School News December 29, 2021

Dear Parents,

This year I have been given the exciting opportunity to increase the profile of sustainability at our school, and I would like to share with you some of the activities which students have undertaken in relation to that role.

It has been a great pleasure to work with Mrs Jeni Mayell, Head of KG, and Mrs Mollie McLoughlin to organise fun activities for some of the youngest students in the school, such as collecting and sowing seeds, creating compost heaps, and feeding wild birds. As you can see in the pictures below KG students had great fun collecting hibiscus seeds, and then planting them into (upcycled) plant pots. The trees will in future be planted around school and the students will be able to share a personal connection with the environment as they and the trees they have planted grow.

Advancing awareness of the connection between ourselves and the ecosystem around us both near and far is something I am very keen to develop. Some measures we have taken to improve the local environment are planting wildflower seed such as poppies and cornflowers to support bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and other beneficial insects. I hope that by summer our butterfly garden will begin to take shape, and we can see some interesting wildlife. We have also provided bird-feeders to support local birds through winter. Students have also shown a great enthusiasm for collecting fruit scraps for composting. It is really heartwarming to see the enthusiasm which children have for practical interaction with nature. We now have several compost bins and collect fruit, coffee grounds, (we teachers drink a lot of coffee!) and leaves which would otherwise be thrown away. This reduces waste from the school and provides students with a practical demonstration of how organic matter is transformed into beautiful fresh soil given the right conditions.

Older pupils have also taken part in projects which consider the role of the school in the global ecosystem. Two Year 13 students, Jiayi Zhu and Joey Zhou have worked tirelessly on assessing the carbon footprint of the school. This is a growing field of research and of increasing importance to business and governments, and I hope the experience will help to prepare them for the world that awaits. They recently presented their findings to the Headmaster Dr Silverwood, and they will be passed to the school board of governers when complete. We all hope that we can reduce the carbon footprint of the school by increasing energy efficiency, reducing food waste, and modifying our diets.

All in all it has been a very positive autumn, and I can’t wait for spring to come and to see our plants growing and flowering, just like the children we care for!

Wishing you a wonderful Winter Holiday and a Happy New Year!

Mr Hamilton.