St Mary’s Senior School Eco Team standing in their uniform in front of the Eco Schools Green Flag With Distinction

Eco-friendly St Mary’s achieves Green Flag with Distinction!

6 July 2023

The commitment to protecting the environment demonstrated by students at St Mary’s has earned the highest accolade of recognition by being awarded a Green Flag with Distinction.

St Mary’s has just been awarded its eighth 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.

“Achieving the Green Flag with Distinction 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 has included setting up a pupil-led Beach Club, whose drive and passion for protecting marine habitats and wildlife have resulted in whole-school and community initiatives that have raised awareness and money for their plight.”

St Mary’s was praised for their Environmental Review where input was sought from various school stakeholders, such as estates staff, and catering and business managers which Eco-Schools recognised as demonstrating a cooperative approach to help engage others in Eco-Schools work. They identified that the environmental topics have been embedded into the curriculum at St Mary’s with great enthusiasm and that these issues are used to enrich learning within the school, whilst engaging young people in important issues. Eco-Schools concluded in their feedback that they were “incredibly impressed by how St Mary’s Eco-Schools work has united pupils, staff, families and the wider community to a common goal”.

St Mary’s is committed to becoming Carbon Net-Zero by 2050. The school recycles as many materials as possible and initiatives are in place across the school to ‘reduce or re-use. These include Swishing ‘Swap don’t Shop’ events, reusing packaging for art projects, the innovative annual ‘Trashion Show’ where each form groups create outfits from either upcycling or junk. The popular gardening clubs at both the Lower School and Senior School teach pupils the confidence and skills to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

St Mary’s works very closely with Colchester City 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 recently 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 activities centred around endangered animals and painted stones in celebration of Colchester Zoo’s 60th birthday for ‘Colchester Zoo Rocks’ commemorative garden project.

Our Locations