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Sheffield Girls' receives visit from Department for Education to mark new achievements in sustainability

The sun was shining as pupil eco reps from Year 5 and Year 9 at Sheffield Girls' welcomed a delegation of visitors to school to learn more about our ecological credentials and priorities for sustainability in the year ahead.

Gayle Boulton, Head of the Sustainability Support Programme at the Department for Education joined students and teachers to tour the infant, junior and senior site and witness a number of eco projects in action. She was joined by colleagues from Zellar, a business offering sustainability solutions to enable organisations to create SMART behavioural and operational recommendations for activity with tangible and positive climate impact. 

Daisy and Aimen in Year 9 led the group in a discussion about some the recent projects and achievements in the Seniors school, including:

National Education Nature Park project - turning grey spaces to green spaces
Achieving EduCate Global Bronze Award
New landscape and rewilding projects
Fundraising for conservation charities
Uniform and textbook donations to the Zikomo Trust in Malawi
Switch to LED lighting throughout all buildings
Reduction of printing by students and staff
Annual clothing swap and ‘Food for Thought’ days

Our Year 5 eco warriors completed the morning with a discussion about ways in which they are making changes to last a lifetime and how these changes are impacting life at home as well.

Some of the projects with the greatest cultural impact have included:

The big plastic count - an annual competition run by Greenpeace to highlight the impact of individual and household plastic consumption
Meat free Wednesdays
Big Schools’ Birdwatch
Banning the use of single use plastic water bottles
Christmas swap shop
Just one tree - charity day
Cut Carbon November 

The juniors were also able to share work from Year 6 forms’ recent ‘A Better World’ topic with examples of their future ‘Green Schools’ models, and they discussed their involvement in the GDST We Are One project to encourage more birds and wildlife onto the school grounds, using feeders, bird tables and compost. 

Earlier in the year, a group of junior and senior pupils from the school attended the South Yorkshire Schools Climate Conference, taking part in workshops about climate change and Q&A sessions with local organisations delivering climate initiatives. The girls have been able to bring back learning from the event into school to drive further change and start new conversations with peers and teachers. 

After the morning’s tour, Gayle Boulton reflected on what she’s seen and heard: “It was inspiring to meet the children and young people at Sheffield Girls School this morning and hear about the different projects they're involved in and driving, through all phases of their education. The girls were passionate and well informed and rightly very proud of the positive action they're taking. “I was also struck by the whole school approach with an action plan and a sustainability team drawing from all areas of the school including catering, curriculum leads and caretakers. It was fabulous to see how this has helped sustainability become a fundamental part of the school culture."

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