Children love nature. They love to get their hands muddy, to watch creepy-crawlies scuttle around in the leaves and to observe tadpoles turning into frogs.
At St Faith’s we want to harness this passion to create global citizens who understand and have a respect for the world around us, and who want to protect it for the future. Our pupils help drive our eco agenda, through the Eco Committee and have increased awareness of ecological and environmental issues throughout the school. As a result of this in 2011, St Faith’s was awarded the status of a Green Flag school which was re-awarded again in 2013, 2015 and 2017. In May 2014, St Faith’s won the Ashden School Awards, the UK’s most prestigious green energy prize which acknowledges school achievements in ‘going green’ and cutting carbon. The national recognition for our efforts starts at the very top with solar panels on the school’s roofs, while further low-cost steps include pupils making simple heat reflectors for radiators out of cardboard and kitchen foil, and improving insulation – the most recently built ‘Passivhaus’ building hardly needs any heating in the winter. Backing this all up is a rigorous regime for monitoring energy use, a ring-fenced budget for investing in energy-saving measures and incentives for all staff to save energy.
We are fortunate to have acres of fantastic green-filled spaces with trees and nature-friendly areas, which proudly display hedgehog houses, bug hotels and a conservation garden. The Jubilee pond is home to a host of aquatic and land animals, the most recent arrivals including a pair of ducks who have decided to start a family here. The “Wild Place” is used by our youngest classes giving them the opportunity to explore, create, assess risk, work together and learn about the natural world. Our children can often be found outdoors during lesson time where academic subjects are brought to life through hands-on experiences.
In 2017 we launched our first ‘Great British Nature Day’ which saw every lesson across each year group focus on Great British Nature. Younger pupils looked at the symmetry of butterflies during Maths lessons while older pupils learnt about Fibonacci sequences and how to calculate the number of blades of grass in a square metre. Science lessons focused on the differences between honey and bumble-bees. Our Engineering classes looked at the types of wood produced by our native trees and how nature inspires engineering design.
Sustainability is an integral part of the school’s ethos and curriculum, it extends beyond the school gates by embedding the mind-set into every pupil. In Pre-Prep, one pupil wears the coveted ‘Tortoise Badge’ every day, and has the privilege of being last to leave the classroom, ensuring that all lights are switched off and that doors are closed. Year 4 pupils have designed and built bird houses in engineering lessons, testing their skills in an area that matters to them. Our youngest and oldest pupils have written the school’s “eco code”, in the form of poems, which are displayed in every classroom, reinforcing our principle that being eco-aware should be nothing out of the ordinary.