Eco Schools and The Green Flag Award

In 2019, Mersey Park Primary School received the Green Flag from Eco Schools Awards, after working on a series of projects to help the environment. Outlined below, are the aims and actions we took to achieve the Green Flag and also our next steps. We are very proud to fly our Eco School flag and will work hard to continue our efforts to promote environmental projects and raise awareness of our responsibility for our planet.

Every year, an Eco Team is selected from each class; one pupil voted for by their class from Years 1 to 6. We meet regularly to discuss our progress and make decisions about our next steps in helping both our environment in school and the wider community and world.

To achieve Green Flag status, we had to work on projects covering three main themes, over at least a two year period and present evidence of our impact. The themes we chose were: Litter, Biodiversity and Healthy Living.

Litter- This was an obvious one to choose as litter can be an issue in our local environment, especially in our local park. This was a project with instant impact and we collected lots of litter! However, we soon realised that this is an ongoing issue, so we are committed to collecting litter on a weekly basis. Alongside this, we regularly draw attention to this issue in school assemblies, with the intention of educating pupils not to litter in the first place and to take that message back home to their families. As a whole school, we take part in Keep Britain Tidy’s Big School Clean Up each year. We also have a mission to use non-recyclable plastic to make Eco Bricks and have so far made a raised bad out of the bricks.

Biodiversity- Our aims for this theme were to develop our school grounds to encourage more wildlife, including plants and to enable pupils to notice and appreciate the biodiversity in our local and worldwide environments. Over the last few years, we have made Mini Meadows, developed wild flower areas and allowed nature to ‘rewild’ certain parts of our school grounds. We have bird feeders and Bug Hotels to encourage animals into our environment. As our garden beds have developed, we have created compost areas, which also encourage biodiversity. Extending out into our community and beyond, we take part in the annual Big Bird count and have supported charities such as the Hedgehog Sanctuary. In 2018-19, we took part in Chester Zoo’s Palm Oil initiative, learning about the impact of growing palm oil has on rainforests and what can be done to manage this for the benefit of all. As part of our curriculum through Science, we look at habitats, including excellent visits to local parks such as Birkenhead Park and Royden Park, to explore their biodiversity. We have also worked on the RHS Garden Award scheme and are the proud owners of a Level 4 certificate!

Healthy Living- Again, this was an obvious theme choice for our school, as we were already doing so much as part of our curriculum, especially through Design Technology. Every year group has a Food and Nutrition project to complete as part of the DT curriculum, focussed very much on healthy foods.  To extend this further, the Eco Team and Foundation Stages developed food growing beds, planted with a range of fruit and vegetables to be primarily used in our cooking.  Our pupils see how some food is grown, then help harvest, prepare and cook to create nutritious, healthy meals. They take a copy of the recipes home, in the hope they may pass on our message about healthy food and healthy lifestyles. Also as part of this theme, our pupils take part in activities such as Mile a Day walks and Fitness Friday, to highlight exercise as part of healthy living. We truly believe in a healthy mind as well as healthy body and there are lessons and activities imbedded in our curriculum to promote mental health and wellbeing, such as Wellbeing Day, breathing techniques and PSHE units.

The next steps. We need to maintain these three themes and make them an everyday part of school life. We also need to choose two new themes to work on over the next two years. We have chosen Waste and Marine. Our general aims are to improve our recycling systems in school and get involved in local marine conservation projects.