“Eco-Schools is an international award programme that guides schools on their sustainable journey, providing a framework to help embed these principles into the heart of school life.”
Over the last year Damers First School has achieved the Bronze and Silver Eco Awards and in April 2016 we achieved the prestigious award of the Eco Green Flag. There are only 12 schools in Dorset to have achieved this award.
Gill Hickman (Eco Green Flag Assessor) said in her report:
“There are obvious strengths in the school’s work in global dimension, energy and grounds but it is the sheer scale and breadth of work in sustainability at Damers that is breath-taking. All staff support the agenda and the children clearly love it. Green Fingers are fine ambassadors for their school and should be congratulated for providing a particularly exciting tour of the school in action. The engagement and enthusiasm for education for sustainability by so many members off staff in different curriculum areas was highly impressive.”
In a whole school approach we have embedded eco topics within our curriculum to include energy, waste, recycling, water and learning outdoors. We will continue to develop these learning experiences.
Damers First School has an eco-committee called “Green Fingers” and each class from Foundation to Year 4 nominates their own representative. There is also a staff “Super Eco Team” who meet to plan eco activities across the curriculum throughout the year.
What have we done so far?
Virgin Fiver Competition
A group of children from the Eco Club and Entrepreneur Club took part in the Virgin Fiver Challenge. Both groups joined together and came up with the idea of using the school’s recycled paper and wildflower seeds to make and sell Garden Grenades, a completely eco-friendly product. The children made the Garden Grenades, designed their own packaging and created the slogan, “Just plant and watch them bloom”. Garden Grenades were sold by the children in many locations – Poundbury Farmers’ Market, Dorset Food and Arts Festival and Poundbury Garden Centre to name a few – and made £915 profit.
Our children were announced as the winners of the Virgin Fiver 5 – 8 year olds Best Group Category, beating children from 750 primary schools nationally. A small group of them went to an all-expenses paid awards ceremony at the Ham Yard Hotel in Piccadilly, London.
Last year we started to collect biscuit wrappers and used pens to recycle them for money as part of teracycle. https://www.terracycle.co.uk/en-UK/ Recycle bins can be found in the Office Foyer of the school.
If you wander up to our school garden you will see bird boxes and bird feeders which were made by Year 3 children with help from Thomas Hardye School Design and Technology teachers.
The Local Eco Schools Officer donated compost bins and water butts and we had a highly informative whole-school assembly on composting to kick-start our knowledge of how to use our composting area. We have started to use the compost on our raised beds to help our vegetables grow.
In eight weeks over the summer term in 2014 we built an eco-greenhouse from recycled plastic water bottles. The whole school collected 1500 plastic bottles and we had a running totaliser each week to see how many more bottles we needed. The Greenhouse was constructed by Year 3 and their teachers with support from Prince’s Trust Volunteers. It was funded by a local businessman who is also a parent. The Greenhouse will be moving with us to the new school on Poundbury.
A weather station with rain gauge, wind vane, wind speed measure, temperature and humidity thermometers, has been added to the garden.
Mr Misun has worked hard over the year in conjunction with Sustrans to promote sustainable travel to and from school with a particular focus on bikes and scooters. We have bike shelters in the school grounds which have encouraged more children to come to school by bike or scooter. These will be taken with us to the new school.
Plans for the future …
We are looking forward to developing our new school garden on Poundbury in the Spring and Summer 2017.
Learning more about Sustainable Energy
On the court yard roofs in our new school there will be solar panels. We look forward to seeing how much energy we can produce from the sun.