October 9, 2008

Welsh Eco-School Goes From Green to Platinum

AN ECO school is celebrating becoming one of the first in Wales to claim a platinum award.

Ysgol Penycae in the Upper Swansea Valley was recently assessed for its fourth eco flag and was successful in winning the highest award that it is possible to attain.

This means the school will no longer need to have regular assessments, but will be required to send in a short annual report on their green activities.

The eco schools programme is an international initiative that encourages pupils to engage with environmental and sustainable development issues. It provides a structured system for environmental management of schools.

Teacher Sue Goodhead said: "The school is very proud to be the first in Powys to gain this award - they were also the first school in the county to gain their first flag seven years ago. Since then the eco ethos has become an integral part of the school's life.

The eco committee, run by the pupils, meets regularly to discuss a variety of issues relating to the themes reduce, reuse and recycle and are constantly looking at ways to minimise their global footprint."

The assessors were most impressed by the pupils' and staff's continued enthusiasm for the programme and the excellent work carried out throughout the school site. In particular they commented on "the pupil ownership of the programme and their knowledge and passion".

The school held a special flagraising ceremony which was attended by a number of guests from the Brecon Beacons National Park, MP Roger Williams, education officers and assessors, and managers from Keep Wales Tidy, which runs the eco schools initiative.

The school will now be invited to a national awards event to receive their platinum trophy at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

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