St Mary’s School for Girls selected as a national Eco-Schools Ambassador
St Mary’s School for Girls, Colchester, has again been selected to take on the prestigious role of Eco-Schools Ambassador, along with just eleven other schools across the country, in recognition of the school’s commitment to creating a sustainable future.
Eco-Schools is the largest Sustainable Education programme in the world and is run in England by Keep Britain Tidy. To date more than 17,000 English schools are registered with the programme, with over 1,700 holding the International Eco-Schools Green Flag award.
On 31 March 2014 Eco-Schools announced twelve Eco-Schools to take on the Eco-Schools Ambassador role for two years from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016. Each year Eco-Schools choose exceptional schools across the country to represent the programme and encourage new schools to join. Schools hold the role for two years, and must have held the Eco-Schools Green Flag award for four consecutive years to be eligible to apply for the role.
‘Eco-Schools Ambassadors are expected to work above and beyond the expectations of the Green Flag award, going that extra mile to demonstrate that sustainability is core to the school’s culture,’ explained St Mary’s Eco Co-ordinator, Mrs Sarah Wilding. ‘Ambassadors must show inspirational leadership and help other schools to adopt the Eco-Schools framework.’
St Mary’s is committed to creating a sustainable local environment for the benefit of future generations and environmental awareness is fundamental to the St Mary’s ethos. The school’s successful eco efforts range from solar panels and recycling water on the school site, to making compost and collecting pens, jewellery and even bras to be recycled. However it also extends beyond the school – knowledge and experience is shared with local organisations, showing them the way to develop their own eco programmes and so spreading the sustainability message. The school takes part in eco initiatives, including Colchester in Bloom (last year winning two prizes) and East Anglia in Bloom, and is instrumental in the Colchester Sustainability Fair, demonstrating eco policy to local businesses. St Mary’s invites local schools and organisations to see green initiatives in action and runs training workshops in conjunction with Colchester Council.
In February 2013 St Mary’s hosted an Eco Schools conference, welcoming delegates from schools, youth and community groups and local authorities across the East and South-East of England to network and learn how to follow St Mary’s lead in safeguarding our environment for the benefit of future generations.
‘We rely on committed schools such as St Mary’s to help spread the Eco-Schools message and to support other schools in their Eco-Schools journey,’ commented the Eco-Schools Assessors. ‘St Mary’s has demonstrated that it does both of these things with commitment and passion. The school has a very enthusiastic Eco-Schools Committee and there are good links between the Senior and Lower Schools. The girls on the Eco-Committee and their staff co-ordinators are real advocates for their school environment and beyond. We very much look forward to working with St Mary’s as an Eco-School Ambassador for a further two years.’