In response to the government’s target that every school should be a sustainable school by 2020, Danes Hill set up the Eco Committee in 2007 with the aim of becoming an Eco School.
Soon after the formation of the Eco Committee, an Environmental Review was undertaken to gain a realistic picture of Danes Hill’s environmental performance. This Environmental Review was carried out by the pupils. Areas that were covered were: litter, waste minimisation and recycling, energy, school grounds/biodiversity, water use, pupil activities, healthy living, transport and global perspective. Pupils have also been taken to a landfill site at Albury where they were able to get an idea of the colossal amount of rubbish that is thrown away and what is done with it.
Things really started to gather pace in the academic year 2012-13 as members of the Eco Committee created an Eco-Code. The Committee also carried out a waste paper recycling review of the school, drew up a weekly waste collection rota and installed an Eco Committee suggestion box in the main school entrance. In the Summer term, the Committee planted various vegetables including potatoes, radish, and onions as well as popular cooking herbs in the school’s vegetable garden. The Eco committee members now have a rota during the week on Tuesday and Thursday for watering the vegetable garden.
In 2014-15, the whole school took part in the Golden Boot challenge from 8 June to 12 June. The challenge encourages all children to find an alternative ‘Eco-friendly’ way to come to school. Each pupil received a point for coming to school by either walking, scooting, cycling, on the school bus, car sharing or park ’n’ stride. The winning form received the coveted ‘Golden Boot Trophy’ and a prize for everyone in the form.
In the 2015-2016 academic year the school Eco committee broadened its horizons further by participating in an exciting experiment called ‘What’s Under Your Feet’ in order to determine why a variety of birds in England is in decline. Committee members from years 2-5 enjoyed getting their hands dirty on our school fields, gathering information for a national survey to help increase the wildlife in this country. In addition, the senior members of the school organised a ‘Make a Difference Day’ where the whole school was educated on how to reduce its carbon footprint at home and at school. Finally, Upper School members of the committee took part in a gardening competition that was judged by the school grounds staff with the aim of making our school more attractive to wildlife.
This year has been highly successful for the Eco Committee. They have increased the number of green recycling bins within the school, whilst continuing to collect recycling on a weekly basis. The Lower, Middle and Upper School committees took part in waste pick-ups around the school supporting Science Week and Eco Day. Last term the Eco Committee also launched a nature photography competition, which encouraged pupils to go outside and capture some fantastic pictures, which is currently being displayed in the Main School library. The Lower School have also planted over 300 trees on the site of Danes Hill School!
Since the start of the school year, the Eco-Committee have been striving to achieve their Bronze Eco-Schools award. They have had regular meetings, completed an environmental review and created an action plan. The children have decided that they would like to focus on improving our energy use, reducing the litter on site and reducing the waste we make. It is with great delight that the Eco-Committee can announce that they were successful in gaining this award. Well done Eco-Committee!
The president of the Eco Committee along with the pupil and adult members of the action team are the driving force behind the eco work being undertaken at Danes Hill. The President of School Eco Committee for 2019-2020 is Sophie Clark.
The role of the Action Team is to:
- Ensure that the whole school is aware of the Eco-Schools programme;
- Take the lead in carrying out the Environmental Review;
- Ensure that all sectors of the school community are represented in the decision-making process (as far as possible);
- Provide a link between pupils, teachers, senior management team, governors and the whole school community; and take the lead in delivering the Eco-Schools Action Plan