Green-fingered school awarded gold for Woodland Trust environmental work
PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 April 2020
An Ipswich primary has been awarded gold for its Green Tree Schools initiative - despite pupils being separated by school closures.
The Woodland Trust awarded the environmental accolade to Cliff Lane Primary School for work which included tree planting, reducing carbon emissions and recycling.
The initiative was launched in 2008 and more than 12,000 schools have since signed up to increase their time spent studying the outdoors, wildlife and green issues.
Rebecca Leeks, interim headteacher, was keen for the project to continue once the school closed and said: “I wanted to make sure the children could have something to celebrate at this difficult time – I am so lucky to live on a farm amongst wildlife.
“I wanted to share this with the children and this seemed the perfect challenge for us.
“The children and parents have been amazing and we have stayed connected through this shared work.”
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The school was due to plant its own orchard but once staff heard the news that schools were all to close, they designed lessons and challenges for the pupils to complete while learning at home.
They renamed their classes after British wildlife, choosing Otters, Hawthorns, Tadpoles and Cormorants. Children of key workers attending school have become The Robins.
Chelsey Holland, leader for The Robins, said: “It has been a great opportunity for us to get outside and look at our beautiful grounds and wildlife.
“It has also given the children something interesting and positive to do together at this strange time when school is so quiet.”
In their time learning at home, pupils have studied trees from different perspectives, learnt about tree planting during the First World War, held their own tree-tea parties and took a remote visit to a woodland.
Karen Letten, Woodland Trust schools and communities engagement manager, said of the awards scheme: “As they reach milestones within the project they will receive bronze and silver certificates and then an attractive wooden plaque which acknowledges they’ve achieved the environmental accolade of a gold award.
“I hope Cliff Lane will now consider going for our next accolade, the prestigious platinum award.”
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