St. Brigid’s Special School, Dundalk, Co. Louth was founded in 1969 and has 112 students. The school is divided into three sections:
Primary School - Five Classes
Secondary School - 1st to 3rd Year
Pre Vocational Unit - 2 Classes for 16-18 year olds
The school has an overall staff of 35, 12 of whom are full time teachers, 8 special needs assistants and ancillary staff.
The original committee was formed in October 2004 with students selected from within the various classes according to their particular abilities, talents and interests. It was agreed to change one member from each class at the end of each school year thus giving an opportunity for new students to become involved but also holding on to some of the more experienced members for continuity. Three teaching staff, the caretaker, a parent and a local resident are also present. Initially the committee met once a fortnight when a greater amount of work was required to set up their programme, but now the committee meets monthly.
The review was carried out in an informal way with the students in accordance with their ability and talents, requiring the support of all teachers which was freely given. Three separate surveys were undertaken, one on litter, one on waste and one on community action. The review highlighted litter problems in certain areas, indicated that more could be done to reduce waste going to landfill (in particular blue paper towels), and also showed that the school should liaise more with the local community on events such as National Spring Clean. The Local Authority promised to supply the school with a digester when the extension plans were completed – this would take care of the blue paper towels as well as all organic waste from the school.
From the results of the Environmental Review the Action Plan was agreed with three clear goals:
To reduce litter in the school environment with the ultimate aim of having a litter free school,
To reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by 20-25%,
To involve and inform the local community in/of our work programme.
Monitoring was kept simple and very visual. Weekly litter patrols counted the pieces of litter in the identified blackspots and displayed results in the form of a chart on the noticeboard. This was so successful that litter is now rarely present around the school. For monitoring of waste the number of bins and bags were counted weekly and photographs taken. In the beginning 2 bins and 22 bags were put out weekly – this was eventually reduced to just 2 bins and NO bags!
For the Day of Action the school took part in National Spring Clean, engaging in a litter blitz of the school and its environs. Senior students also took part in the 2005 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dundalk dressed in outfits made from recycled materials as part of the Form & Fusion Competition.