No time to Waste: Saviour Primary School
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The first activity with Saviour Primary’s Bee Green team was to run an audit of the classroom bins. During this messy activity the team found a large amount of organic material hiding in the school bins so they decided to set up compost bins in their forest school.
They also discovered that the paper recycling had not been set up again after Covid and we decided they needed to get dry paper back in the recycling bin.
To set up composting the fruit and vegetable waste from the Early Years the school needed waste caddies and compostable bags to go in the classrooms. Whilst these were being sourced the team learnt about the 6 Rs which include repair, refuse, reuse, reduce, recycle and recover whilst in another session they had learnt about what can and can not be composted.
After finding suitable spots to compost the team were tasked with collecting the different materials needed to layer a compost bin. They began with twigs and a mixture of green and brown stuff but as soon as the fruit waste collection started the small green bags began the process of filling the bins.
Once the basic composting systems were in place everybody voted on what else they would like to do to reduce the school’s waste. Given a range of agreed options the top four actions were to organise an assembly; visit a waste recycling plant; improve the paper recycling and set up an electrical waste recycling scheme.
The assembly proved a very popular option with a particular group of pupils and the idea was to inform the whole school about the different areas where they needed to support the Bee Green team: this included asking the Early Years to collect their fruit waste for composting; asking the Key Stage 2 pupils and staff to bring in old or broken electrical waste to be reused or recycled and for the whole school to re-engage with their paper recycling.
The assembly was a great success and with all the various systems for improving the waste streams being in place the whole project received a boost.
During the afterschool club the Bee Green team did a range of other activities from testing the quality of their pond water, watering plants, pruning willow and playing MEEN’s game ‘Life of a worm’. This later activity was a part of preparing them to help MEEN run a stall run at Manchester City Council’s Bee Green conference where the team were tasked with helping to educate adults at the conference about the benefits of composting.
However, on the day, prior to their task running the stall, the pupils joined a MEEN workshop titled ‘Climate Change in the primary curriculum’. The session was aimed at adults who needed to revamp their curriculum and put a greater emphasis on environmental issues and, although the session was not targeted at pupils the team engaged with enthusiasm and their contributions proved extremely valuable to the discussion.
Not only did the staff member find new ideas for the school’s geography curriculum but several pupils reported that it was what they enjoyed doing most at the conference, with one pupil stating, ‘I really enjoyed the workshop where we got to plan the curriculum, because it was like our ideas could make a real difference to the school’.
The pupils successfully ran MEEN’s stall by engaging with teachers, high school pupils even staff from the Department for Education who learnt about life as a worm.
They were also flagged up on twitter by a local councillor who thoroughly enjoyed meeting and working with the team to learn about the carbon footprint of food.
The school also shared a collage of the day on twitter showing all the people they had engaged with including academics from the University of Manchester and the local MP Afzal Khan.
Back at the afterschool club it was clear the pupils had gained a lot from the conference but, the practical tasks still needed to be attended to. The drought was being felt and this meant the compost bins required watering and given the lack of composting creatures moving into the bins it was decided to add worm castings, or worm poo, to the bins to help activate the composting process.
It was agreed that worm poo was in fact very good quality soil with one pupil affirming that it, ‘actually smells nice!’
We also averaged the amount of compost material being added to the bins on a weekly basis and worked out that the team had composted 105.5kgs of waste material over 17 weeks. We also weighed the collection of old and broken electrical items which altogether added up to another 8kgs of material to be reused or recycled.
The aspiration is to return to school in the Autumn term to find some new compost and to build on all their good work.
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