During 2022-23, staff and students formed an Eco-Committee and followed the Eco-Schools programme. In summer 2023 we successfully achieved our Green Flag status.
With climate change becoming an ever-increasing concern, we want to ensure our students are aware of the importance of environmental issues and that they are armed with the skills, knowledge and desire young people need to play an active role in protecting our environment now and throughout their lifetimes.
The programme follows a seven-step process, working within three topics we feel are relevant and important to our school environment. The framework aims to empower our young people to enable them to introduce and lead environmental actions and education within school.
Seven Steps Framework:
- Eco-Committee, a group of students and adults responsible for all things Eco-Schools.
- Environmental Review, a resource which has been designed to review learning environments and provide inspiration to Eco-Committees. Our full Environmental Review can be downloaded below. Here is a summary.
- Action Plan, a plan for environmental actions in your school. Our latest Action plan can be viewed here.
- Curriculum Links, including environmental issues in your school’s learning.
- Informing and Involving, including all pupils, staff members and your local community in Eco-Schools work.
- Monitoring and Evaluation, measuring the impact of the projects in your Action Plan.
- Eco-Code, a rallying call that everyone can get behind!
As pupils work through the Seven Steps they are able to pick three of the ten Eco-Schools topics to work on. All the Eco-Schools topics help young people engage with environmental issues that are important to them and their local community. They also cover a huge range of sustainability issues and each topic is also entirely open to pupil interpretation.
- Biodiversity, caring for all plants, animals and insects.
- Energy, reducing energy use and investigating greener energy sources.
- Global Citizenship, working with others on local and global issues.
- Healthy Living, improving mental and physical well-being.
- Litter, taking action to reduce litter in your local area and beyond.
- Marine, protecting rivers, canals, lakes, oceans and the plants and animals that inhabit them.
- School Grounds, enhancing your learning environment.
- Transport, travelling in an environmentally-friendly manner.
- Waste, refusing, reducing, reusing, repairing and recycling.
- Water, protecting our most important natural resource.
For more information about the committee, please contact Mrs Saunders via firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Eco-Committee is made up of 28 students from all year groups. It is a proactive and practical student lead committee, and is key to running the programme in school and obtaining our Green Flag status in summer 2023.
Following a full environmental review, the committee selected to work on the topics: ENERGY, LITTER and SCHOOL GROUNDS.
For more information about the Eco-Schools programme, visit Eco Schools (eco-schools.org.uk).
Luke Year 7
Ben Year 7
Felix Year 7
Leo Year 7
Clara Year 8
Sofia Year 8
Daisy Year 9
Lottie Year 9
Sara Year 9
Jamie Year 10
Abbie Year 11
Aaron Year 11
Ruby Year 11
Keira Year 11
Alex Year 11
Alice Year 11
Grace Year 12
Lilia Year 12
Claudia Year 12
Hannah Year 12
Selma Year 12
Mahir Year 12
Kayleigh Year 12
Poppy Year 13
Our Eco-Code was created in collaboration with Miss Burrows and the Writing Club. We wanted to come up with a mission statement that represented what we want to achieve as a school community.
We picked the word ‘GROWTH’ as it represents the early stages of our eco-journey as a school, and that we have a long way still to go. We have made positive steps this past year and we thank everyone who has helped and made changes to their lives to become more eco-concious.
We hope our '6 steps to Growth' will inspire staff and students alike to consider the environment in all you do so, together, we can make change happen.
ONLINE ECO-BOARD - Updates and information
In November and April we held a Bag2School collection as a House competition.
In April we collected a total of 165 bags of clothing, shoes and textiles which equated to 635kg. In November we collected 133 bags (716kg).
That's a grand total of 1,351kg of clothing saved for reuse. Every year UK consumers dispose of 1.13 million tonnes of clothing and shoes of which 540,000 tonnes (70%) are reused overseas, 160,000 tonnes recycled, 80,000 tonnes are incinerated and 350,000 tonnes end up in landfill.*
Thank you for your support!
* WRAP report - "valuing our clothes"
New Plant-Based Canteen offering
Members of the Eco-Committee have been working alongside Caterlink to offer healthier food options across the food services in school, as well as looking to increase plant-based options.
After a whole school survey was sent out in February, results showed that 71% of those surveyed were open to increasing plant-based foods in their diet.
Following the results of the survey, we aim to:
Offer high quality plant-based menu options every day
Set up a plant-based day, starting on 25 April
Provide 'try before you buy' tasters on plant-based meals
And to listen to your feedback!
If just 500 people ate plant-based food for one day each week, for 6 months...
We could save 1,489.23 tennis courts of forests!
We could save 197,313.17 bathtubs of water!
And we could avoid 108,590.03 miles of greenhouse gases!
1st Place - Hirani Y7
*ENERGY* Saving Energy KS3 competition
Students in Year 7 and 8 were asked to come up with a creative way to encourage everyone at school to save energy by switching off lights and appliances.
We received a number of entries including posters, poems and presentations. Thank you to everyone who entered, the Eco-Committee enjoyed reviewing all the submissions and have chosen their winners!
Congratulations to the following students:
1st Place - Hirani in Year 7 (Arundel)
2nd Place - Ali in Year 8 (Stirling)
3rd Place - Sierra in Year 7 (Conway)
The posters and poem will be used to promote energy saving initiatives in classrooms and offices across the school site.
2nd Place - Poem by Ali Y8
Energy, so useful
Power gained from burning fuel
Lights glow, cars go
Did you think of the consequences, though?
Whilst your truck traverses, low and high
Emissions globally continue to rise
Factories guzzle energy, increasing demand
Ecosystems threatened across the land
Private jets for convenient travel
As the rich enjoy luxury, the risks start to unravel
Should've acted on climate change long ago
But now's our chance to be our own hero
Left the light's on, surely not a big deal
And nature's dying, yet no appeal
Air pollution's consequences will continue to last
Just because you wanted to get places fast
Next time, just take a bike
It's not like the place round the block is a massive hike
Change is needed, even if we need to act a ton
So think next time before you leave the lights on
3rd Place - Sierra Y7
*SCHOOL GROUNDS* Five Trees planted
We have recently been gifted five trees as part of the West Berkshire Council's Trees for Schools initiative.
The trees have been planted along the perimeter fence at the front of school to provide some shade in our new field area, to help protect our students against exhaust fumes and to provide food and shelter for wildlife.
RSPB Big Schools' Birdwatch 2023
During February we took two groups of Year 7 and 8 students out around the school site to complete the RSPB's Big School Birdwatch.
The first session was spent in the Inclusion garden, a secluded area of the school with lots of trees and bramble bushes, the perfect habitat for wildlife; and the second session was spent walking around the field and the small wooded area behind school. Amongst the, what felt like, hundreds of pigeons and gulls, we also spotted Robins, Blue Tits, Great Tits and Sparrows. We were also lucky enough to watch a Red Kite land on the field to fight a Magpie and a Crow for some food!
The birdwatch was the perfect activity to connect with nature during Children's Mental Health Week and will count towards our Eco-Schools application this year.
Almost 100 pairs of glasses collected!
Thank you to everyone who donated glasses to us. We have collected just short of 100 pairs of glasses.
All these glasses will be shipped to Zimbabwe to Chisipite Eye Care. The optician visits villages a couple of times a month where they fit glasses to people who otherwise are unable to get them.
Thank you to our Eco Committee for organising this collection!
During 'Veganuary' we welcomed Ed Winters, also known as Earthling Ed into school to talk to Year 8, Year 9 and Sixth Form students, as well as joining our Eco-Committee meeting.
Ed is a well-respected public speaker and vegan educator with a combined social media following of over 1 million people worldwide. He is passionate about saving animals and the planet, and is known for his best-selling books, viral debates, speeches and video essays.
He raised some interesting issues for the students consider. He looked at:
- The moralities of how we think and feel about different animals
- The impact on the climate due to the meat industry
- Alternative uses for the land and how rewilding would increase habitats and biodiversity
- When, how and why he chose to follow a vegan diet
The students responded with some excellent questions, including:
"Would you eat meat for £1million?"
"Would the government make veganism law if climate change gets worse?"
"What happens to the farmers if we all adopted a vegan lifestyle?"
"Does veganism include insects?"
"Although your boots aren’t leather, fashion dictates that they ‘look’ like leather. How do you feel about this?"
"Would you sit next to a friend while they ate a Big Mac?"
We hope our involvement with the Eco-Schools programme will educate the students, staff and families in the Little Heath community, and help them to make more informed, sustainable choices.
World Book Day - Book Swap
Thanks to everyone who donated or swapped a book in our Book Swap event.
No Mow May
No Mow May is a national initiative to encourage homeowners not to mow their lawns during the month of May.
We’ve lost nearly 97% of flower rich meadows since the 1970’s and with them gone are vital food needed by pollinators, like bees and butterflies.
A healthy lawn with some long grass and wildflowers benefits wildlife, tackles pollution and can even lock away carbon below ground – and best of all, to reap these benefits all you have to do is not mow your lawn in May and beyond!
With over 20 million gardens in the UK, even the smallest grassy patches add up to a significant proportion of our land which, if managed properly, can deliver enormous gains for nature, communities and the climate.
We were able to leave two large areas of grass un-mown this May. The secluded garden area behind Inclusion, and the area behind the Business block.
We watched as huge numbers of grasses and wildflowers were left to grow, hugely benefitting the biodiversity on the school site.
Cut Your Carbon Week, 1-7 May 2023
During this week, we were looking into different ways that we can reduce carbon and save energy at school and at home.
We encouraged staff and students to turn off light switches and unnecessary appliances where possible, but particularly during Period 4 when we have our 'Energy Saving Hour'.
Tutor groups were given a presentation to go through and to complete and Energy saving Pledge for their Form.
We also shared tips from our Eco-Committee to encourage you to save energy at home:
Our efforts that week saved 5,441 units, meaning a cost saving of £94.20 on the previous week.
Staff were asked to sign up to our new Window Policy with the aim to maximise daylight and reduce the need for artificial lighting.
We also put up notices in each classroom, based on the winning designs from our Energy Saving House Competition, reminding staff and students to turn off lights when they leave a room, as well as reminders to open the blinds.
FoodBank House Competition
We collected over 167kgs of food and toiletries, equating to roughly 351 meals, that have been donated to the West Berks Foodbank. (enough to fill an entire van!) Thanks to everyone who donated.
Members of the Eco-Committee enjoyed a visit to Reading Museum today as part of the Reading Climate Festival events for TheGreatBigGreenWeek. They went to see the awe inspiring Luke Jerram’s Gaia exhibit. Watching the 7m glowing globe of planet earth, slowing tuning, was hugely thought provoking and beautifully peaceful. It made the work we are doing on the Eco-Committee feel even more important!
The group were also interviewed by Reading Arts who are putting together a soundscape of experiences from visitors to the Gaia exhibition, but also their thoughts and views on climate change and what we can do to help.
1st Place - Freddie Year 7
*LITTER* 'Litter Pic' House Competition
KS3 students were challenged to take a photo of themselves putting litter in the bin in an unusual place or a creative way.
Well done to the top three entries:
Freddie, Year 7 - Blackpool Tower
Kyla, Year 7 - Spain
Eva, Year 8 - Morrocco
2nd Place - Kyla Year 7
3rd Place - Eva Year 8
Show Your Stripes
21 June was #ShowYourStripes day.
Members of the Eco-Committee, along with other students with a passion for environmental change, attended the 'Show Your Stripes' Berkshire Schools Mobilisation and Youth Climate Summit. Organised by University of Reading, and supported by local organisations including DesignNatureAction, ReadingCAN and University College of Estate Management, schools from across Berkshire came together to discuss the changes we can action in schools to reach 'Net Zero' in 2030.
The students were challenged to come up with creative ways for schools to become more sustainable, and to put together action plans to begin the journey to 'Net Zero'. There were also informative quizzes and speakers about waste and recycling, as well as meeting Professor Ed Hawkins, the creator of the climate stripes image.
Our students came away feeling motivated and inspired! We are looking forward to working with the other schools again in the future.
*LITTER* Community Litter Pick
On Tuesday 11 July, almost 40 students joined us on a litter pick with volunteers from Tilehurst Litter Pickers and Berkshire Youth to clean up our local area. We split into groups to litter pick along Little Heath Road, Spring Lane, and on the school field. It was a really successful afternoon with lots of litter collected. We plan to continue our partnership with these volunteer organisations and hold a community litter pick once every term.
Charlie Pascoe and her team, from the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, joined the Eco-Committee on Friday 14 July to talk about how they can better engage young people in their work.
Their aim was to open a conversation about their visibility, their relevance to people of a young age, and how they can attract them into jobs in conservation. Their feedback was invaluable and will help form changes for the organisation, recruitment and the way they work with young people in the future.
Hubba Bug Hotel
Volunteers from local waste management company Hubba joined members of the ASDAN group to build a bug hotel in the Legacy Garden, outside the Inclusion department. Together they used pallets, natural materials and roof tiles to create a variety of cosy habitats to increase biodiversity as part of our Eco-Schools 'School Grounds' topic. We even had our first resident, a snail named 'Big Dan'!
Thank you to Hubba and to everyone who generously donated materials.
Environmental Art display at the Newbury Show
In September 2023 we took part in an exhibit in the schools tent at the Newbury Show. Students created artwork along the theme of 'Environmental Art'.
Proctor & Gamble volunteers help with new nature project
14 volunteers from the Reading Proctor & Gamble office, led by their team leader and ex Little Heath Student Michaela Wombwell, worked through the sun, wind and torrential rain, clearing years’ worth of litter, dumped building materials and rubble. Many of the items found, and the natural materials, will be repurposed as wildlife habitats and bug hotels, meaning very few items were sent to landfill.
The Eco-Committee are committed to transforming this area into a haven for biodiversity, with space for outdoor learning and wellbeing.