1. Who sits on the Green-Schools committee?
How does it operate?
Robertstown National School originally registered for the Green-Schools project in January 2003. However the following school year our green school campaign was put on hold while our new school was being built. We continued to recycle as much as possible considering our situation; we were re housed in pre-fabs at the front of our school. In January 2006, at the beginning of the year we formed a committee and developed an Action Plan. In September 2006 a new committee was formed as many of the children on the original committee had moved onto secondary school.
The present Green-School committee consists of:
- The Green Schools co-ordinator
- Teachers Representative on Board of Management
- A teacher
- Parent volunteers
- Elected representatives from fifth and sixth class
We held our Green School elections at the beginning of September. First, fellow students nominated children from fifth and sixth classes for the election. Following this the children from senior infants to sixth voted for the candidate they thought would do the best job.
Each child on the committee has responsibility for aiding the management of litter and waste from each of the classes. They also take responsibility for monitoring the recycling centre. The committee has a fund, which was initially given to us from the Board of Management. Since then we have used the “cash for clobber” initiative to raise money. Cash for Clobber scheme aims to encourage textile recycling within schools by exchanging bags of unused and unwanted textiles for cash.
Each monthly staff meeting has a slot for discussing environmental/Green Schools issues and teachers communicate progress, decisions and plans. Our monthly whole school assembly also has a slot for environmental issues and the children are reminded regularly of our policies in relation to reducing, reusing and recycling.
The parents association meets regularly and issues concerning the Green-Schools are discussed at these meetings along with regular requests for help from parents.
The teachers’ representative on the board of management communicates the Green Schools progress to the Board of Management.
The green schools committee meets on the last Friday of each month to keep up to date of the development of our green school campaign.
Chairperson: Maeve Stynes
Secretary: Kevin Dowling, David Morrin
Treasurer: Niamh Ryder
PRO: Katie Murphy, Craig O’Sullivan, Aishling Roche and Megan Dee
Other Members: Mary Dillon ( Principal)
Shiela Lynch (SNA)
Debbie Roche (parents Rep)
Michael Ryder ( Parents Rep)
Megan: Waste Bin
Craig: Recycling Bin
Aishling: mobile phones, batteries, cartridges, bottle tops.
Kevin: Litter monitoring
David: Bird feeding
Niamh and Katie: Composting
2. How did you undertake your environmental review?
In 2007, the pupils of fifth and sixth class undertook the environmental review based on the an Taisce document. Based on the results of this our focus has been on energy use, litter and waste management along with the reduction, reuse and recycling of everything possible within the school. A further mini review was done in January 2008, this was just to change our actions in line with what was happening in our school e.g. Electricity to be monitored more closely as we now have 6 interactive white boards. We need to investigate further ways of saving electricity We are constantly reviewing what we do to make sure that our committee is meeting the changing needs of our school and also that we are utilizing all the facilities available to us.
3. How did you decide on the targets for your Action Plan?
The committee steered an environmental review with in the school. They distributed the review to all classes thus involving all pupils and staff. The committee then compiled results that they presented at a committee meeting.The following targets were then Laid out in our Action Plan based on the facilities at our disposal at the time and based on the priorities as we saw them.
|1. To reduce waste further
|2.To make school a litter free zone
|Whole school – core group in charge of litter
|3. To compost all fruit and vegetable waste from classrooms and staffroom
|Whole school Core group in charge of composting
|4. To recycle as much as possible, paper, books, cans, ink cartridges, bottle tops, mobile phones,stamps etc
|Whole School plus core group of children in charge of recycling
|5. To re-use material where possible e.g. Newspapers, cardboard, toilet rolls
Photocopying both sides
Laminating items for long term use
Re using envelopes
|Excellent co operation from all staff and children for this initiative
|6 To encourage wild life into school garden Birds, butterflies
|(a) Bird feeding group
(b) Fifth/Sixth planted a butterfly garden
|7.Litter free lunch – encourage the use of flasks and lunch boxes
|8.Networking All staff minutes and other resources to be placed on the shared drive this helps to reduce the amount of paper used in the school
|Teaching Staff and secretary
|9. To have the school newsletter available on the school website www.robertstownns.ie and only to give out hardcopies when requested
|Use of re-cycled paper and card in art classes
|Highlight and remind classes and staff of what and where to recycle and compost
|Review of food waste
|5th and 6th class
|5th and 6th class
4. How far have you progressed towards your targets?
Target 1: To halve the amount of waste going to landfill.
This target has now been surpassed. We are now sending only half of one wheelie bin to the landfill compared to two full bins before this project began. In September 2005 it was decided to remove bins from the classrooms and for the children to take home any waste they have. We left the compost buckets and paper recycling bins in the classrooms, thus encouraging pupils to bring a litter free lunch to school. Teachers are also asked to take home any lunch waste, which cannot be dealt with through the school’s recycling facilities. The green school committee monitor daily the content of the various bins and informs the relevant teacher if there is a problem.
Target 2: To make our school a litter free zone.
As the pupils of Robertstown NS are not allowed to eat lunches on the yard, there is not a problem with lunchtime litter. In the past we did need litter picking after each lunchtime. However after reviewing our lunch policy we decided the children were no longer allowed to eat on the yard this has meant that we no longer have a problem with litter around the school. On occasions we may find waste, which has been left behind by vandals. This litter can be nasty at times with cans, glass bottles, cigarette butts, take away waste etc. A member of staff who is on the Green School committee picks up this litter. This litter is recycled where possible.
We have also established a tidy classroom award, this is a great success, classrooms get awarded points for keeping their rooms and area outside their rooms tidy and clean. At the end of each month a trophy is given to the classroom with the most points for the month.
Target 3: To compost all fruit and vegetable waste from classrooms and staff room.
As our school has a healthy lunch policy, there is lots of fruit waste in all rooms. Each classroom and the staff room have a compost bin into which this waste is placed. There are collected each day by a group of children and the fruit is put into one of our compost bins. We have plans to purchase a three-tier wormery when funds become available.
Target 4: To recycle as much as possible
The school recycles:
- Old books
- Tetra pak (milk and juice)
- Plastic bottles
- Mobile phones
- Computer cartridges
- Paint bottles
Target 5: To re-use materials where possible
In our school we try to photocopy on both sides of the sheets
Laminate things for long-term use
We try to encourage the use of eco art. This means that we use old newspapers, cardboard, bottles etc. in our art activities. This year we also plan to use a great deal of recyclable materials while making our costumes for our Christmas concert.
Target 6: To encourage wildlife into the garden.
We achieved this by buying bird tables and bird feeders. We allocated a group to monitor the feeders to ensure that the birds have food when they need it most. The butterfly garden is a great success and attracts quite a few varieties if butterfly.
Target 7: Litter free lunch
This is an ongoing target, a lot of children still tend to have packaging with their lunches, and we are trying to lesson this by introducing a point system.
Target 8: Networking
All staff minutes and other resources are placed on the shared drive this helps to reduce the amount of paper used in the school.
5. How are you monitoring and evaluating progress?
Progress is monitored by committee members on a regular basis. The children will approach teachers if for example rubbish is placed in the incorrect bin or if glass etc is thrown in the yard.
The children on the Green School committee are very responsible and report back to the coordinator if there are any problems.
6. Please give the numbers and ages of pupils involved in curricular work and information on the topics and subject areas addressed.
Our school has established a curricular week this year taking place in November and all classes from juniors to sixth class were involved in this week.
Each classroom did an individual project:
Miss O’Grady – What can we do at home? (a study of the type of rubbish in our family bin- what can we recycle and how can we do this?)
Miss Murphy – Collage using old magazines incorporating environmental issues
Mr. Kinnerk – Drama enacting scenes. Littering, recycling, illegal dumping
Mr. Delaney – The geography of rubbish projects.
- Studying different types of litter we create
- Where does it come from
- Where does it end up
- How do we recycle different materials
Miss Stynes – Organise a photographic display of all Green School activities. The committee members write up an account about their areas of responsibility.
Each class will also be involved in creating a model village our of recycled materials.
7. Describe your day of Action
The day of action will take place on Friday 26th January 2007
The day will consist of:
- Children and staff and parents will gather together to sing our green school song
- Children will return to their classrooms and commence their various activities parents will be given a copy of the following timetable for the day.
Timetable for Green Schools Open Day
- All meet in hall for introduction and listen to the Green Schools Song
1.10 Miss O’Gradys Room – Display on litter at home
1.25 Miss Murphys Room- Collage
1.40 Mr. Kinnerks Room – Drama
1.55 Mr Delanys Room – Projects
2.10 Miss Stynes room – Photographic display
2.20 Presentation to peter (dino project)
Other areas to be visited at your leisure
Computer room – Slide show
Green School notice board
Stands hosted by green schools committee in hall
Model town – in hall
8.How was the whole school community informed of and involved in all aspects of the Green School programme?
- Through school newsletter
- The school website robertstownns.com
- Day of Action
- Notes to parents
- Parents on Green School committee
- Teacher Representative on Board of Management
- We also have an active Parents Association who volunteered for duties in the school
9. Please describe any contacts made with the wider community
- Kildare County Council have provided recycling bins and litter pickers
- Dara Wyer has been on hand to give us advice when necessary
- The local community games takes our drinks cans from the school
- We’re in contact with the organizers of “Cash for Clobber”
- Contacts made with recycling groups involves in the recycling of ink cartridges, mobile phones.
- Contact made with enable Ireland for recycling of bottle tops
- Green schools committee in 2003 went to silliot hill recycling plant
10. Please reproduce your schools Green Code and describe how it has been integrated into school life
Our green code is ”recycle recycle its fun to do a better environment for me and you”. This is giving the children a positive feeling about recycling and also encourages the children to keep their school tidy and litter free giving both staff and students a tidy and litter free environment. This in turn leaves us free to pursue our educational goals free of litter.
We are sure that the message of our green code has been brought out into the community, as the children are very enthusiastic about recycling and reusing as much as possible.
11. How has the experience of Green Schools benefited your school?
The experience of Green schools has benefited our school in the following manner:
- The children on the green schools committee have learned how a committee runs, how to take minutes, how to write an agenda etc
- The committee members have learned to be responsible for their own areas, to communicate with other students and staff in a clear and positive manner
- All staff and students are much more aware of what can be recycled and reused.
- All staff and students think before they throw something into the waste bin
- The school grounds are litter free
- The planting of bulbs, flowers etc have improved the overall look of our school
- The green schools project has changed the attitude of a lot of people in both the school and local community it has been a very rewarding experience for everyone involved and we hope to continue this project for many years to come.
Green Schools Song
The recycling bins are filling up, filling up, filling up
The recycling bins are filling up
We’ll be a green school
Our rubbish bin is obsolete, obsolete, obsolete
Our rubbish bin is obsolete
Its not needed
The compost bin s are filling up filling up filling up
The compost bin is filling up
We’ll get a green flag
Green School Code
Recycle, Recycle its fun to do a better environment for me and you