The students in Harrow Way Community School’s after school Eco Club worked together across year groups to try and make their local area more environmentally friendly.
“When Alicia was in year 7, she was inspired by a documentary on Sir David Attenborough. She immediately went to our head teacher about ideas she had gathered. He was happy to act on this and set up meetings. However, coronavirus struck.
“Fast forward a year or two (which felt like a decade) and with everyone coming back to school, we were eager to put our plan in to action. A prefect team was put into place and an Eco Club was formed.
“At the same time, we discovered the Young Citizens’ Bring About Change programme and loved the idea. We immediately started thinking about an area we could improve. We narrowed it down to two local places. We used the cost-benefit analysis tool and a school-wide survey to help decide what we could do and where we could do it. This also gave us a chance to get other students to help us with the project.
“A keen and awesome group of Year 8s turned up with ideas and enthusiasm. With them on board, we decided to focus on improving a small field behind the local BMX track.
“We contacted the local council to see if we could start work on it. They did not say much but we were allowed to do a litter pick which we completed in our own time. We had ideas for more improvements, but unfortunately the council then said that there was little more we could do with the area other than scrub clearance and more litter picks.
“This would not deter us and we were not going to stop at that. We regrouped and discussed what we were going to do and what our next steps were. We decided to turn our focus towards our own school. We went back to our head teacher who listened to our ideas and was just as eager as before to promote sustainability.
“We agreed to put sustainability at the heart of the school’s ethos. On July 1st we had a no single use plastic day across the school. We even persuaded the canteen to join in! We also decided to have an eco-ambassador for every tutor group in the school who would get involved in regular litter picks in the community and work with staff to improve habits around sustainability. To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, we planted a Himalayan Birch tree outside the front of the school.
“Our head teacher has also allowed a wild meadow on site to attract butterflies. He is very keen on the idea of having a mural to honour the history of our school’s name and the surrounding area, which will also improve the local environment. We’ve already got our wonderful history teacher and a group of year 9 students to come up with some brilliant designs which will be professionally painted.
“Meanwhile, we certainly have not given up all hope on the council. We have really enjoyed our Bring About Change journey so far and are not stopping here!”
Sign up for the Bring About Change Programme.