The Eco-Council aimed to give the children of Mere Green a greater understanding and knowledge of the issues around protecting the environment. With feedback from the local community being used as a measure of success of the pupils, the Eco-Council remains a major link between the community and school. Every week during the school term, pupils spend time taking part in eco projects and even give up their time during school holidays.
The 12-strong Eco-Council has worked tirelessly over the course of the 2013/14 academic year helping to organise a range of activities and overseeing the designing of posters which are displayed around the school and especially on the ‘Eco Council display board’. Birmingham City Council, Waitrose and the local neighbourhood forum are just a number of outside agencies the Eco-Council has engaged with.
In terms of how the Eco-Council has had a wider impact on the school’s environment ethos, Lis believes the success of the council is largely due to the initiative of the children. “Initially, the council just looked at having paper and cardboard recycling in school, as well as water butts and composting.
“We have helped plant 100 trees in the wider community. In the local community we have had positive comments when we litter pick. We have also filled three planters in the Mere Green community, improving the appearance of the area. Mill Court (retirement apartments) were very grateful for the bulbs we sent before Christmas. Several residents have commented to our Community Enhancement Leader about how they cheered up the flats during the winter months,” she said.
With class representatives set to be chosen at the start of the next academic year, the club is set to continue to grow with more suggestions from pupils on how the school could improve their local environment. An example of this is the planning of a school eco day to take place in the next six months where outside speakers will give a talk to pupils on measures they can take to make them more eco friendly.
The development of the Eco-Council has helped increase pupils’ self-esteem and confidence. There has also been enhanced collaboration between the year groups within the school and an improvement in children’s ability to discuss ideas with peers and adults.
Lis added: “The pupils have an increased knowledge of environment issues and how their actions can reduce negative impact. We hope to work more with Waitrose, Mill Court and the council on future projects. We are looking in the future to work with other schools in our learning academy to see if we can learn from each other.”