ISA Sustainability Award
We are proud to announce that Ayscoughfee Hall School has achieved a 'Highly Commended' in the ISA Award for Excellence in Sustainability 2023.
This award recognises that Ayscoughfee is passionate about the environment and takes seriously it's responsibilities towards our planet.
Here are just some of the things we have achieved that contributed to our 'Highly Commended Award':
Our Eco Club, led by our Sustainability Coordinator, Emily Patman, have already achieved several environmental awards for the hard work and commitment they have shown. These include Eco Schools Green Flag Award (with distinction) two years in a row, The Woodlands Trust Green Tree School Award (Gold level), The Royal Horticultural Society Level 3 School Award and Plastic Clever Kids Levels 1, 2 and 3- we are now officially a Plastic Clever School!
Over the past two years, we have undertaken regular litter picking sessions around our local area and are junior members of ‘Spalding Wombles’. We have planted a hedgerow along the front of our school to both create a biodiverse habitat and absorb carbon emissions from the road which runs directly in front of us. Biodiversity throughout the school has also increased with the creation of a bug house, bird feeders and log pile in Forest School. Next we plan to have a bog garden and compost area, which will create more habitats!
We have taken part in the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch for the past 3 years.
One initiative of which we are particularly proud is our new school garden area. With the help of our PTFA, parents and the local community, we cleared an overgrown patch of land on the school grounds and created a wonderful growing area, with polytunnel and raised beds, which are now full to bursting with fresh produce, including rhubarb, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, courgettes and runner beans. The children have just started using some of the food that they have grown in their cookery lessons, and it is our aim to build on this. Once the garden is fully established and crops more plentiful, we intend to work with our local foodbank to pass on surplus vegetables. We also aim to sell our produce with funds raised being donated to the foodbank.
You can take a look at our ‘School Garden Project’ blog to view all the hard work that went into the development of the garden.
This year, Year 4 have joined forces with East Mercia River Trust and welcomed some baby elvers into school. East Mercia River Trust are working on the Spalding Reconnected programme, looking at ways to improve the biodiversity of the river Welland by potentially providing floating habitats as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded project.
We decided to participate because eels are endangered species, and this was the perfect opportunity to teach the children about what that means, why it has happened and what we can do to help. The project allowed our children to care for elvers, which were collected as they migrate from the sea to rivers, for five weeks before they were then released back into the river.
Our children are an animal loving bunch and have also raised money for the World Wildlife Fund. Each class carried out a fundraising activity and raised enough money to adopt an animal for their class. We had Reception Tigers, Year 2 Elephants, Year 4 Snow Leopards and many more.
Continuing our support for the World Wildlife Fund, this year we donated the proceeds of our fundraising for World Ocean Day to the organisation. The children all dressed in blue for the day and made a small donation. We also drew a picture of a wave on the school playground and children and parents filled it with loose change.
Earlier this year, the whole school took part in a weeklong initiative to raise awareness of plastic in the oceans. Each class used a different book to inspire work linked to the subject of protecting the oceans. Our Reception children loved the book ‘Somebody Swallowed Stanley’ by Sarah Roberts, whilst Year 6 enjoyed ‘Flotsam’ by David Weisner. The children each produced a piece of writing and some artwork using completely recycled materials. Year 3 made amazing fish from old CDs and Year 5 completed a giant collage of a Seahorse using recycled plastic including bottle tops, crisp packets etc. As a result of their learning, the children voted to ban the use of several forms of single use plastic, including cups, cutlery and rulers. Every child in school now has a wooden ruler and we are committed to continuing this practice.
Recently, as part of our Wellbeing Week, we encouraged children to walk, or park and stride, to school. This was very successful and one of our goals for next year is to begin a ‘Walk on Wednesday’ initiative to help reduce our carbon footprint.
Another project for next year is to turn our attention to the school buildings. We are now exploring the possibility of solar panels to reduce our carbon footprint even further.
With energy costs being so high, looking at ways to lower our consumption of electricity and gas has benefitted us as well as the planet. This year we have encouraged everyone to take part in a ‘switch off’ day, where only the most necessary energy usage was allowed (no interactive whiteboards or photocopying). We have also developed a ‘printometer’ to decrease photocopying. Last year we reduced our total number of copies by over 36,000. Our target this year is to go even lower!
Our governing body is also involved in our focus on Sustainability. Since 2022 we have had a governor committee which focuses purely on sustainability and reports directly back to the main board of governors. This keeps our senior management team focussed on issues relating to sustainability and introduces another level of accountability in school.
As a small school we are very proud of our commitment to sustainability and all that we have achieved so far. There is always more to do, but we are all brimming with enthusiasm for the tasks ahead.