From cross-curricular projects to student-led initiatives, we’re taking positive steps, both big and small, to make our school a greener place. Our focus on eco-friendly behaviours extends beyond the classroom including our use of fresh produce and solar energy. We’re proud of the progress we’re making, and there’s lots more to come.
We have introduced various sustainability topics and eco-issues into our curriculum. Our Second Years pupils, for instance, have undertaken a cross-curricular project on sustainability spanning ICT, art and geography. In art they looked at how graffiti artists use the medium to communicate powerful messages about climate change. In the world of science, our biologists have been studying a range of environmental topics including the role of plastic-eating bacteria. Even our youngest pupils in Prep School are engaged in our Mind, Body & Soil programme which has weekly sessions focusing on sustainable food production. They tend their own garden patches, grow different crops and cook with their produce. This year, they have produced so much they are even selling items at our Christmas Fair.
Outside of the classroom, the student-led Eco Committee, established in 2019, meets weekly to drive the school’s environmental initiatives. Their efforts have played a crucial role in the school being shortlisted for an Independent Schools Green Award. The committee’s dedicated members have had their hands full with a range of projects, from building bird boxes and bug hotels to transforming an old chest of drawers into a pollinator paradise, promoting biodiversity on School grounds. Recently, the group have also decorated a Christmas tree to highlight the dangers of fast fashion and advocate changing our online buying habits. They used vintage fabrics, old clothing and reused waste wood.
Beyond the committee, our pupils have all been engaged in numerous green initiatives, from planting trees and producing land art, to embarking on a ‘Do Something Green Challenge’. They have contributed to the online GoGreen magazine to share eco ideas and created an eco-news assembly and board to share the latest positive environmental developments. Some of our pupils also rescued a hedgehog which prompted others to keep a look out and help hedgehogs in need, which led to a very popular bake sale raising money for the Wolds Hedgehog Rescue Centre.
Pupils have also been inspired by events and speakers. They were able to participate in a wildlife club with Ian Andrews, teacher of classics, who implemented a school I-naturalist account to identify and catalogue campus wildlife. Pupils will also be joined for a symposium on the 7th of December by Simon Eggelston and Tony Flavell from Greener Pocklington. They will share developments in scientific research on climate change and enlighten pupils about community initiatives happening in the local area.
We are also committed to implementing the environmental changes we teach. The School’s support services, for instance, are making changes to be more energy efficient, including the installation of solar power systems in our theatre and art and design centre, removing non-LED lighting and transitioning from petrol to electric power for our ground equipment. Our design technicians have also been working on a method to recycle bottles to use in the 3D printers.
Similarly, the School’s catering team focuses on using fresh produce from local suppliers and the campus widely promotes eco-friendly behaviours, such as turning off unused IT equipment and lights, recycling materials and issuing electronic school reports and notices. We also make use of eco-friendly cleaning products.
The impact of Pocklington’s sustainability stays with our students, as is evidenced by the creation of an environmentally conscious art installation by Old Pocklingtonian, Kai. The installation created a dystopian supermarket focused on the environmental impact of consumerism. It came complete with a website detailing how the planet will be affected if we consume unethically.
At the Pocklington School Foundation, we are proud of the strides we have taken to create a greener and more sustainable school. Yet, we recognize that our work is not finished and continue to search for more ways to improve.