This year we have set up an Eco-Committee consisting of 14 students from all year groups. The Eco-Committee works alongside Eco-Schools which is an international award programme guiding schools on their sustainable journey. As a school we hope to reduce pollution and waste and encourage a greener lifestyle.
Switch Off Fortnight
St Thomas Aquinas School is taking part in the Pod’s Switch Off Fortnight campaign from 3rd-14th February, which is sponsored by EDF Energy this year. More than 1,500 schools across the UK (and beyond) are joining in to take action and to change the way they use energy. Over the fortnight, students will explore different energy sources, debate which ones should be used to power the UK and learn about the actions we can all take to use this important resource in a way that minimises the impact on the environment. On a practical level, students will focus on saving energy at school by running an energy audit and identifying where energy is wasted. All the activities are designed to get young people to think about the ways they use energy, as well as sparking an early interest in science and engineering. The main aim of Switch Off Fortnight is to inspire long-term behaviour change and to help people understand the actions they can take to use energy efficiently.
Clingfilm and Sandwich Bags Update
Following our huge success of our Wear Green Day in November, the use of clingfilm and sandwich bags is down by 90%. Children are continuing to bring in reusable plastic pots, which is fantastic to see. It is extremely important to St Thomas Aquinas School that all pupils are aware of how plastic pollutes our oceans and endangers marine life. By putting a stop to clingfilm and sandwich bags we are not only reducing our waste and have also inspired other schools to reduce their waste, creating a greener future for all.
Year 4 Visit to MK Recycling Factory
As part of their class topic on recycling, Year 4B visited the Milton Keynes Recycling Centre. They learnt how to separate waste and which products could be recycled. They then entered the recycling factory and saw how our waste bins are sorted by machines into paper, card and plastic. They were amazed at how much waste was being sorted in the factory. Year 4 were then shown the cubes of waste which were ready to be shipped and turned into new products.
Milton Keynes Eco Warriors
The Eco-Committee team here at St Thomas Aquinas School have recently taken part in the Milton Keynes Council Eco Warrior trial. This involved the children completing tasks which raised awareness on climate change and helped to create a more environmentally friendly setting around school. Our school has so far planted 75 trees around the field to help the environment and have stopped the use of clingfilm and sandwich bags. Every child has now been given a reusable plastic pot to use instead.
Following the trial, St Thomas Aquinas School were selected to be the exemplar school and will lead the roll out of the Eco Warrior scheme across Milton Keynes. This is a fantastic achievement and something both St Thomas Aquinas School and Milton Keynes Council are extremely proud of. Councillor Emily Darlington visited our school to explain the roll out of the Eco Warrior scheme and to present our Eco-Committee with a certificate of achievement. Well done to everyone!
Milton Keynes Council have released the following press release:
Milton Keynes Council have also released the following clip:
Instead of Christmas crackers, which contain non-recyclable paper, non-recyclable hats and toys wrapped in single use plastic, we made our own party bags which were made using reusable organza bags.
Milton Keynes Council ran an assembly on why recycling is so important. We were told how we can reduce waste, what happens to recycled produce and how many products can be reused. Milton Keynes Council then held a workshop for our Eco-Committee. Here the Eco-Committee were able to ask questions and then relate the answers back to their classes. This was a very informative workshop which the children thoroughly enjoyed.
The Eco-Committee have been very busy planting trees this term. St Thomas Aquinas School were given a lovely donation of some trees and we now have 75 new additions to our school field. This a fantastic achievement and a huge step towards a sustainable future.
Save Our World
Pupils were so inspired by the Wear Green, Go Green day that Year 6 decided to write a song about saving the turtles and Year 2TL have written a prayer for the amazing world.
Year 5 conducted an experiment to see first-hand how plastic pollutes the environment and how natural items decompose. They added apples, leaves, foam and plastic to some soil and left them for a month. They predicted the plastic would not decompose.
Year 5 were surprised to see the results. The apple had completely decomposed, the leaves had turned almost see through and the plastic and foam had not changed. Year 5 are now convinced that natural products are far better for the environment than plastic or synthetic products.
Wear Green, Go Green Assembly
For our Wear Green, Go Green Day our Eco-Committee held an assembly highlighting the effects of plastic pollution. Did you know that unless we make changes now, by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish?
Wear Green, Go Green Day
On Friday 15th November, pupils were invited to wear green.This was to show support for our planet and to raise awareness of the effects single use plastics are having on it. The most shocking impacts of marine plastics are that it is ingested and the entanglement of hundreds of marine species. Animals such as seabirds, whales, fish and turtles mistake plastic for food and most will die of starvation as their stomachs are filled with plastic. At St. Thomas Aquinas we are strongly encouraging pupils to refrain from using any clingfilm or sandwich bags and to use a reusable plastic pot instead, which will be provided to all children.
We are proud to announce that on the 11th October 2019, St Thomas Aquinas school achieved the Eco-Schools Silver Award. This is a huge step towards achieving our Green Flag Award.
We are also proud to announce that following the hard efforts of the Eco-Committee and help from Breakfast Club we have now installed out first water butt. This will enable our students to use recycled water to feed our plants and vegetables.
The Eco-Committee have carefully selected light monitors for each classroom. Our new light monitors are in charge of ensuring lights are switched off anytime the classroom is left empty. They have also recently installed posters next to each light switch in every classroom encouraging pupils to switch the lights off.
KS2 Recycling Factory Visit
Our KS2 Eco-committee members recently visited Milton Keynes Recycling Factory. They learnt t which items can and cannot be recycled and what happens to our recycled items. They also learnt about a range of technologies which sort and separate the paper, cans and plastics and how they are then baled ready for transportation to be made into new recycled products. This visit was very informative and our pupils have returned to school full of knowledge as to why it is important to recycle.
Following the hard work of our Eco-Committee and the success of the climate change assembly, we are proud to announce that on the 16th September 2019 we were awarded the Eco-Schools Bronze Award.
Climate Change Assembly
At the end of last term, our current year 6 class felt it was important to tackle climate change. Each child wrote a letter to our local MP Mr. Iain Stewart explaining their concerns and asked for advice on tackling issues. After receiving and reading all 30 letters, MP Mr. Iain Stewart arranged to visit the school.
Our Eco-Committee held an assembly and invited Mr. Stewart on stage. Pupils asked questions about renewable energy in Milton Keynes, his ideas on how to make a global impact and why climate change is not taught in schools as part of the National Curriculum.
“It was wonderful to meet pupils at St Thomas Aquinas to discuss environmental issues and hear their ideas for helping the planet,” said MP Mr Iain Stewart.
Our Eco-Committee have created a school Eco-Code – our own ethos for the school.
We recently carried out an environmental review on our school. We discovered that we were really good at maintaining our school grounds, reducing pollution by actively travelling into school and we have a great understanding of healthy living. We also discovered that we needed to improve on some areas such as our understanding on marine life conservation (the effect single-use plastics have on marine life), being able to feed plants using recycled water and reducing the energy we use.
We have chosen to focus on improving these 3 topics: Marine, Energy and Water.