Here at Goat Lees, although we are a small school with only 210 pupils, we all believe the welfare of our planet is everyone’s responsibility. We have many things that we do, day-to-day in school, to help our planet. For instance, every child that attends our school is giving a free re-useable water bottle (to save on single use plastics) which they can refill at one of our school’s water fountain. At the end of the day, each class collects all their undrunk water to be used to water the plants in our vegetable garden. We have paper/card recycling and food waste bins in every classroom. We also have ‘Compost Bin Monitors’ who collect green and brown waste to keep our compost bins well maintained; it is very satisfying when we use our own home-grown compost on our plants. Although our school, which is a relatively new build, was built to be eco-friendly with a green roof, solar panels, motion light sensors for all rooms in the school (although the school has been built to make use of as much natural light thus reducing the need of electric lights) and self-closing taps to reduce water waste, we still all do what we can to further reduce our energy consumption.
From our previous posts, you can see we have also been expanding and improving our outside area to make it an inviting place for nature to thrive in. Alongside this, we have become involved in many eco projects outside of school. One of these projects is working with Sustrans; Sustrans is a UK walking and cycling charity and custodian of the National Cycle Network. Its flagship project is the National Cycle Network, which has created 12,763 miles of signed cycle routes throughout the UK including 5,273 miles of traffic-free paths. They are currently running a project to create safer walking and cycling routes around schools for all who wish to use them. We have a small group of pupils from each KS2 year group who regularly go out to make sure the surrounding pathways are litter free and clear of brambles and other obstructions. Anything they cannot address themselves is reported to their Sustrans’ contact who puts the wheels in motion to remedy the problem.
Another project we have been involved with is the ‘Free Trees for Schools’ Appeal. We have now successfully planted 10 native trees (Hazel and Dogwood) and 10 hedgerow shrubs (Dogrose and Hawthorn) and eagerly wait as our Micro Wood grows and we watch as it comes to life with new inhabitants. We know how important tress are to the environment so were very excited when we were sucessful. This all adds to the wild meadow and the natural pond areas we have which are already teaming with life.
We are also involved with the RSPB, and have taken part in the ‘Schools’ Big Bird Watch’. This inspired us to build the pallet bird hides and to make bird boxes which have been put up in the tree lined, wild meadow area. From this, we now take part in the RSPB ‘Wild Challenge’ programme where they promote ways to get close to and help nature with fun activities. We have already achieved our Bronze Award and are soon to get our Silver.
Through the Covid Pandemic, we have been running Mindfulness Afternoons every term for every class. We understand how important mental health and wellbeing is for everyone; when we are happy and content we are better learners. This term we are joining up with our Eco Group to run some mindfulness activities based around recycled items. We will keep you updated with another post after the event.
Here at Goat Lees we are working hard for the ‘Climate Action Project’ which Roots & Shoots is running, but more importantly, we are enjoying making our school a better place to be.