In October 2019, the Steyning Grammar School (SGS) Eco Council achieved the most prestigious status from the Eco Schools programme - Green Flag. The Council is made up of 70 students from across all three campuses, Sixth Form and Boarding and is the most environmentally-driven, student-led and progressive council at SGS.
To achieve this award, the Eco Council was guided by the Eco Schools programme and completed seven steps:
The first topic which the student body worked on was Energy. They focused on the school’s electricity consumption by engaging in a student-led campaign which focused on assemblies, multiple staff briefings, communication sheets and two programmes of data collection. This data collection was carried out before and after the campaign and the council found that over 38% more classrooms had their lights switched off thanks to the hard work from students, staff and parents/carers.
The second topic which the team worked on was Marine, where the Eco Council partnered with the Humanities Department to create multiple Poppy Displays for Remembrance Day 2018, where 1300 plastic bottles were saved from going to landfill and instead used to create beautiful and commemorative displays at each campus (pictured below). They also worked with the Catering Manager and abolished the single-use plastic cutlery in the canteen, replacing it with biodegradable cutlery, hence saving ocean species.
The final topic chosen was Litter. After the huge success from the first campaign for Energy, the Eco Council created another campaign of assemblies, posters, communication sheets, staff briefings and much more. Once again, two programmes of data collection were carried out and the data collected showed that there was, across three days, a 41.3% decrease in the amount of litter across the campuses.
The Eco Council’s Co-founder, Michael Shirley (Year 11), says:
“From a room of just two people and our Co-Headteacher, we now have a dynamic, clever and clearly environmentally focused group of 70+ students and we are ready to create real change here at Steyning Grammar. I am immensely happy and proud of the progress we have made and would like to thank the Eco Schools programme for the guidance they have given us. We look forward to further achievements and milestones over many years to come, for our school, and most importantly, the environment.”
The Eco Council’s Co-founder, Josh Payne (Year 13), says:
“Amazing, we are now one of the largest schools in the country to gain this award. Every aspect of getting this award was challenging due to the complexity of SGS and just goes to show what students can do when they put their mind to something."
Now that the Eco Council has achieved this award, they will be working on introducing a recycling scheme and a clearer recycling policy, increasing and preserving our natural biodiversity at SGS and extending their current actions by abolishing all single-use plastics in the canteen.
You can follow their Twitter page for further information: @SGS_EcoCouncil.