St Mary's entered the KCSP Green Initiative Competition. Multiple year groups spent time thinking about how the school could become greener and how we could renovate new outdoor areas. As a school, we compiled these ideas and submitted our proposal to the trust. We found out, that out of the 23 schools that entered, we were shortlisted in the top six schools.
The next stage of the process was that three children were interviewed by Anne-Marie Whittle (Trust CEO), Michael Powis (Chair of the Trust Board) and Emma Johnstone (Finance and HR Assistant). The three children did amazingly well and explained each step of our proposal.
Shortly afterwards, we discovered that, because of the hard work of our children and the brilliant ideas that they came up with, the school is receiving £3000 to put the plans into action.
The children and staff are excited to see the school become greener and to be able to learn outside even more!
Please have a look at the wonderful work the children did!
Green Initiative Competition 2022 Overview
At St Mary’s, our children have long been environmentally aware. In recent years, they have participated in No Plan B campaigns and protests at our local harbour, an art exhibition about plastic pollution and engaged in forest school/outdoor lessons. We have a small garden on the school site, where we have a Forest School area and a space for outdoor learning. Our school council sells fruit at break-time to Key Stage 2 pupils, and we support our local food bank via the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.
We have a relatively small site, but it does include outside areas specific to most year groups, varying in ‘style’. Last year, Year 3 created an outdoor classroom where the children were able to try their hand at growing various plants – various vegetables, fruit and herbs, as well as the ubiquitous sunflowers! Had the pandemic been less present, we’d have liked to sell our produce to parents.
The Green Initiative Competition has come at a great time for us. We would really like to further the environmental interests of the children hand in hand with improving sustainability, helping our local community more and improving the learning of our children with regard to privilege and disadvantage.
We are currently looking at restructuring the school and this will mean that some year groups will subsequently be moving. This will perfectly coincide with setting up green areas for the children to care for and make their own in the new school year.
We put the competition information to children across the school, engendering lively discussion and much excitement. Many ideas were suggested, but the recurring lines of thought were around recycling and re-using, growing more plants, using the produce better and donating more to the community. From the suggestions and ideas of the pupils, a plan was formulated to get growing happening across the school.
GO GREEN - GROW - GIVE
In brief, we grow and use our own produce, donate surplus or profits, recycle by re-using rainwater and food waste for compost
Each year group has a specific growing area and undertakes the commitment to grow edible produce (amongst other plants)
Additional Educational Needs:
It is well-known that gardening and outdoor learning is of huge benefit to the wellbeing and development of all children and that this is particularly true for many children with AEN. We would like to develop our outdoor growing classrooms to incorporate plentiful sensory experiences – chamomile lawns, water walls, chimes and so on – in order to support wellbeing and engagement of all our children whilst simultaneously helping our school and the wider community with the Green – Grow – Give plan.
The children have spoken about putting well-being benches in the different garden areas for children to have time when it is needed.
Links to curriculum
This will not just be for a gardening club. Children over the last few years have enjoyed learning outside and understand the benefits of doing so. This can mean that we can link our outside areas with all aspects of the curriculum and make learning more hands on and engaging for the children.
What would the money be spent on?
Plant containers where recycled pots not suitable (e.g. size)
Water walls and other elements to heighten sensory experience
Raised water beds
Green houses Propagators
General equipment (trowels, spades, kneeling pads, seeds, watering cans etc.)
Attached are examples of the ideas of our pupils which have been combined here