Following work over several months by a group of students we had a meeting with the School Travel Adviser from County Hall. This resulted in a £1000 development grant and the promise of a grant of about £12000 if we submit a School Travel Plan next March.
Students are carrying out detailed surveys of pupils and staff to find ways to increase the use of walking, cycling, public transport and car sharing. Ideas to reduce the congestion on the roads around BRGS will also be included in the Travel Plan. This project ties in with the Healthy Schools initiatives.
The first major project will be secure cycle storage and we hope that this will be completed by September, but initially it will be uncovered.
Reports presented to Governors last year and assemblies in School have highlighted the very large amounts of carbon dioxide emitted during long haul air travel. Mrs Taylor has agreed that for future school trips to the USA there will be an extra charge to “offset” the carbon dioxide emissions, for example by paying for trees to be planted.
Throughout the year, staff and students have been working at lunchtimes, after school and at weekends to improve the woodland garden created last summer. Please find time to have a look. They have also dug a new pond behind the Clark Building and this will be available for lower school science work, will improve the biodiversity of the area, and will form part of the new recreation area for sixth form students.
More than twenty lower sixth students have volunteered to help with outdoor projects during the last week of this term. These will include the new seating and recreation area behind the Clark Building and further work in the woodland garden, with new stepped paths to give safe access to the adjoining woodland.
In the autumn we intend to plant more trees and have a go at laying a hedge planted by pupils about fifteen years ago.
The work has been funded mainly from two sources. Before Easter a large number of volunteers took part in two separate tree-planting weekends for local landowners who responded with generous donations. Recently we made a successful bid for a Green Partnership Award from Lancashire County Council.
We also won a prize in a competition for schools registered as Eco-Schools. Among a variety of prizes were bird nesting boxes (two have been used by families of blue tits this spring), a model wind farm for science lessons, a wormery and a butterfly kit which has been used in science masterclasses.
A lot of work has been done during this school year, with students maintaining electricity meter readings and helping to liaise with energy efficiency experts from County Hall. We have researched options for reducing energy use and have agreed in principle a programme for the installation of energy efficient lighting systems to replace our existing, largely outdated fittings. Our reports have been used to question the need for expensive additional power supplies.
There remains a lot of scope for further work and next term we have successfully put in a bid for an enterprise education project with pupils from years 10 and 11. The group will carry out further monitoring and research, including options for using renewable sources of electricity.
We continue to recycle waste paper from offices and staffrooms, and following a detailed report on computer printing by sixth former Martin Peel we have collection boxes next to most printers.
There is more scope for developing ideas and working hard to reduce to volume of material which ends up in the skip.
Part of the Eco-Schools programme is the raising of awareness about global issues. We have tackled this in a series of school assemblies written and presented by students and members of staff, and by carrying out an audit of the coverage of global issues in the curriculum.
During the year we have been gained the Silver Award and we intend to apply for the highest award, the Green Flag, during the next school year.
None of this would have been possible without the commitment of members of staff and many pupils.
We thank the Governors, in particular Simon Bradshaw, for their encouragement and support.