At Chesham Prep we are committed to sustainability. We know that we as a school and our pupils have much to learn about sustainability and the school’s and our own carbon foot prints, but we also know that every little helps. With improvements and our continued focus on our responsibility towards sustainability taking place daily, we hope to not only educate our own pupils, but the whole school community and the wider local community. Teaching Sustainability is actively integrated into our lessons especially Science, Geography and PSHE.
In the last few years, we have taken on large scale projects such as the introduction of solar panels (with the potential for more in the future), the replacement of all internal and external lighting with LED alternatives, the change in sourcing of paper, the reduction in the use of paper, the monitoring of waste and the addition of more and more recycling points.
Our pupils (as well as our staff) have their own Eco Committee, and our Eco Prefects help to raise the profile of sustainability throughout the school. 2023 saw the first whole school Eco day, which focused on the reduced use of electricity and paper.
Our catering team, are also committed to the changes that they can make. This includes meat free Mondays, the sustainable sourcing of produce and the reduction in waste and disposal of this waste.
It would be impossible to list all the things we do as a school, in terms of sustainability, but listed below are some of them:
- Conversion of confidential waste into electricity
- Collection of food waste for electricity
- Recycling old sports equipment
- Recycling batteries
- Recycling printer toners
- Donation of IT Hardware to charities
- PTA initiative to provide 2nd hand books to local state schools
- PTA second-hand costume sale
- Reduction in the use of disposable cups at whole school events
- Purchase of compostable single use cups
- Provision of school minibuses to encourage less traffic
- Monitoring of energy usage and switching things off in holiday periods
- Litter picking initiatives in our local communities
- Eco-warriors and Bird watching clubs
- Forest Schools and outdoor learning
- Book swap days
- Bags2school (unwanted clothes and textiles recycled or donated to charity)
- Second-hand Uniform Shop
- Commitment to the reduction in plastic purchased
- Commitment to the reduction of non- single use items
- Grow zones and planting
- Board pen refills
- Scrap paper trays
- Drinking tap water and using reusable water bottles
- Solar panels
We continue to remain committed to sustainability and further investment is already being considered into solar panels and further use of the current BMS throughout the school. The next academic year will see new initiatives and the growth of both the pupil and staff eco committees.
At Chesham Prep the children love playing outside in our Forest School. From Nursery upwards the children have regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in our woodland area.
Forest School is a child-centered inspirational learning process. It is a long-term program that supports play, exploration and supported risk taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting.
Mrs. Phipps is our qualified Forest Schools Practioner and she leads all the sessions in our Forest School Area. The children enjoy Forest School whatever the weather: learning how to make fires and toast marshmallows, sausages, popcorn and pancakes on pancake day, building shelters and dens, going on mini beast hunts and building mini beast hotels, building assault courses with logs and wood, making mud pain, doing art and craft like flower pressing, building tyre swings, and making concoctions in the mud kitchen.
We have planted a new area with fruit trees to grow into an orchard, including Bramley apples, Victoria plums and pears, Oak, Alder trees and Coppicing Willow. The Woodland Trust donated the trees, planted by the children to form the edge of this new orchard. The children regularly make concoctions during lessons and playtime in our ‘Mud Kitchen’.
The Pond and Adlington Avenue
Throughout the school year the children have been undertaking various projects, including planting around the pond area, as well as on the new vegetable patches, with the vegetable patch hopefully bringing some harvest around spring time. The children have also been looking at particular wildlife that is attracted to these areas, and doing classwork based upon their findings.
Mrs Bateson, Head of Science, explains why we have an Outdoor Area: ”Outdoor learning has been shown to motivate pupils, stimulate pupil’s curiosity and encourage a passion for ‘doing’. We can encourage children to respect and enjoy the outdoors. The outdoor area (funded by the PTA), aims to promote more outdoor learning at CPS across the entire school from EYFS to Year 8, through all key stages and subjects.
Outdoor learning continues to be incorporated into the school curriculum from English to Spanish, and from Maths to RE. The beautiful new areas will not only encourage and help native British Wildlife to thrive around the school, but they will also be used for extracurricular activities such as Eco Warriors and Nature Clubs.”
The school has been awarded its Silver Award by Eco Schools by raising environmental awareness both locally and globally, as well as improving our school environment for wildlife. The Eco Warrior Club along with the whole school community will be now working hard over the next year to achieve our Green Award.
The Dragonfly Pond, the Grow Zone and Adlington Avenue are positively blooming; the wildflowers are attracting a diverse range of invertebrates and birds. We have found lots of pond mini beasts and amphibians through pond dipping. We have lots of lovely vegetables and flowers in the Grow Zone ready for the School kitchens later in the Summer term.
Recycling around School and reducing non-recyclable waste
This is an area we have been improving around the school over the last year. Over the last year we have been tackling the issues of food waste produced at lunchtime and break times and consequently all food waste that is now produced is taken off site to be either composted or burnt to generate electricity.
You may have noticed we have put more recycling bins around school, primarily for plastic bottles and aluminium cans. This is an ongoing project looking to improve recycling around the school and to cut down on non-recyclable waste. As we do this we will be both informing and encouraging the importance of Reducing, Reusing and Recycling to the pupils. We now use reusable water bottles on all our trips. I would urge anyone on the school site to support this and as the bins change please use the appropriate bins for your waste.