Democracy and Edward the worm have helped a small north Norfolk school to runners-up position in a national contest run by the Houses of Parliament.

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The school council at Stalham Community Infants invited all 75 pupils to vote with their feet as part of a project to compost lunchtime waste.

The six-strong council, known as the Green Team, wanted to do something useful with children’s discarded fruit cores and peelings and decided to invest in a compost bin, using a budget from the school’s friends’ group.

“They chose four different compost bins from the internet and printed out pictures of them. They thought everyone should have a chance to vote for their favourite so we had a special assembly to talk about waste and the children went and stood next to the picture of the bin they wanted,” said teacher Jen Armstrong, who is in charge of the school council.

A year-two pupil suggested that the scheme should have an imaginary worm, called Edward, to help promote it and children are now encouraged to pop their peelings in the chosen bin because “Edward’s feeling hungry,” said Mrs Armstrong.

A spokesman for parliament’s education service said: “The judges loved this project because of the whole school effort; the small but significant environmental difference the composter will make; and for their good use of voting to include the whole school.”

Pupils were due to be presented with their runners-up plaque this afternoon by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb who described it as a “fantastic project”.

“I’m particularly impressed by the way that the team involved the whole school community every step of the way,” he added.

Infants head teacher Joan Edwards said the children had represented their classes “brilliantly” throughout the year and had made sure that every child’s voice had been heard.

The compost produced will be spread on the school’s millennium garden where pupils grow fruit, vegetables and flowers.

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