This is a special school in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal with an enrolment of 27 pupils. The pupils have varying degrees of learning disability - severe and profound learning disability; general moderate learning disability; pupils with autism.
The committee (‘The Green Team’) consists of the principal, 5 teachers, and 5 students. The committee meets every Thursday afternoon and the meetings are chaired by a different student every month. A teacher records the meetings (not in minutes, but…) by rewarding the students ‘Green Stars’ of achievement for work well done. No stars are given if no progress is made. The student chairperson is in charge of the Green Team and he/she decides who is the ‘Green Star’ winner of the week. The Green Team visit each class with the Green-Schools Co-ordinator to keep the whole school informed about the programme.
As part of their Environmental Review, the committee with the help of teachers carried out a litter survey. Their method of simplifying the process was to take photographs of all the areas where litter was a problem in the school, so they knew which areas required the most attention. The results were displayed in pictorial format rather than graphs to keep at an understandable level for the children. For their waste survey, the school looked at what was in their landfill bins and identified that the main items were paper, tetrapak and plastic. They were successful in reducing these materials in the landfill bins by almost 100% by reusing these materials for art projects, and bringing the remainder to the recycling centre.
Some of the activities included in their action plan to reduce the waste going to landfill include:
Setting up a Recycle Diary.
Recycling all paper, plastic and cartons
Composting, have used their compost to help the flowers in their window boxes grow.
The woodwork teacher bringing (every Friday) all the recyclables to Stranorlar Civic Amenity site.
Introducing a time table for the cleaning, washing and squashing of all the cartons and separating all the lunchtime left over foods into different basins.
Recycling all the wood used in woodwork class and turn leftovers into school stools and lamps to great visitors in their reception area; making of a bird table to fed birds with leftover bread; making props for school plays out of recycled wood.
Reusing old curtains and old school uniforms to make costumes for drama presentations.
Little Angels were successful in reducing their waste to landfill by 75%. Their Green-Schools notice board is updated regularly to show their progress on this front.
For their day of action, the Green Team went around to every class to check that everyone was implementing the action plan. All the public services/community groups in their town were invited to a ‘Pancake morning’ and the pupils showed them all the initiatives that were in place to reduce litter and waste. The pupils performed their ‘Recycle Rap’ for all in attendance at the Pancake morning.