15 applications were made by local schools for grant funding support from the SBC eco-grant, administered as part of Stafford Borough Eco-Schools Network. Each of these schools submitted bids for up to £450 funding towards their eco projects which are described briefly below. These descriptions are taken from the schools’ feedback reports.
Stafford Manor High School
The eco-grant enabled us to continue developing our award winning school garden.
We have installed a rain water harvesting system on our new greenhouse and built an up-cycled pallet wood fence to protect our garden from stray footballs! We have treated our shed and raised beds with paint to increase their longevity and dramatically increased the variety of plants growing in our garden, including tomatoes, potatoes, radish, cucumber and melons. Our children have really benefited from experiencing the journey of fresh
produce ‘from seed to plate!’
Weston Road Academy
Last year we made a fabulous ‘daisy chain willow fence’ using old hosepipes and willow. Following on from this another willow weaving day was held at the end of March, again with local willow weaver Nigel Hill. Groups of Year 7s came out during the day as part of their spring reward programme. By the end of the day a beautiful willow arch had been created, forming a grand entrance into the garden! We have also purchased a new shed,
located near the greenhouse, containing the gardening tools.
St John’s Primary Academy
St John’s have developed a peace garden in the school grounds. They purchased two benches, one for friendship and one for reflection. They worked with Perkins Engines Ltd who donated engine part wooden boxes which have been turned into lovely planters, containing a variety of attractive flowers to attract a variety of insects and wildlife. Art Club created ‘flags of peace’ bunting and a very kind parent stitched and threaded them onto string ready to be hung in the trees around the peace of garden.
Oulton First School
We have completed our Sensory Garden! Recycling and reusing has been a big part of this project - much of the fencing (bicycle wheels), aggregates, path edging materials, plants and planters have been made or donated by parents and members of the community.
We have installed fencing, seating, a pergola, plus plants for borders and containers - chosen with different characteristics for sensory value, as well as varieties for wildlife. Insect friendly native seed mixes have been sown, bird boxes and feeding stations set up to encourage birds, and various species of insects (such as butterflies and bumble bees) have been attracted through specific planting. These provide focal points for pupils to study through the curriculum. We have added a solar water feature and wind spinners. We celebrated its completion at a fabulous opening ceremony in July!
Castlechurch Primary School
We held a teddy bear picnic and ‘eco day’. We tidied up the grounds, planted, watered and checked our eco areas. We took part in environmental lessons such as orienteering and art. We had a whole school assembly about ‘our world’ and how we look after it. We spent most of our grant on purchasing plants and fencing/trellis for plants to grow up - we are also planning to make an outside classroom and do more learning outside.
King Edward VI High School
This year’s eco schools grant has enabled us to continue the development of the Long Jump Garden. We have been able to purchase the materials required to complete our plastic bottle greenhouse and 'top-up' our raised beds with topsoil from Mill Farm (who process garden waste collected in our brown bins). Our gardening club do the majority of our planting, sowing, weeding and watering in the school garden. Recently we harvested and dried out giant poppy seed pods grown specifically for use in art for still life drawings. At Christmas we held a Christmas Market along with the Signpost Centre selling a range of seasonal products made during Forest School sessions, using natural materials found and harvested from the school site.
Gnosall St Lawrence Primary Academy
This year we have continued to build a bank of resources, such as ropes and tarps, for our Forest School. We have bought various bird feeders and bird identification charts helping us take part in the RSPB Bird Watch! We have created a Liturgical Garden, a place for quiet contemplation for children and staff. This was officially opened by the Bishop of Lichfield in May. We have created new raised beds, replanted some bulbs, weeded and dug out areas to cultivate and received donated seat logs. We have a water feature and some solar lights too, and have had help from lots of people and organisations!
All Saints, Ranton
Our eco-grant has enabled new weekly forest school sessions through which we have installed a new school vegetable garden consisting of four raised beds, constructed a mini-beast mansion and built a deadwood log pile next to our pond! We have also purchased a new mud kitchen. We are planning to clean out and re-establish our school pond in the autumn term when all the creatures have moved out for the winter.
Burton Manor Primary
We have focussed on creating an outdoor environment to encourage wild birds and learn about them. We have installed or purchased Nest boxes, Birdfeeders, a Bird Bath, Binoculars, Bird IDentification Books and a Bird Hide. We even bought a window bird feeder and when we have been ‘super quiet’ we have seen some birds really close up! The children have loved identifying birds and discovering new species that have landed on our school field. There has been a degree of responsibility where the children have topped up bird food regularly.
‘I didn’t know we had so many different birds on our field!’
‘I think I might ask for some binoculars for Christmas!’
Sir Graham Balfour School
We have expanded our Forest School programme enabling students to connect with the environment and learn though exploring. Through various activities outdoors our students have developed team-working skills and gained confidence and self-esteem.
The Eco-Notice Board has a fabulous display of our Forest School activities, close to the reception for all to see. Also, our Eco- Newsletter for the end of the year is in the process of being put together, celebrating all that we have done over the year in Green Club. This will be going out to all parents as part of the Balfour News.
Walton Priory Middle School
We purchased compost, vegetable seeds, seed potatoes, plastic trowels, plastic forks, gloves, a liner for the raised bed, plus topsoil from Chebsey. As well as planting saplings from the Woodland Trust, we have revitalised two internal patio areas using the above resources! The large patio by the school dining room has been transformed into a beautiful garden area, with seats and benches, plus a vegetable plot. This area is used by dozens of pupils ever day at break and lunchtime. The small patio, near the Y5 and Y6 classrooms has been planted with a wide variety of vegetables. A new bench and two donated gazebos and two parasols have helped to create the right atmosphere for the seating areas.
Walton High School
We purchased plastic recycle boxes with the grant and with the help of a team of sixth formers labelled them as paper recycling bins and put one in every room in the school.
We are now recycling nearly all of our paper at Walton. Everyone is involved in the project and we are now looking at ways to recycle other kinds of waste.
We are promoting the recycling project on the website and in our newsletter.
Thank you SBC Eco-Schools Network!