21 October 2020
The commitment to caring for the environment demonstrated by students at St Mary’s School has earned recognition as we have been awarded seven Green Flags!
We have just been awarded its seventh Green Flag by Eco-Schools, an international initiative run by Keep Britain Tidy, which aims to encourage young people around the world to value and care for their environment.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of connecting with the natural world. We want to empower our young people to take positive steps to change and to encourage others to do the same.
“Achieving the Green Flag for the seventh time in succession is a great achievement,” said Mrs Sarah Wilding, St Mary’s Eco Co-ordinator. “Our students are certainly passionate about looking after our environment for future generations. Their most recent campaign at the Senior School is to encourage the whole school community to wear reusable face masks, highlighting the environmental impact disposable masks have. Hannah in Year 11 has even made her mask out of some recycled St Mary’s school uniform!”
St Mary’s is an Ambassador Eco-School and has its own student-led Eco Teams, which spearhead recycling and sustainability activities within the school, while also sharing its eco experience and expertise with like-minded organisations globally through conferences and seminars. The school was awarded its first Green flag in 2008 and has been assessed every two years by Eco-Schools in order to be re-credited.
The school recycles as many materials as possible and initiatives are in place across the school to ‘reduce or re-use’, including clothing and stationery recycling, reusing packaging for art projects, composting fruit/vegetable scraps from the school kitchen with the popular gardening clubs teaching pupils the confidence and skills to grow their own fruit and vegetables. Reusable bottles are also part of the St Mary’s school uniform list, with a ban on single-use plastic water bottles.
St Mary’s works very closely with Colchester Borough Council in promoting Eco Schools and sharing knowledge and experience of eco-friendly school initiatives. The school also has an association with Essex Wildlife Trust to protect and enhance the biodiversity of the school grounds and Essex Wildlife Trust staff regularly lead environmental workshops for students. As a Round Square member, St Mary’s Eco Teams have been involved in Environmental Collaboration video conferences. Along with other student delegates from across the globe, the girls had the chance to listen to and question schools in Australia, China, India and South Africa focusing on the topic of the impact of marine pollution and plastic waste. St Mary’s annual ‘Eco Week’ involves all students in the school in activities designed to encourage environmental awareness. During the most recent Eco Week, the Lower School girls took part in an upcycling art project, using pieces of waste plastic to create colourful artwork.