Parsons Down Infant and Junior Schools in Thatcham: Eco School Green Flag with Merit

Parsons Down Eco Schools flag

Parsons Down Infant and Junior Schools in Thatcham Eco School is proud to have a Green Flag with merit award. Here is their latest news.

March 2024

On Tuesday 12 March we held an Ocean Protectors Day. This was devised by our pupil-led eco committee. On the day, everyone came to school dressed in blue and donated money to the Marine Conservation Society. £163.20 was raised for the charity.

The day began with an assembly led by Sam Carpenter from Eco Friends West Berkshire who explained how litter can easily get into the ocean via drains and rivers. Sam also talked about how reducing the amount of single-use plastic we buy can make a big difference.

After assembly, the children took part in various marine themed activities in class, including creative writing and crafts. Each class was also given a cardboard template to work on. These will come together to create a display board in the hall, demonstrating the danger of single-use plastic to the marine environment.

Parsons Down also set some homework to complete during the week. Families were encouraged to take part in The Big Plastic Count. The school hopes this will spread the message even further.

Parsons Down’s Ocean Protectors Day was a marine topic action for their work on the Eco-Schools programme. To find out more about what the school has achieved, as part of this programme, please take a look at the Parsons Down Partnership website.

April 2023

In April, we took part in a Walk To School Week, where staff and pupils were encouraged to leave the car at home and walk, cycle or scoot to school. 

The children were also given homework on this theme and produced some amazing work.

 

March 2023

We were delighted to collaborate with The Nature Discovery Centre (NDC) on Tuesday 14 March for a fun-filled and inspiring Biodiversity Day. The event, held at Parsons Down, was one of the school’s chosen actions for the Eco-Schools programme that they have been following for the last 5 years.

Children were invited to come into school in non-uniform, wearing something animal themed. Donations were also collected for the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT).

The day started off with an assembly by the NDC focussing on different types of animals and the habitats they live in. They then led workshops, throughout the day, for years 1-6 in our Partnership garden. Classes were split into groups and each group were assigned a different animal to build a habitat for. The children came up with lots of creative ideas based on the 4 things that animals need to survive – water, food, shelter and air.

Meanwhile, class teachers provided lots of different biodiversity activities in classes and outside, including making seed bombs for pollinators and feeders for birds.

Eco-Schools Coordinator, Miss Hargood, said “We hope that this will be the start of many more collaborations between Parsons Down Partnership and the Nature Discovery Centre.”

 

June 2022

In the Summer Term, we took part in a non-Curriculum afternoon where the children learnt about different types of energy, where it comes from and how we can help to conserve it. Following this, our Eco-Committee came up with their Top Ten Energy Saving Tips which have been shared with pupils and parents.

In addition to our topic actions for Eco-Schools, we have also made an impressive donation of 242.5kg of food to the West Berks Food Bank, transformed our Partnership garden with the help of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, taken part in Outdoor Classroom Day and sowed a wildflower meadow at Rivar Sand and Gravel!

January 2022

At the start of the year, we began regular lunchtime litter picks which take place on a Tuesday and Thursday every week. Each class has two litter monitors who are allocated a week each term via a rota.

We have also taken part in a litter picking event organised by Thatcham Litter Pickers for the Great British Spring Clean. Together, we filled 40 bags of litter.

We are currently working on ways to further reduce litter in our school, including running an anti-litter poster competition to raise awareness of the issue.

 

 

December 2021

This month we sent 3.135kg of crisp packets to Iron Man Survival Blankets so that they could be made into insulated and waterproof blankets for people living on the streets.

We have continued to have class monitors for switching off electrical items not in use. Our Year 6 IT Monitors also check the IT Suite and library at lunchtime and the end of each day to make sure computers are switched off. We continue to recycle crisp packets and pens with Terracycle. 

November 2021

We have started food waste recycling in the hall at lunchtimes. At first we were using one big bin but the bag kept splitting so we have now started using smaller bins that can be emptied more easily. Finn and James have written letters to local shops asking them to donate some compostable bags for our bins. If you can help please contact the school at office.pdj@pdp.w-berks.sch.uk or 01635 866700.

This month we had a Waste Warrior week to look at ways to reduce food waste. A lot of vegetables are wasted at lunchtimes! Staff from West Berks Council joined us on the day to create a film about our journey with Eco-Schools.

We also encouraged Foundation Stage, Year 1 and Year 2 to recycle their fruit waste at snack time and recycle their crisp packets from their packed lunches. And we would like to say a big thank you to Year 6 for starting to use the compost bins in the garden.

September 2021

This year, our Eco-Committee selected Energy, Litter and Waste as their Eco-Schools topics.

We received bins for food, plastic and metal recycling – after the previous Eco-Committee sent a letter to our finance manager to request this. The new bins have allowed us to increase the waste that we recycle in school. As well as recycling our food waste in the lunch hall, we are also composting the KS1 snack waste using compost bins in our Partnership Garden. We have also started to collect printer cartridges for recycling – a box has been placed in reception for parents to drop off their empties.

School Year 2020/2021

In the Autumn Term, we collected crisp packets that were then sent off to a charity that makes them into blankets for the homeless. One of our Year 6 Eco-Councillors also wrote to our Finance Manager, Mrs Lewis, to ask for a wider range of recycling bins so that the Partnership can recycle more different types of items. Mrs Lewis responded to say that she was planning for the school to have bins for plastic, metal and food waste, alongside the paper recycling bin that we already have. This will be implemented in September.

 

Throughout the year, every class has increased the amount of time they spend learning outside. On Thursday 20 May, we took part in Outdoor Classroom Day, where the whole school spent time outdoors taking part in learning activities, including wild reading, observational drawings, World War 2 drama, outdoor measuring and campfire cooking.

We have also spent time developing a shared school garden – our aim is to have a raised bed area for each Year Group to grow things in. To help with this, we have acquired a second-hand compost bin and Mr Vincent, our Site Manager, has set up a water butt to collect rain water. Next year, we will focus on starting to make compost – learning what can and can’t go in the bin as well as the science behind making good compost.

This Term, we have run a competition to encourage each year group to bring in donations for West Berks Food Bank, highlighting the issue of food waste. The winning Year group will be rewarded with extra playtime at the end of term. The Food Bank collections have been very successful so far.

We also started lunchtime litter picks in the Summer Term, with our newly appointed litter monitors taking it in turn to pick litter around the fields and playgrounds each week.

Miss Shepherd, Deputy Headteacher at Parsons Down Infant School, said, “Well done to all the classes and adults for the hard work that has gone into making Eco-Schools a big part of life at Parsons Down this year. A special thank you to the Eco-Councillors for doing such an amazing job of leading the school with all the different initiatives.”

If any other schools in our local area would like to contact Nikki Hargood to discuss Eco Schools, they are welcome to do so on ecocoordinator@pdp.w-berks.sch.uk

We have also been working hard on the Plastic Free Schools Programme, which we have incorporated into our Eco-Schools actions for the Marine topic. We progressed through 5 Objectives, including challenging Government and Industry and banning 3 single-use plastic items from school. The Eco-Committee voted to ban cling film, plastic bags and water bottles.

We also took part in West Berks Council’s “Name A Food Waste Truck” – two of our children even won, getting their chosen names printed on two of the food waste vehicles. 

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