Scoil Naomh Fiachra is a two teacher rural primary school located in Co. Kilkenny. The committee comprises students from 3rd to 6th class, two teachers, and three parents. All the students in the school are divided up into working groups, and the chairperson of each group is responsible for organising the students to do what has been discussed by the committee. Each group has different tasks – for example, one group is responsible for checking the playground for litter after every break, another are "sanitary engineers", who empty the compost bins every day and ensure classroom bins are emptied correctly.
As part of their Environmental Review, the students carried out a litter survey of all areas in the school over the course of a week. In each area litter was collected and sorted into categories by students from infants to senior classes. The information was displayed first as a chart and then as a graph. Litter mostly consisted of plastic bottles, crisps bags, sweet papers, cartons and cling-film or tinfoil. Everyone was surprised at the amount of litter around the school and even in the classrooms. Similarly a waste survey was carried out, waste items categorised and results displayed on graphs.
For their Action Plan, Scoil Naomh Fiachra decided to set lots of small aims rather than setting a few big aims, for example, to set up a wormery, to organise reward system for clean classrooms, to start newsletter, to set up paper/battery/ink cartridge/etc. recycling, and so on.
For Monitoring and Evaluation, litter and waste surveys are carried out regularly - contents of lunch boxes are checked, checks are made to ensure pupils are using reusable containers and to see if any reusable paper is being put in the bin. The pupils use the figures from these results to draw up graphs in order to compare with previous graphs.
Some of their results are as follows:
Waste going to the landfill has been reduced by 75%
The amount of unhealthy food in pupils’ lunchboxes has reduced by 80%.
Cartons of juice have been almost completely eliminated from lunchboxes and most children now use reusable bottles.
Everyone is using reusable lunch boxes/bags for their lunch.
A reward system was set up for keeping the playground and classrooms litter-free i.e. if all areas are litter free each classroom gets a ‘star’ when they obtain ten stars they get an extra ten-minute break. The pupils remarked – "At the start we didn’t get many stars but we get a lot of extra breaks now!"
For Informing & Involving, all Green-Schools information is put on their school website. The school contacted the local radio station KCLR and local newspapers about their Day of Action.
The theme for the day picked by Scoil Naomh Fiachra was ‘Recycling at Christmas’. The school organised a varied exhibition of items that are reused and recycled in the school, art from recycled materials, demonstrations of making cards, decorations, and presents and, they also had a sale of work of recycled toys, books, etc. The intention of the action day was to make the local community more aware of reducing their waste through prevention, reuse and recycling.
Their Green-Code is Keep it clean! Keep it Green!"
Scoil Naomh Fiachra’s Green-Schools application was put together by the teachers, a number of parents and all of the children and submitted in CD-ROM format.