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Children’s green fingers help school raise the flag 


Pupils at Asterdale Primary School have worked to achieve international accreditation for their exceptional work in promoting sustainability and raising environmental awareness among their peers. 

Image shows L-R, Eco Council Members Ava-Maria, Ava Whatley, Connie Partridge, Emily Roome, with the Green Flag.
Image shows L-R, Eco Council Members Ava-Maria, Ava Whatley, Connie Partridge, Emily Roome, with the Green Flag. 

They have achieved the Eco-Schools‘ Green Flag award, a symbol of their work to improve the environment and commitment to appreciating the outdoors. 
The Spondon school’s Eco Council, which has a representative from each year group from Reception to Year 6, completed the application for the Green Flag status with support from Forest School leader Louise Sumner. 
It highlighted their focus on three key issues which formed their action plan for the year: transport, school grounds and litter. Throughout the year, the Eco Council at Asterdale Primary School, part of the Odyssey Collaborative Trust, has worked with other pupils to improve each area. It has encouraged sustainable ways of getting to and from school through the Living Streets project, carried out litter picks, and planted trees and shrubs to improve the school grounds, with support from local charity Trees For Spondon and the Woodland Trust. 
Council member Ava-Maria said: “I really like doing the litter picks and I like it when it looks nice and tidy afterwards.” 
Fellow member Emily, in Year 3, brought her green fingers to the council’s work.  

“I wanted to get involved because I like helping my dad in the garden, so I really enjoyed planting trees at the school.” 

The school’s successful Forest School was also a large contributing factor to the application, which resulted in not just the awarding of the flag, but also achieving it with Merit. 
Louise said: “A lot of what we do in our weekly Forest School sessions with pupils ticks many of the requirements for the application, such as developing an appreciation of the outdoors, creating bird feeders, bug hotels and things like that, that is what we do in our sessions.” 
The Green Flag is awarded for one year, and while the Eco Council members change each academic year, the current council is keen for their good work to carry on. 

Council member Ava, in Year 4, said: “I’d really like them to focus on energy saving next year, things like reducing the amount of electricity we use. I want us to carry on being good.” 
Since being awarded the flag, the Eco Council has given a whole school assembly to let everyone in the school know what it means and what has gone into achieving it. Presenting their work is something they do quite frequently, as they have to take minutes of their Eco Council meetings and then feed back to their classes what was discussed. 
“Once, after a litter pick, we noticed that there were a lot of paper straw cases in the playground which had come from our canteen,” explained Ava. “So, we went back to our classes and told them about how important it was to be careful about how they used and got rid of their waste, particularly the cases, and we saw less of them around after that.” 

And Louise is keen to point out that the award is something the whole school has helped to achieve. 

“The Eco Council has been brilliant in putting this application together and working so hard throughout the year, but each and every pupil has contributed to us getting this award through their Forest School sessions, walking or cycling to school and being part of our two-week RSPB bird watch and other environmental activities, we have run.” 

Head teacher David Evans agrees that every pupil should be proud of the achievement. 
“This award has been achieved this year, but it is an acknowledgement and recognition of the ongoing hard work our staff and children put in to looking after the environment, taking pride in our school grounds and getting stuck into their Forest School sessions. Well done to each and every one of them and a particular thank you to our Forest School leaders and Eco Council, their work on this project has been nothing short of amazing.” 
The school is hoping to display the flag proudly at its site in Borrowash Road, and is appealing to any sponsors who could help fund a flagpole to get in touch.  

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