Stalybridge school’s pride at going green

A STALYBRIDGE school is more than happy to look green after winning international recognition.

Pupils at Copley Academy have earned an Eco-Schools Green Flag award after taking on the challenge of becoming more environmentally friendly.

The Huddersfield Road establishment has seen the message hit home and benefit them in terms of seeing gas and electricity bills go down.

About 50 pupils, in year 10 and year eight, collaborated with assistant principal Jo Tidbury and Manchester United Foundation officer Matt Fejos to conduct an environmental review, assessing how eco-friendly their school is.

They reviewed everything from the school’s recycling practices, to energy usage, to how environmental themes are covered in classrooms.

Pupils from Copley Academy

They then planned a year of activities that would up their green credentials, a gardening club has been started and a garden created.

And as one pupil stated: “We went from having nothing about conservation to introducing the group and being told, ‘We want your ideas.’”

Jo added: “At the start of the last academic year, we had two sets of students – one who worked with me on what we call a make a difference club and a group who worked with the Manchester United Foundation.

“Some of the key threads that came through both groups was they wanted to have an impact around environmental issues.

“So we looked at how we could achieve the eco-school certificate and get accredited for the work we’ve done around the school environment – that covered everything from having a push on recycling, getting students to think about issues connected to littering to campaigning towards admin and catering staff about switching from plastic to metal cutlery for instance.

Inside the eco garden

“Students wrote to site staff on building work to ask, ‘Can more environmentally friendly designs be used to ensure we don’t lose as much heat through windows or doors?’

“And all these different things have had an impact. We’ve seen our gas and electricity bills go down.”

Eco-Schools is an international education programme that prompts young people to explore

sustainability and climate change and take action.

Its England Manager, Adam Flint, said: “Earning an Eco-Schools Green Flag Award

takes passion, commitment and a desire to make a difference.

“Pupils should be proud of their great work. They’re an inspiration and it makes us feel heartened and positive about the future of our planet.”

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