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St. Moninna's Primary School and Nursery Unit, Cloughoge, Newry



Why do we have an Eco Council?
The Eco-Council is an ideal opportunity for our pupils to get more involved in the way Cloughoge Primary School is run and fundamentally to help it to be environmentally friendly. The Council benefits the whole school, pupils and teachers, because it provides opportunities for pupils to communicate their feelings as well as influence decisions that are made. Our committee members develop skills such as confidence, communication and negotiation. It is the responsibility of each member to ensure that they express both their own views and the views of all the other pupils they represent.

Who can be a member of the Eco Committee?
Each year pupils from P4-7 can opt to become part of the council. There is a vote held within each class and one representative is added to the council. Once elected on to the eco council pupils generally retain their position until they leave Cloughoge Primary School.

What do we do?
Cloughoge Eco-Council meet regularly to discuss how we can make the school more environmentally friendly.

At the beginning of each year the Eco-Council carry out an environmental review and prepare an action plan for the whole school to engage in.

Throughout the year these targets form the basis of the Eco-Councils work but they do get involved in some other projects along the way.

In the past few years the Eco-Council have taken part in:

  • Recycling clothes in conjunction with the company Cash for Clobber
  • Building a mini beast hotel
  • Monitoring energy use in the school
  • Introducing the Little Rotter’s brown bins for fruit leftovers/peelings at break and lunchtime (which can then be composted)
  • The planting of trees, vegetables and flowers around the school
  • Promoting healthy living
  • Encouraging the whole school to take part in various environmental competitions such as the local council calendar competition, Save Water campaigns etc...

For this academic year (2018/19) our Eco-Council action plan involves 3 targets, namely:

  • Enhancing the biodiversity of our school grounds
  • Reducing the energy we consume in the school and
  • Encouraging staff and pupils to reduce the amount of waste they dispose of especially the amount of single use plastics they use.

Earlier in the year the Eco Council entered and won a competition organised by the Communities Leading Change Participatory Budgeting Campaign. The prize was £500 and to win we had to create a short video describing how the money could be used to help enhance our polytunnel. We were delighted to be selected as one of the winners and the money has helped us purchase seeds, compost, gardening equipment and a new irrigation system. We are also excited that in the next few weeks our afterschool Green Fingers Gardening Club will be starting up. This will help us use our winnings to develop the polytunnel and outdoor learning space even more.

At the minute we are currently taking part in Waste Week. Our Litter Leaders (a sub division of our Eco-Council) have spoken to the whole school at assembly to emphasise the need to reduce the amount of single use plastic waste. They have visited each class and completed surveys on the amount of single use plastics being used. The class with the least amount of plastic waste will be rewarded with a small prize at the end of the week.

Another sub division of our Eco-Council, The Power People, have also been busy surveying classrooms at break and lunch time to ensure computer monitors and lights are switched off when not in use and that radiators are turned off if a window is opened. They will keep records and at the end of the month the best class/classes will receive a prize.

Finally, the Eco-Council have an Eco-Code for all Cloughoge students to follow.

Eat healthily

Can you put your rubbish in the bin?

Or try to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Compost vegetables and fruit.

Occasionally walk to school.

Don’t waste water, energy or light.

Everyone in our school can help.