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The Down’s School, in Compton, celebrates winning Green Flag Award for environmental endeavours

Green-fingered pupils are celebrating their environmental award win.

Year 8 and 9 pupils are celebrating being awarded their Eco-Schools Green Flag, which is given to those who go above and beyond to improve their local environment.

The school’s eco committee has been meeting every Wednesday lunchtime for a year to discuss different ways to reduce waste and promote sustainability within the school grounds and the local community.

Headteacher, Chris Prosser, and head of geography, Helen Hicks, with the eco team in the green area
Headteacher, Chris Prosser, and head of geography, Helen Hicks, with the eco team in the green area

So far, participating pupils have accumulated more than 100 hours of volunteering — invaluable experience for their CV for when they come to apply for jobs and university.

Its activities have involved delivering assemblies, setting up display boards, stopping using herbicides and pesticides, establishing a therapy garden and introducing no-mow areas around the edges of the sports fields and school grounds.

Pupils also visited Hampstead Norreys Community Shop & Cafe to hear a talk on sustainability by one of its volunteers.

The green area in the school grounds
The green area in the school grounds

Speaking about the award win, headteacher Chris Prosser said: “We found out in the summer. I think it’s fantastic that, first of all, the students are taking responsibility for the environment.

“As a geography teacher, it’s really important that the younger generations start to get involved because it’s their future.

“What’s been so impressive is the commitment they’ve shown. To move things on, not only within the school, but with external partners like Hubba. As you can imagine, it’s quite difficult to get funding for schemes like this as well.”

But he says the work has only just started.

“One of the big areas I’d really like to move on with is recycling. As you can imagine, in a school of 1,300 pupils and 200 staff, there’s a lot of paper and plastic.”

Discussing how the school plans to improve recycling, head of geography Helen Hicks added: “We’ve won this award to get the bins in school, so the first step is getting those bins distributed and getting the message out about what can be done.

“Once we’ve got those out, it’s then branching out into niche specialist areas like batteries and recycling pens, pill packets, but it’s one step at a time.”

She continued: “We’ve just done so much. Considering we meet for half an hour every week, what we’ve managed to do in a year has been amazing.

“And those are just the foundations.”

For the future, the committee is considering getting involved in an annual littler pick around Compton.

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