We were thrilled to be a Finalist for an award in The Environmental Achievement Category at the Independent School of the Year Awards 2020. 

The Independent Schools of the Year awards were launched in 2018 to highlight the excellence of the student experience in independent schools, and in the three years since then we have seen countless examples of schools thriving in innovative new ways. 

Given the new challenges faced by schools following the Covid-19 public health crisis, the purpose of the awards this year is to play a constructive role in assisting the recovery of the sector by amplifying the message that independent schools are on the front foot once again and delivering success in new forms.

The judges will be meeting again at the end of summer to reach a decision on the winner of each category and results will be announced in October.

Below is our entry:

In September 2019, St Ives launched its ‘Big Green’ Master Plan.

Our first activity was to conduct an Environmental Review of the school.  Pupils then wrote speeches and presented to their peers - our Eco-Warriors were born. Pupils made their ‘green’ pledge and we created our pledge tree to remind us daily of our environmental responsibilities.

Eco-Warriors meet regularly - setting our priorities

  • Save water
  • Save electricity
  • Reduce food waste

They ran projects to fund initiatives, made posters and spoke in assemblies.

For Water

  • We had a mini–project to switch to a 3 minute shower instead of a bath.

For Energy

  • Pupils worked with the Bursar to take metre readings and monitor energy usage.
  • We held a switch off event and took part in earth hour, pupils again worked with the Bursar to monitor electricity bills.

For Food Waste

  • Our pupils weighed it and created graphs to show our results – we managed a big change and reduced our waste to over three-quarters of what it was.
  • Plant 1 Tree - pupils dressed in green and donated £1, we planted 100 trees.
  • Eco–Bricks – this challenge is ongoing throughout the year.

Reduce, Recycle, Re-use

  • As part of our Reduce, Recycle, Reuse drive, pupils looked at different materials for packaging, found out where the produce came from, calculated the miles it travelled and whether it’s packaging could be recycled.
  • Pupils researched the produce and packaging that goes into making a roast dinner and identified more eco-friendly choices. They created guidelines on how to shop in an ‘eco-friendly’ way.

Green Halloween

  • Rather than buying a new costume for our Halloween Party our eco-warriors in Year 4 arranged a costume swap – pupils loved getting their ‘new/green’ outfit.

Christmas Decorations

  • For Christmas, pupils made decorations from natural materials, focussing on the benefits compared to traditional decorations from non-recyclable materials.
  • Year 3 eco-warriors organised a Christmas Jumper Swap.
  • Instead of cards we made a paper chain with recycled paper, each link contained an eco-wish.

Product Life Cycles and Energy

  • Looking at Product Life Cycles & Energy, pupils thought about reusing and recycling paper and visited our local library.
  • They learned about paper and its life cycle as a renewable resource.
  • They had opportunities to re-use paper to create structures and to use the paper in science-based tasks.
  • We set a challenge to visit public libraries regularly to borrow and re-use books, rather than buying new.
  • Pupils researched forms of sustainable energy and learned about the life cycle of everyday products from a visiting speaker.
  • Senior pupils heard from Steve Williams, a Green Councillor what is means to be ‘carbon neutral’. 

Love Haslemere, Hate Waste

  • As part of a local Haslemere initiative for Upcycling – Love Haslemere, Hate Waste - all pupils had the opportunity to upcycle material and old clothing to create something new. 
  • Pre-Prep pupils have upcycled odd socks into sock puppets to create a non-plastic toy. They have then used these to create a story about recycling to share with others.
  • Senior pupils participated in a workshop from a visiting speaker focussing on re-purposing items of clothing so that they can be worn again. They learnt to create a mood board and to bring their design to life using only the resources available. They all upcycled an old piece of clothing in a different way to create their own unique stationary item.

We hope this year is just the start of a greener future and St Ives pupils will have the knowledge to influence and inspire others to be responsible guardians of our planet for many years to come.

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