Students at Parkfield Primary school in Middleton are flying the flag for environmental awareness.
Across the corridors and classrooms of Parkfield Primary school is a display of their eco commitment – “Every day, everywhere, all the time – be seen to be green”.
The ethos of energy efficiency and recycling runs throughout the school; from food caddies in all classrooms to locally sourced food in the school kitchen and requesting paper straws with their daily milk cartons for pupils.
They have recently launched their pupil led campaign ‘Parkfield Prohibit the Plastic’ which has seen scores of parents make a pledge, many choosing to switch from plastic butty bags to foil wrapped and reduce bottled water use.
Staff and pupils were proud to show off the initiatives they have set up across the school to help recycle more, use less plastic and reduce energy waste.
Pupils took part in a water taste test which saw tap water pitted against bottled water with a resounding victory for tap water, encouraging more to make the switch.
Pupils were also treated to the news that, through their efforts raising money from recycling initiatives, they have adopted a seal, an animal regularly under threat from plastic pollution in oceans.
Pupil Kelsey Parkinson was awarded a recycling superstar certificate for her dedication to the campaign as she picks up plastics from in and around school to recycle.
The eco team have been hugely influential across the school. They have waste watchers who check that waste has been put in the correct bins. Eco team member Bella Stewart, 11, designed a form to leave for those that have put waste in the wrong bin that explains why and what they should do in the future as education on recycling is a key focus for the team.
They also have litter police who monitor the school grounds for littering and energy inspectors who work with the caretaker to monitor the meter readings of the school and see if their work is making a difference. They check lights are not left on in empty rooms and that the heating isn’t on it a room with the window open and dish out red and yellow warning cards to energy wasters.
Their hard work is paying off in many ways and the school have recently been awarded the prestigious eco school green flag to fly with pride in the playground.
'I was so proud to see our young people tackling climate change and environmental issues'
Councillor Kieran Heakin, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “It was fantastic to visit Parkfield Primary and hear all about the eco work they are doing. The passion and enthusiasm from pupils and staff is contagious. I was so proud to see our young people tackling climate change and environmental issues; to be learning from such a young age about the impact we are having on our environment is really important. The school is doing a tremendous job and they should be delighted with the positive change they are making.”
The school works closely with the council’s recycling team, and they’ve taken a particular liking to Recycle Dave. Dave Leeming, a recycling offer at the council, has been pivotal in providing the school with resources and information to help them realise their recycling dreams. Pupils honoured Dave’s commitment by creating a Recycle Dave scarecrow, made from items they’ve collected for recycling, that greets visitors at the school reception.
'I would encourage others to get involved in becoming an eco school'
Karen Bracken, business manager at Parkfield Primary and leader of the eco team, said: “I am so pleased to have been able to show off the fantastic work our pupils are doing on such an important topic. We are always looking at more things we can do, the enthusiasm across all staff, pupils and families is really encouraging and I would encourage others to get involved in becoming an eco school.
'I am really grateful to them for their hard work and passion in protecting our planet for the future'
Council leader Allen Brett, who has launched an initiative to reduce plastic use at Number One Riverside, was delighted to hear about the vital work of the eco team: “I’m on a campaign to make Rochdale one of the first single use plastic-free boroughs in the country. The work of our young people at Parkfield Primary is playing a vital role in achieving this. I am really grateful to them for their hard work and passion in protecting our planet for the future. I hope other schools can follow in their footsteps.”
Greater Manchester has also announced it aims to be the first plastic free city by 2020 at the Green Summit organised by Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham.