ST PATRICK’S College, Maghera has been awarded a green flag for its environmental efforts.
On Friday 24 February, Johnathan Smith and Jennifer Hargan from ‘Tidy Northern Ireland’ visited St Patrick’s to assess their suitability as a Green Flag school. The two assessors attended a presentation from the senior members of the Eco Group, during which they were informed about many of the policies and practices carried out by the College, to promote various eco friendly issues.
This includes the Junior School litter picking scheme, helping to maintain a tidy school. The College policy on recycling was also emphasised.
The effectiveness of the litter drive reduced their carbon footprint by 1,350kg. Since Christmas 2012, the entire school have been working with ‘Tidy Northern Ireland’ to tackle the issue of junk mail in the home. To date over 400 homes have joined the scheme.
The eco group selected energy watch pupils in each class, whose job it was to encourage teachers and pupils to switch of lights, computers, printers and monitors of when not in use. The effectiveness of this can be seen from the schools carbon footprint reduction of 36,686kg CO2 between 2009 and 2011.
Health lifestyle is promoted via healthy eating eating and physical activity. This can be witnessed by the introduction of a salad bar in the canteen, at the request of the School Council. There is also a ban on crisps and fizzy drinks within the school. During lunch times, the school also offers and encourages sporting activities in the Sports Hall. The interest of sports is obvious from the success of College teams, winning 11 Ulster championships (2010-11), and seven pupils being awarded Ulster College All-Stars.
After the presentation, the assessors were taken on a tour of the College, in order to showcase the activities of the eco group. They were really impressed by our recent Green House development, remarking that they hadn’t seen any other school with similar facilities. Our clear efforts at creating an eco school were rated a well worthy of a Green Flag.
The assessors commented that: “The staff and pupils were very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. We were particularly impressed with the Healthy Living topic which was well covered throughout the curriculum.”