By Linda Guilding - July 21st, 2022 | Posted in Article No comments

Our Lady and St Joseph school, Lymington has done it again!

This time they have been awarded the Eco Schools Green Flag!

The Eco Schools Green Flag is an international accreditation that has recognised and rewarded young people’s environmental actions for over 25 years.

Applying for an Eco-Schools Green Flag is the perfect way to acknowledge, reward and celebrate the ecological achievements of young people. It clearly demonstrates that their hard work is appreciated and it provides them with the confidence and motivation to continue actively engaging with environmental issues now and throughout their lifetimes. It creates the next generation of innovative, inspirational environmentalists and tells local communities that a school, college or nursery is forward-thinking and actively engaged in protecting our planet.

The full commendation for OLSJ school:

We like your approach to selecting the Eco-Committee members by a democratic voting system as they were chosen by their classmates. This democratic approach demonstrates a creative and inclusive approach to the programme.

It is great that you have encouraged the students to take ownership of the project and that you are using it to boost the confidence of children in this way!

We also love how active your Eco-Committee is in communicating messages to the school through assemblies and to class groups. It is inspiring that you communicate with each other through using a variety of methods including Padlet and the Internet. This is really informing and involving and shows how valued and embedded the Eco-Schools programme is in your school.

It was really great to read how your Environmental Review provided the basis for the projects in your Action Plan. You used the COP-26 Summit as the driver for your Eco work across all 5 partnership schools where the Environmental Reviews were completed.

Your Eco-Committee leaders from your partnership schools came together to discuss how you could make improvements and sustainable changes, using the Environmental Review as the stimulus to do so. This system demonstrates a reflective and considered approach to your Eco-Schools work.

These are impressive skills that many adults could learn from! You’ve clearly taken efforts to connect your biodiversity, marine and transport projects happening across the school and embedding work into curriculum and everyday school life in a really impactful way. This is really inspiring and clever.

Your action plan is great! The actions that you planned out were really SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound). This is important as it helps to achieve progress and empower your Eco-Committee. It was also great to see accountability and monitoring and evaluation clearly marked in your Action Plan and that you identify monitoring activities in great detail. Excellent work!

Your curriculum links were really creative. Encouraging students to make links during Geography, Science and PSHE lessons sounds educational and fun. For example, encouraging the students to create posters and then having the best ones adapted by a graphic designer for display throughout the school. !

This approach to embedding environmental concerns into curriculum sounds engaging, fun and relevant. This kind of pedagogical work challenges pupils to make links between theory and the real world and hopefully approach topics in a fresh and relevant way, and is a great way to encourage students to take ownership of local environmental issues.

We also thought your Eco-Code image posters were relevant, fun and inclusive!

We are impressed how the whole school has been informed of your Eco-code ideas through a variety of means including a comprehensive Padlet website, and how teachers are clearly u on-board and are actively encouraging the children.

You’ve also clearly looked both internally and externally and engaged with different stakeholders including the local county council and the CARITAS charity. You used a professional graphic designer to convert student posters into display material.

Also impressive is your outreach with the local community. This kind of work is a great example of the collaborative approach we will all need to adopt to combat pollution in the environment – your application made us feel really positive for the future.

Your achievements this year have been wonderful – all your hard work in school including your eco song! It’s wonderful to see the school enacting many eco initiatives throughout the academic year, including planting in your improved school orchard and wildflower seeds for your ‘capping the bank’ project.

It is wonderful that you are increasing your bee hydration stations and creating bug hotels! It is amazing news that you are taking part in the forestry awards. It is also so inspirational that you are taking part in RSPB bird watch activities, and your Padlet diary really shows off all the incredible environmental work you embed into your school curriculum, truly making the Eco-Schools initiative an integral part of your school life.

Congratulations to everyone for the great work you have managed to do. You should all be very proud of your amazing work and the great application you have submitted. You’ve more than earned your Green Flag accreditation!