City school's green accolade

Energy conservation and recycling are just two of the initiatives that yesterday led to a Norwich school being allowed to fly a prestigious green flag.

Energy conservation and recycling are just two of the initiatives that yesterday led to a Norwich school being allowed to fly a prestigious green flag.

Tuckswood First School's environmental work has been recognised with the coveted international award for eco-schools - only presented to those with a proven track record in green issues.

A celebration was held at the school to mark the occasion and to raise the flag for all to see.

Headteacher Sue Eagle explained that work towards the green flag began five years ago.

“We are doing many things in school. At lunchtimes, students go to each classroom and look for lights or computers left on. Each day they are given a red card if they haven't done very well or a green card if they have. The students monitor this and at the end of each half-term, a polar- bear award is presented to the best,” she said.

The children, aged between four and eight, also had to be assessed to show awareness of the issues before the award was presented.

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“We had a huge folder of evidence but also outside evaluators came into school and talked to children to make sure they really understood the issues and it wasn't just all on the surface,” added Mrs Eagle.

“We received the bronze award for the first part of the project and then the silver and now, after five years, we have got the green flag.”

But that is not the end of the work. To keep the flag for a second year, the children have to continue with projects - including strengthening links with Kapamalula School in Dedza, Malawi, by working with them on energy and water conservation and growing food.

Carol Champion, reception teacher, who used to work for the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, praised the children who, she said, often put adults to shame.

“The children are highly motivated and they care very deeply. One of the amazing things now is they automatically go to put fruit in the compost bin - even when we are out on trips.”

The Eco-Schools programme was developed in 1994 on the basis of the need for involving young people in finding solutions to environmental and sustainable- development challenges.