St Martin’s School in Caerphilly town celebrates top eco award after 12-year environmental drive
A Caerphilly town school has been given a top award for their environmental work that has created green spaces for pupils and aided their learning.
St Martin’s School was awarded the Platinum Award by Eco-Schools – the highest honour given by the organisation.
The school has also become an ambassador for the project, welcoming visiting pupils to show off their success and encourage other children to get involved.
Geology and Geography teacher Tim Lyons launched an eco-club more than 12 years ago and in that time, along with staff and students, has developed two gardens using recycled materials.
The plants in the gardens are all wild and materials such as stone, tyres, used as plant pots, and railway sleepers, used to construct a to-scale model of Stonehenge, are salvaged.
The school features an eco-garden and eco-art-garden, with plans for a third garden underway.
The eco-art-garden is an open space for students to use during breaks, with art and music classes also taught there in summer months.
The eco-garden is a working garden, with a pond, pre-jurrassic area, insect hotels and much more – all created by staff and students.
Acting headteacher Marc Yeoman said the school was praised for ensuring ecology and the environment are part of the curriculum as well as extracurricular activities.
Mr Yeoman said: “The gardens have definitely had an affect on their behaviour. They respect it, especially when they’ve been a part of creating it.
“We have to ensure we have eco-activities throughout our curriculum, it’s not just box ticking.
“For example, technology pupils learn about sustainable design and using green energy.
“We’re going to start running a BTEC in Horticulture using the gardens instead of shipping everyone out to other colleges, because the local authority are keen on keeping kids on site.”
Mr Lyons, who is also the Eco-Schools co-ordinator, said: “It’s fantastic, we find every single type of child wants to be involved and lots of the difficult ones want to be involved.
“It’s all about the pupils and in eco-week the kids are out in the gardens, but in their lessons they’re doing environmental based lessons as well.
“The gardens’ full of wildlife. We don’t want manicured gardens, we want biodiversity.”
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