Parsons Down in Thatcham wins Eco-Schools Green Flag award and inspires other schools

Pupils, staff and parents at Parsons Down have worked extremely hard towards being awarded the Green Flag by Eco-Schools. This highly sought-after accreditation is the result of a year’s worth of eco actions and activities devised by our pupil Eco-Committee.

Since September last year, the Parsons Down Partnership has focused on the topics of Energy, Water and Waste, making significant environmental changes in school. Together, we have recycled crisp packets and pens, switched off electrical items when not in use and learned about the importance of water – raising money for Water Aid in the process.

Many of our pupils (from all year groups) volunteer as monitors, reminding their peers and adults in school to turn off lights and computers when they leave a room. Posters in the classrooms and lunch halls help children remember to recycle and our parent’s association help us to recycle the crisp packets and pens through various schemes. We even have children who volunteers to litter pick in their lunch breaks! We have also covered environmental topics as part of the curriculum – from learning about plants in Year 2 to assessing the impact of deforestation in Year 5/6.

Being aware of the impact we can have on the environment has become very much part of our school ethos, not just while working towards our Green Flag. We have highly valued outdoor learning for a number of years and make regular use of Thatcham Discovery Centre, allowing children to explore and observe the world around them throughout the year. We are extremely lucky to have such an amazing resource on our doorstep and believe our pupils develop a love of nature through spending time there, which helps to build eco-awareness.

Even during lockdown, the eco work has continued. On Earth Day, we set a competition to write an Eco-Code – a requirement of Eco-Schools – a mission statement that demonstrates our commitment to improving environmental performance. The winning entry was an inspired eco rap written by one of our Year 5 boys.

Each year group were also set Our Planet Projects during lockdown, providing a great scope for eco home learning across the whole Partnership. We have also shared a number of exciting eco activities, such as The Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild, on the Home Learning section of our website. This has been promoted via our Daily Challenge videos, shown on our Facebook pages and Blog. There is even an Eco-Schools From Home page which has been used to display environmental activities, games and information as well as to share photos of the environmental work the children have been doing during lockdown. This has given the children a chance to continue to develop their environmental impact within their home and local community.

An important part of the Eco-Schools scheme is to spread the word about taking care of the environment. During the shutdown of schools across the country, we have built on our Eco-Schools web page, which includes an eco-blog feed and curriculum work as well as the Eco-Committee’s action plan. Together with the Eco-Schools From Home page and our Facebook groups, we have endeavoured to inform and involve our community as best we can in the current climate and we hope to build on this in coming school year.

Gaining the Green Flag has been a real team effort, involving staff and parents but most importantly a dedicated group of children who want to raise awareness of climate change and do their bit to save our precious planet. We couldn’t be prouder of our pupils and school community as a whole.

See here for more information on the Eco-Schools program.

If you’d like to book on to one of the forthcoming open days at Parsons Down, please email office.pdi@pdp.w-berks.sch.uk

Lynda Shepherd

Acting Deputy Headteacher
Parsons Down Partnership
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