19 July 2023
BCS shortlisted for an Environmental Achievement award
Bournemouth Collegiate School has been shortlisted for the Environmental Achievement award in the Independent School of the Year Awards 2023.
The awards programme, held each year, is coordinated by Independent School Parent magazine. The awards are designed to showcase schools' success stories and celebrate extraordinary and compelling student experiences. This year there are 22 award categories, which reflect the breadth and diversity of life as a student in the independent education sector.
"We're thrilled to be shortlisted for this award, which recognises our pioneering approach to inspiring pupils to love nature, care for their local environment, and believe they have a voice to effect change on eco matters on a larger scale."
BCS Prep Head
BCS Prep is pioneering environmental education through a three-pronged Environmental Education programme to inspire pupils to love nature, care for their local environment, and believe they have a voice to effect change on eco matters on a larger scale.
The three elements of the programme are developing Forest School, creating an Eco Curriculum, and promoting Eco Action, which combines to make a successful and central part of the BCS school ethos.
Developing Forest School
Forest School connects children with nature by providing fun, engaging, and achievable, practical activities to do outside in a woodland setting, fostering a love and appreciation of nature. It works! BCS pupils adore their outside environment and want to take care of it.
We run a 'Learning outside the Classroom (LOC) Week' each term for every year group. As part of this, pupils have a 'Forest School' day, with activities including fire building, campfire cooking, tools work, clay, and nature games. Each year group has a theme – birds, weather, trees, plants and flowers, minibeasts, and woodland mammals. We also run a LOC after-school club, which is always oversubscribed. Teachers can also link lessons to the curriculum for their specific subject area.
Creating an Eco Curriculum
We link our outside education programme to our whole school curriculum, promoting greater environmental awareness on climate change, habitats, deforestation, ocean health, and plastic pollution – starting with our local area. While there is nothing new with a cross-curricular approach, we have chosen areas with a specific Eco theme for all year groups. And as our school is in a coastal area, we focus on marine issues. This year we have raised money for the Water Aid charity, including:
- 'Wearing Something Blue Day' for donations.
- Christmas Fair Eco stall – selling handmade Forest School crafts such as log Santas and pine cone decorations to promote having a plastic-free Christmas.
The group has also visited a local Water Recycling Centre to understand what happens to our wastewater. On the back of this, they held an assembly for the whole school on the importance of conserving water.
Promoting Eco Action
Our Eco group came together cohesively a couple of years ago, working to gain the Green Flag award. The focus has been letting pupils lead the way and have a voice. We also have half termly Eco Action Days, where Eco group pupils disseminate the information to the rest of the school through assemblies – leading to whole school action. We now have recycling bins, pen and crisp wrapper recycling, and compost bins in every classroom. They converted our cleaner to eco-friendly cleaning products, introduced 'meat-free Mondays', set up our wildlife area, and routinely feed the birds. We are applying for 'Plastic Free School' status from 'Surfers Against Sewage' and ran our first 'Plastic Free Week'.
Moreover, the whole school participated in local litter picks, and the Eco group helped with a local beach clean-up. They have also made beeswax food wrap and had a BCS Bag for Life sale. From local action to national awards, the pupils have grown in confidence, developed their leadership and communication skills, and are deeply committed to making a difference environmentally.
BCS will find out if they are a finalist in this year's Independent Schools of the Year Awards on 5 September. Winners will be revealed at an awards ceremony in October.