Thornton College is passionate about engaging young people in environmental education and action. With an ever-increasing range of ‘green careers’ emerging, with roles such as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Consultants, Sustainability Management and Green Energy Management, it is important that students become aware of environmental opportunities and not just the dangers associated with our planet, such as global warming, deforestation and waste disposal.
Thornton has an Eco Committee running across the school, with the Prep department alone having a team of 23 members from all age groups leading eco-action within the school. Students are passionate about the environment and, after completing school site environmental reviews, they have developed action plans in three key areas; waste, biodiversity and healthy living.
In the area of waste, students have encouraged their peers to have packet-less snacks and introduced a litter-picking rota. Students have also looked at the natural world within the school’s beautiful 25-acre setting, collected fruit (apples and pears from Thornton’s orchard) for the school’s kitchen to make fruit crumbles – reducing natural waste by not allowing the fallen fruit to rot on the floor. Students have also considered fast fashion and set up a Christmas Jumper Sale to reuse donated Christmas jumpers with funds raised given to charity.
The most popular action plan has been biodiversity. To date, the school has developed an eco-park where the children have introduced tadpoles to the dipping pond and created hedgehog houses, bug hotels and amphibian homes. During the current term, students are concentrating on plans for wilding, seed bombs in Spring and raising funds for bird feeders and bird boxes. Thornton is in the process of becoming a hedgehog-friendly site for rehoming rescued hedgehogs with The Hedgehog Preservation Trust. Thornton has also applied to The Woodlands Trust to be a Green Canopy site for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Eco Club every Friday offers students the opportunity to get outside and put ideas into action. Thornton has signed up with the RSPB Wild Challenge and students will be taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch early in the year, and the Keep Britain Tidy Big Clean Up in early April.
All these opportunities are in addition to Forest School as part of the curriculum for Prep students, wild walks and nature trails as well as lots of opportunities for learning outside, wellbeing walks, extra-curricular activities and an abundance of outdoor space for play and sports.
Thornton College has also achieved the Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation, which recognises, rewards and celebrates the environmental achievements of young people.
Karyn Fullerton, from Eco Schools, said:
“I would like to congratulate you for all the time and effort that has been invested in environmental education at your school. Your award is well deserved and reflects the hard work you have put into the programme so far.”
Eco-Schools was founded in 1994 and operates in 70 countries around the world engaging with 19.5 million young people globally. This makes Eco-Schools the largest educational programme on the planet and Thornton is thrilled to be a part of this important work for the future of young people and the world.
Jennifer Walker, Thornton’s Development and Marketing Director, who runs the Eco Committee said:
“Seeing our students’ enthusiasm for environmental issues and their energy to act is reward enough. However, being accredited with an Eco Flag as a school is so important for young people as it acknowledges all their hard work and encourages them to continue making a difference.
“In addition to playing their part in Thornton being awarded the Eco Flag, students in our senior school also actively participate in the Peter Jones Foundation Tycoon Competition – a competition in which groups of students develop their business plan, and, if approved, attain up to £1,000 of funding to develop and launch their product or service. In several instances, our students have created products with the environment very much in mind, such as biodegradable bamboo travel mugs, organic soaps and upcycled products, including bottle lamps.”
Thornton students have also attended the Peter Jones Foundation Enterprise Festival where they celebrated their successes, took the opportunity to network with local entrepreneurs and hear advice from influential women in business.
“The world is changing, and it is natural for our students to think green and consider what their future world is going to look like, not in terms of our natural world alone but understanding how the environment links with future energy, economies and potentially their own careers,” added Jennifer.
“The least we can do as an Eco School is empower our young people to act on the issues they care about to make a positive difference for their futures.”
For further information about Thornton College, contact Jennifer Walker, Development and Marketing Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ian Davies, Marketing Officer, at email@example.com