom and food technology. We have an aspirational target of 90% recycling in school.
We have the full International School Award through the British. We work closely with Kibuli School, a large comprehensive school in Kampala, Uganda. In July 2011, 20 students with 4 staff and a GP visited Uganda to carry out project work. Our counterparts visited the UK in June 2012. We will be visiting Uganda again in August 2013. See our website for more information. www.omukwano.org.uk
We think positive about where our students and staff come from. Around our library we display flags from all the countries that we have links with. This has been used on more than one occasion as a competition in tutor time for students to share.
We encourage all our students to make healthy choices in their lifestyles. As part of our healthy schools initiatives we run fresh fruit juicing selling and a healthy lunchtime cooking club. We are also in the process of developing our outdoor growing areas to include fruit trees, vegetable and salad allotment areas as well as a polytunnel. We have worked with Sheffield University volunteering (and Sheffield Architecture Department) to help build raised beds which will be used by the local community to grow their own food.
Environment and Biodiversity
We are a Green Tree School –Woodland Trust award scheme. In December 2011 we planted 3000 trees to develop our already well-established woodland further. We are planning on installing a bird and bat cam which can be viewed online – watch this space! We regularly survey the area for the wildlife which is around the school. In September 2012 we built additional raised beds.
We are planning on working with a local bat group to identify which bats live in the boxes attached to the school.
All our Year 7 students visited Wood Lane – an environmental centre next to the school to carry out surveys of the wildlife in the local pond and work out the age of local trees growing in the school grounds.
Travel and Transport
We are a Bike It School. We work with our students to ensure they travel safely to and from school. We work with SYPTE to ensure students travel safely on public transport. We are working with our travel advisors to ensure that our transport is as sustainable as possible. In June 2012 we received a 5 STAR Travel award from Sheffield City Council for our work on sustainable transport.
Litter is a problem for many secondary schools. We are working hard to reduce the amount of litter which is on campus as well as in the community. We work with the Wicked Waste team in Sheffield to plan ideas to reduce litter. We do this through litter-awareness campaigns, litter sweeps and litter picking.