"St John's Church of England Primary School has fully embraced Eco-Schools. Every area is imaginatively and thoroughly explored. The children are passionate about looking after our world; they are very knowledgeable and they influence the adults in their lives, encouraging them to further care for our planet."
ECO-SCHOOLS GREEN FLAG ASSESSMENT 2019
At St John's CEP, we are working hard to become a more sustainable school and take great pride helping to protect and preserve every aspect of God's beautiful creation.
We are active members of the Eco-Schools programme and are proud to currently hold their internationally recognised 'Green Flag' award as of June 2019.
The Eco-Schools programme was developed in 1994 by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and introduced into the UK in 1995. The programme is a learning resource and topic areas include: Energy, Litter, Waste, Transport, Healthy Living, Water, Biodiversity, Marine, School Grounds and Global Citizenship. Eco-Schools develops pupils’ skills, raises environmental awareness, and improves the school environment.
Mr Smith, Mrs Arter, Mrs Downey, Mr Kane and Mrs Kane are all members of the Eco-Council.
Isla - 3NW, Riley - 3NW, Oliver - 4PL, Aimee - 4PL, Jemima J - 4PL, Joe C - 4AD, Rebecca - 5RB, Emilia - 5RB, Samuel F - 6HG, Elena - 6HG, William O - 6HG and Bethany F - 6LG.
Our efforts have been recognised by the Downs Mail!
Read the article here.
Our Eco-Council meet with Mrs Arter once or twice a term. In our meetings we discuss what we can do at school to become more sustainable and how we plan to do this.
Clean Air for Schools Campaign
We are very excited to have been selected to take part in a local experiment to try to reduce air pollution around our school. The Clean Air for Schools initiative team came to our school on Monday 4th June 2018, along with the KM, to fit two air monitoring tubes. One tube has been fitted down on the school field and another outside the school gates, where we expect air quality to be significantly poorer. The diffusion tubes are used to measure the levels of harmful Nitrogen Dioxide in the air. The main sources of Nitrogen Dioxide, are burning of fossil fuels (such as coal, oil, gas, petrol and diesel) for domestic heating, power generation and road transport. Mrs Arter and our Eco-Councillors will collect samples each month to be sent off for analysis. The information gathered will be used to map out nitrogen dioxide levels around our school. We are keen to try to reduce air pollution and improve air quality around our school. We will continue to promote our Walk on Wednesday scheme and hope that taking part in this project will continue to promote green travel to St John's everyday.
You can read about the scheme and our involvement on the KM online:
We are pleased to continue working with the Clean Air for Schools Team at Maidstone Borough Council and will continue to measure the quality of air around our school. This year we will be using a plume tube to collect our results. Members of the Eco-Council will be testing this out around Grove Green and trying to find out whether certain routes to school are worse than others! We look forward to sharing some of our findings with you soon.
The team from Maidstone Borough Council recently came into our school to speak to our pupils about air pollution. You can find some useful information and interactive games to play on their new website:
War on Plastics by Hugh and Anita
We would like to draw your attention to a series featured on BBC1 called War on Plastics.
It highlights the overuse of plastics in our everyday lives. One area that was visited in episode 2 was our use of Wet Wipes in the household and their effects on the environment. Not all people know that wet wipes contain plastic.
To view the series so far, follow the links:-
We want to boost biodiversity in our school grounds. Our Eco-Councillors decided that it would be a good idea to decorate bird boxes and put them up around our school grounds. We asked each KS2 class to decorate a box and are very happy with the results! Please keep a look out for our colourful bird boxes around the school grounds. We were really pleased that our MP, Mrs Helen Whately, was able to put the first box up with our Eco-Councillors.
For the second year running we have taken part in switch-off fornight!
This year our eco-councillors became 'Energy Enforcers'. Our enforcers visited each classroom at lunchtime to ensure that anything not in use was switched OFF. If a class did a good job at saving energy, they were awarded a green rosette for their efforts! If a class had left something on they were given a light bulb to make them think a little bit harder about being green!
Gardening with the Maidstone Rotarians
Our Year Twos planted crocuses with the Rotary club. You may have seen some our Year 2s in the KM recently!
For the last 30 years, Rotary International has been endeavouring to eradicate polio across the world. When the vaccine is given to children, their little finger is painted purple to ensure that all children needing the vaccine are included. The purchase of purple crocus corms helps to purchase the vaccine needed to the campaign to continue. The Rotary clubs in Maidstone have purchased these corms and have planted them around the area. They were also kind enough to donate some to our school. We are thrilled to have been a part of their project.
WOW! - Walk on Wednesday
We take part in the KM's Walk On Wednesday initiate, encouraging our pupils to walk, cycle or scoot to school as often as possible. Each child has been issued with a WOW passport, where they can fix special stickers they are given every time they walk to school on a Wednesday.
Year 2 Eco-Afternoon 2017/18
As part of their Eco-Afternoon, our Year 2s were visited by Mr Ridgeway. Mr Ridgeway has recently been helping to rebuild some of the coral reef in Madagascar as part of a conservation and social development programme organised by ‘The Reef Doctor’. The children were interested to learn about the coral reef and how, in Madagascar, some parts have been badly damaged by pollution and overfishing. The children got to see amazing photographs of the coral reef and the underwater animals that Mr Ridgeway saw during his trip. As a school, we are working hard to teach our children how important it is to take care of the beautiful planet God have us. Inspired by what they learned, our Year 2s made a ‘Planet Promise’ - something they promise to do in order to help protect our precious world (like recycling used paper and never dropping litter!)
Green Tree Schools Award
We are very pleased to announce that at St John's we have now been awarded the Gold Green Tree Award from the Woodland Trust. This is for our efforts to become more environmentally friendly, saving energy and taking children to visit our local woodland areas, including Vinters Valley. A representative from the Woodland Trust was particularly impressed with the pictures of animals children in Year R have created using leaves!
Waste Week 2018
We took part in Waste Week. At the beginning of the week each class wrote pledges and have been actively reducing waste across the school. This week we have noticed our rubbish bins being a lot less full than normal which is fantastic! Our Eco-Councillors met with Nicola from Maidstone Borough Council to learn more about waste and recycling in Maidstone. We learned a lot about what things can be recycled and the process things go through. Our Eco-Councillors will feedback to their classes later on this term. Next week our councillors will be litter picking in our school grounds and in the local community as part of the Great Big School Clean.
Information from Mrs Arter’s assembly to the whole school can be downloaded here:
Composting Food Waste
At St John's we compost some of our food waste. To remind children to put their apple cores and orange peels in the compost Ameila and James from 4R designed posters for our rubbish bins.
Recycle with Michael!
Thank you for helping to make this initiative a huge success! Over 50 bags of your old clothes and shoes were collected on Friday 22nd March. We recycled 370kg of clothes and shoes raising £73 for the Salvation Army and £43 for our school. Our Eco-Councillors decided to spend this money on a lovely new sign for our school playground, encouraging our pupils to look out for insects in our school grounds.
Southern Water 'Waterwise' KS2 Talk
On 11th January 2017, Fergus from Southern Water came to talk to Year 3, 4 and 5. We learned that on average each person uses 150 litres of water a day! Fergus taught us ways to save water at home and at school. He explained how saving water also saves energy and how important it is to be 'Waterwise'.
AFTERNOON SWITCH-OFF 2017
Are you walking/cycling or scooting to school as often as you could be?
Listen to our St John's CEP Walk to School song here:
If you want to be a green traveller you can download our lyrics here.
Achieving the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award - June 2019
Eco-School National Award Ceremony 2019
The Eco-Schools team were amazed with our efforts and named us their ‘Global Citizenship Topic Winners’ at their very first Eco-Schools National Award Ceremony. As the Eco-Schools programme continues to grow, they wanted the opportunity to reward and showcase some of the amazing things that they have seen in schools across England over the past 25 years. We feel very fortunate to have been invited to be a part of such a fantastic celebration.
On Thursday 12th December 2019 we were invited to the world famous Etihad Stadium in Manchester to accept our award from one of TV’s best-known wildlife presenters, and inspirational naturalist, Steve Backshall. On behalf of our school, Mr Smith, Mrs Arter and members of last year’s Eco-Council Seb, Jo, Harry N and Darcy proudly attended the special ceremony in celebration of our school’s recent achievements.
In addition to collecting our award, Steve gave an inspiring talk about his recent adventures, let us ask him questions and gave us a signed copy of his newest book. We also enjoyed hearing all about the inspirational projects going on in the other 15 award winning Eco-Schools. During the day, we also won an award for participating in a quiz all about the environment. We worked as a team and won £200 to spend on litter picking equipment! We are already thinking about purchasing some kind of trolley to help us to divide the rubbish we collect into recyclable and non-recyclable items.
It was a really fantastic day for everyone and the entire school community should feel proud of their involvement in the Run for the Rainforest project. Our pupils have become increasingly passionate about protecting our natural world and we have no doubt that there are future environmental leaders amongst them!
I got to meet my hero Steve Backshall! He was really nice and he even signed my Deadly 60 fact book! Harry 6LG
It felt really good to get the award because we have been trying really hard to be a greener school and make the world a better place. My highlight of the day was shaking Steve’s hand. Seb 6HG
I really enjoyed going to the ceremony because our school finally got the recognition that we deserve. We have worked really hard to be a great eco-school. It was nice to see all the other schools working as hard as us and get ideas from them too. Jo 6HG
The day was really fun and I really enjoyed collecting the award for the school. Steve waved to us and let us take selfies with him later! My highlight was when Steve took a selfie using my Mum’s phone! Darcy 6LG
Green School Awards - Overall Recycling Champion 2018
For the second year running we were invited to attend The Green Schools award ceremony at the Kent County Cricket Ground in Canterbury. We were awarded the 'Best Recycling School award' in Maidstone for our Bike Recycle event. We were named the 'Overall Recycling Champion' in Kent. Mr Smith, Mrs Arter, Lewis and Sienna were delighted to attend the ceremony on behalf of St John's CEP and the Maidstone Cycle Circle team. We hope to run the ReCycle Bike Event again next year so watch this space!
You can read all about our success on the KM Online here.
St John's on the Sunday Politics Show - 17/03/2019
Grovewood Drive North Wildflower Meadow
We were kindly invited to sow the seeds for a wildflower meadow along Grovewood Drive North. As stewards of God’s creation, our Eco-Councillors were delighted to accept and met with representatives from Maidstone Borough Council on Friday 26th April. The children helped to sow a variety of seeds and thoroughly enjoyed trampling on the ground too - as you can see from the photos and videos!
We are really pleased to have taken part in something that will enhance our local environment. We hope that the wildflower meadow will make an attractive addition to the area and become the perfect habitat for wildlife.
ReCycle Bike Event and Sale 2017-2018
The bike recycling and sale event was a great success. Thank you for your donations and any purchases that you made. Altogether, 26 bikes were donated and 12 were sold on site. The money from the sale will be used to help continue to run this project in the community, in addition to providing extra services in school from the Cycle Circle team – so watch this space! We hope that the bikes sold will be used to cycle to school and that more of our students have been enthused by this event!
ReCycle Bike Event and Sale 2018-2019
23 BIKES DONATED AND RECYCLED.
16 BIKES SOLD ON SITE.
KEEP ON CYCLING ST JOHN'S!
Green School Awards 2017:
We are extremely honoured to announce that we were awarded the 'Best Environmental School Award' for Maidstone. We were invited to a special awards ceremony held by the KM Charity Team at the Kent County Cricket ground in Canterbury. Mrs Arter and Mrs Penfold attended the ceremony with Jude (6G) and Jayden (3DG).
Litter Picking in the Local Community:
Our Eco-Councillors have been litter picking in our local community. As a school, it came to our attention that increasing amounts of litter can be found in the small woodland area behind the Grove Green Tesco car park. We want to make a difference in our local community and be proactive in protecting our precious environment.
Dropping litter damages our environment, the appearance of it and most importantly harms habitats. We hope that by cleaning up we will discourage people from dropping litter and in the process educate and deter future generations as a school.
LEFT TO RIGHT: Miss A Reed (Student Teacher), Mrs M Arter, Mrs E O'Keefe (parent govenor), Mr A Parker-Bruce (Chair of Govenors), Mr D Smith (Headteacher).
2018-2019 Academic Year Total: 26kg
2017-2018 Academic Year Total: 46kg
2016-2017 Academic Year Total: 48kg
Please send in any used batteries and ink cartridges so that we can recycle them for you. For every recyclable ink cartridge we can raise money for the school and help save the environment! In the New Year we plan to support the Woodland Trust by recycling Christmas cards - more information to follow!
A visit from Maidstone Recycling Centre
Our Eco-Council met with a member of the Environmental Team at Maidstone Borough Council. We learnt all about recycling in our borough and got to ask lots of questions. Following this, we aim to recycle as much as possible on our next litter pick around Grove Green.
At St John's we want to revamp the way we recycle. It came to our attention that we are not all sure what should go in our green recycling bins. Our Eco-Councillors decided to hold a competition across KS2. Children were asked to design a poster detailing what we can recycle. Well done to Benji from 5B for creating the winning poster! His poster is now displayed on all recycling bins across the school.
Recycle your old Christmas cards!
As part of our efforts to be a sustainable school, we are supporting the Woodland Trust by taking part in Marks and Spencer's Christmas Card Recycling Scheme. Throughout January the children will be able to recycle their Christmas cards at school by posting them in our designated Christmas Card Bin that will be kept in the school foyer. For every 1000 cards we recycle a new tree will be planted by the Woodland Trust!
Thank you to everyone who recycled their Christmas cards at school, 2.5 large bin sacks were collected.
Composting Food Waste Advert Competition
Thank you to all of the children who created an advert for Maidstone Borough Council, we had 41 entries! Congratulations to Rebecca Judd from 4R who has been announced as the runner up!
"Rebecca’s design concept really stood out and we felt she deserved recognition for her work" Nicola Toulson, Education Officer.
You can read more about the competition and our runner up here:
Meeting our Local MP, Helen Whately
Today our Eco-Councillors got to meet with our local MP, Helen Whately. The councillors spoke about all about our eco-initiatives. Helen kindly got involved by helping us to change this month’s air monitoring tube, to measure the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide at the front of the school. We also put up our first bird box, decorated by 5AD! The children confidently spoke about their views for the proposed building of new schools in Pope’s Field.
Year Two Energy Experts!
We invited Mr Reumel into school to deliver an interactive workshop, all about energy, to our Year Twos. We learnt where electricity comes from and how it reaches our homes. We pretended to be dinosaurs stamping down the earth thousands of years ago, miners mining for coal, trucks delivering the coal to power stations, turbines working inside power stations and the electricity running from pylon to pylon before it reaches our homes. We used a LOT of our own energy and now recognise how important it is to SWITCH IT OFF!
Mr Reumel works for a company called Interface. Interface are committed to sustainability and care deeply about our environment, just like we do at St John's.