BGS is proud to be an Eco School! Bury Grammar School Pupils, aged 3-18 years, believe passionately in promoting and taking action to improve the environment.
Four and a half centuries of education demonstrate that we know a thing or two about sustainability.
As we turn to look towards our future, we are faced with an ever more uncertain and changing world. A world that we absolutely want to be part of in another 450 years. Therefore, we made a promise to commit to a more environmentally sound way of life. A promise that would see us overhaul our School’s infrastructure. A promise, as guardians of such an important institution, to protect our School for generations to come.
Throughout our estate, we changed how we handled our waste and changed refuse collectors to a local supplier who recycles all our waste. We sought structural and hardware changes in our physical environment to reduce waste and energy usage. Significant, long-term investments were made in new fuel-efficient boilers with integrated building management systems and zoning to improve efficiency. These changes have sometimes been costly and at times inconvenient, but without a doubt worth it.
In addition to this structural and capital investment, embedding eco-awareness within the School through the curriculum and school activities were key. Weekly Eco-Clubs put the children at the heart of the School's initiatives. It is they who led the drive to investigating issues within the School and they continue to play a real part in the decision-making and prioritisation around our estate.
We made pupils aware of the impact their choices were having and worked with pupils to eliminate single-use plastics in the canteen. As the School took up the challenge, we reduced single-use plastics by over 250,000 units annually, by changing the way we operate. The canteen is now one hundred percent plastic bottle free and consequently in their place stands our very own juice bar, giving all pupils unlimited access to sugar-free cordials and juice. Unfortunately COVID restrictions at present mean that we can't use the juice bar so instead we off drinks in aluminium cans to staff and pupils - but we intend to go back to the juice bar just as soon as restrictions allow.
Whether it was through actively collecting litter in 'The Great Big School Clean Up' or trying to remove the plastic pollution from the ‘oceans’ as part of swimming lessons, pupils were asked to identify areas where they could learn more and actively get involved with. Most recently planters were made from recycled plastic and the pupils have planted greenery to attract insects, kick-starting the re-invigoration of our nature garden and ponds. We have worked with the Environment Agency who have started a project to plant 700 trees and hedgerow plants around our estate and we will move to LED lighting and Green Electricity in the Summer of 2021. The pupils have plans for renovating our pond area and bringing the wildlife back to our School this Spring.
We were delighted to achieve the top Eco Schools Award – the Green Flag Award earlier this year.
This of course reinforces our credentials as an Eco School after we won the Independent School of the Year Green Award for Eco Achievements back in 2019.
Bury Grammar School may be a School steeped in history and tradition. It may be a School in which we celebrate and promote good old-fashioned values and morals. It may be a School that is unashamedly proud of its 450-year-old roots. But make no doubt about it, we are not a School stuck in the past. We are very much a progressive, innovative and gumptious establishment who now wears its Eco Award with pride.
Jane Stevens, Bursar says:
“I am delighted that our hard work over the past 3 years has been recognised and that we've achieved the prestigious Eco Schools Green Flag Award. It’s been a true team effort with contributions from pupils and staff from every area of BGS.”
Thank you to everyone involved!
Our steps to success:
- 2018 - A pupil led Eco Committee was established
- 2018 - Environmental Review and Action Plans put in place and the topics of energy, litter and waste were chosen by the pupils
- 2018-2020 A weekly Eco Club was set up which is open to all Senior School pupils and each Term pupils from the Eco Committee present their ideas and achievements to the Eco Board
- December 2018 - Achieved Eco School Bronze award
- Spring 2019 - Awarded the Independent School of the Year Green Award for Environmental Achievement
- October 2019 - Achieved Silver Eco School
- December 2020 - Achieved the top Eco School Award - The Green Flag Award.
Eco changes made:
- Changed waste supplier - all our waste is sorted at the supplier’s depot; 100% of our waste is recycled in the UK.
Installed software to measure and monitor energy consumption in each part of the school.
Installed new printers that are more energy efficient. Software also measures individual usage.
Replacement of old inefficient boilers with new efficient ones with building management systems (BMS) on new boilers to improve the efficiency.
Started to replaced lighting to LED motion sensor activated lights.
Worked with the Environment Agency to plant 700 trees and hedgerow plants around our estate.
Established a Forest School.
No plastic drinking bottles sold in the canteen.
'Go Eco in the Canteen' project:
Switched to paper drinking water cups from plastic
Switched to compostable single use cutlery from plastic
Switched to eco packaging for sandwiches and salad boxes
No plastic drinking bottles sold in the canteen.
TOTAL IMPACT 250,000 LESS PIECES OF SINGLE USE PLASTIC IN 12 MONTHS!
Future plans and projects include switching to Green Electricity, further roll out of LED lighting and working with pupils to improve our garden and wildlife area.
Cross-Curricular Eco Learning Continues
At BGS we continue to embed our Eco work into our curriculum. Here are just a few examples:
⇒ BIOLOGY: Human impact on the environment and biodiversity as part of both the GCSE and A Level curriculum.
⇒ PHYSICS: Renewable and non-renewable sources are studied. This includes consideration of issues such as global warming, conserving resources and environmental impact.
⇒ Modern Foreign Languages: Pupils from various year groups learn how to discuss environmental issues, say which is the most important to them and how they and their families can help to protect the environment.
⇒ GEOGRAPHY: Year 8 pupils do a full unit on sustainability and environmental issues.
⇒ ENGLISH: Year 7 pupils complete an independent topic on environmental issues in the summer term. Year 10 pupils complete a series of lessons based on the protection of wildlife.