Sir David Attenborough praises Dereham school’s eco achievements

Students from Dereham Sixth Form College and Northgate High School were commended by Sir David Attenborough

Students from Dereham Sixth Form College (top left) and Northgate High School (bottom left) were commended by Sir David Attenborough for their ecological achievements. - Credit: Northgate High School/PA

Staff and students at Dereham’s Northgate High School and Sixth Form College (DSFC) were delighted to receive a handwritten letter from Sir David Attenborough which left them inspired to do even more for the planet. 

In his letter, Mr Attenborough congratulated the school on “all [they] are doing to help deal with the problems that humanity has created on this planet.” 

He added: “I think humanity is at last becoming aware of the damage we have been doing and there is a real chance we can change our ways.” 

The first side of Sir David Attenborough's letter to Northgate High School in Dereham.

The first side of the letter sent to the school's eco co-ordinator, Miss Theobald. - Credit: Northgate High School

The second side of the letter from Sir David Attenborough to Northgate High School and Dereham Sixth Form College

The second side of the letter from Sir David Attenborough - Credit: Northgate High School

Mr Attenborough gives his name to one of the houses Northgate students belong to, and a school spokesperson said it was “a privilege to be recognised by him for all the work the school is doing.”

Already being proud winners of the Norwich and Norfolk Eco Award for secondary schools in 2020 and receiving Eco Champion Status from Street Space UK, Northgate was thrilled to hear last week that the school had been shortlisted again for the Environmental Practice Award at the Education Business Awards 2021. 


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The virtual awards ceremony will be hosted by TV personality Jeff Brazier, and watched by a number of school council members. 

A small group of Northgate and DSFC students will also be heading to Sweden in the autumn to join school students from the UK, Sweden and USA at an Earth summit. 

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Among the summit projects will be a social media campaign to raise awareness and make people think about the small changes they can make to protect the environment. 

Northgate High School students working on their eco projects

Students at Northgate High School have been virtually collaborating with other students in the UK, Sweden and the USA on a project which they will continue working on when they meet in person at a summit in Sweden. - Credit: Northgate High School

Litter picks have already taken place at the school and at Neatherd Moor, as part of Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean campaign.

Other plans the school is considering include making planters for various areas of the school, planting more trees, reducing paper use and continuing the two Terracycle recycling schemes already in place. 

Over 150kg of writing instruments and 190kg of crisp packets have now been recycled into new plastic items over the last two years. 

The crisp packet collection box in Dereham's Morrisons supermarket

The school said it was “really excited” that Dereham residents can now also get involved by taking their crisp packets to Northgate’s collection box in Dereham’s Morrisons supermarket. - Credit: Northgate High School

The school said it was “really excited” that Dereham residents can now also get involved by taking their crisp packets to Northgate’s collection box in Dereham’s Morrisons supermarket. 

Northgate headteachers Zoe Galley and Duncan Hone said: “We are very proud of the work our school community is doing in the fight for a greener future.”

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